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Catecholamine Facts Are Hormones Released During Stress

Catecholamine Facts Are Hormones Released During Stress – Catecholamine Facts Are Hormones Released During Stress. Catecholamines are hormones produced by the adrenal glands, which are on top of the kidneys. Dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine are the main catecholamines. Each of these hormones is broken down into other substances that are eliminated in the urine.

Catecholamines are released into the bloodstream when you are physically or emotionally stressed. This hormone is responsible for the body’s “fight-or-flight” response.

Very high or low levels of catecholamine can cause medical problems. High or low levels of multiple catecholamine levels may indicate a serious underlying medical problem.

1. Function

Catecholamines are hormones that also function as neurotransmitters. The body produces it in the brain, nervous tissue, and adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys.

The main types of catecholamines are dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones function in the following ways:

1. Dopamine

This neurotransmitter sends signals throughout the nervous system, helping to regulate the following:

  • Movement.
  • Emotion.
  • Storage
  • Brain reward mechanism.

2. Adrenaline or epinephrine

This neurotransmitter is responsible for the fight-or-flight response. When you are stressed, the body releases adrenaline to allow increased blood flow to your muscles, heart and lungs.

3. Noradrenaline or norepinephrine

This neurotransmitter helps the body respond to stress. The release of noradrenaline increases heart rate and blood pressure. It is also involved in mood regulation and the ability to concentrate.

2. Causes of high catecholamine levels

Reported by Everyday Health, high levels of catecholamines can indicate various medical conditions, such as:

  • Acute anxiety.
  • Heavy stress.
  • Some tumors are both cancerous and noncancerous.
  • Baroreflex failure, which is a rare disorder involving changes in blood pressure.
  • Deficiency of some enzymes.
  • Menkes syndrome, a disorder that affects copper levels in the body.
  • Disorders of dopamine metabolism.

3. Normal catecholamine levels

The main catecholamines are broken down in the following ways before being eliminated in the urine:

  • Dopamine becomes homovanillic acid.
  • Epinephrine is converted to metanephrine and vanillylmandelic acid (VMA).
  • Norepinephrine becomes normetanephrine and VMA.
  • Urine tests are often given to measure the amount of the above substances excreted from the body over 24 hours.

The following are ranges that are usually considered normal over a 24 hour period. This range may vary slightly depending on the laboratory performing the test:

  • Dopamine: 65 to 400 micrograms (mcg).
  • Epinephrine: 0.5 to 20 mcg.
  • Metanephrine: 24 to 96 mcg (but some labs give a range of 140 to 785 mcg).
  • Norepinephrine: 15 to 80 mcg.
  • Normetanefrine: 75 to 375 mcg.
  • Total urinary catecholamine: 14 to 110 mcg.
  • VMA: 2 to 7 milligrams (mg).

The doctor will explain what your test results mean.

4. Symptoms of abnormal catecholamine levels

Reported by Medical News Today, high or low levels of catecholamines can cause a variety of symptoms.

Abnormal dopamine levels

High dopamine levels can cause the following symptoms:

  • Excess saliva.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Nauseous.
  • Hyperactive.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Anxiety and agitation.
  • Insomnia.
  • delusional
  • Depression.
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Psychosis.

Abnormal adrenaline levels

If your adrenaline level is high, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Worry.
  • rapid heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Shaky.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Sweating.
  • Pale face.
  • Weight loss.
  • Extreme headaches.

Having low adrenaline levels can hinder a person’s ability to respond appropriately to stressful situations.

Abnormal noradrenaline levels

High noradrenaline levels can cause the following symptoms:

  • Panic attacks.
  • Hyperactive.
  • Shaky.
  • Sweating.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Pale face.
  • Severe headache.
  • Heart or kidney damage.

Low noradrenaline levels can cause these symptoms or conditions:

  • Lethargy or lack of energy.
  • Low blood pressure when standing.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • ADHD.
  • Depression.

5. Test catecholamine levels

If your catecholamine levels need to be tested, your doctor will likely recommend a urine test. Blood tests can also be done.

Certain foods or drinks can increase catecholamine levels. These can include:

  • Tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Banana.
  • Citrus fruit.
  • Chocolate or cocoa.
  • Vanilla.

Certain medications can also affect catecholamine levels. So, if you are going to have your catecholamine levels tested, tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking. Medications that can affect catecholamine levels include:

  • Acetaminophen.
  • Albuterol.
  • Amphetamines.
  • Buspiron.
  • Calcium channel blockers.
  • Clonidine.
  • Cocaine.
  • Cyclobenzaprine.
  • Guanethidine.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
  • Phenoxybenzamine.
  • Phenothiazine.
  • Pseudoephedrine.
  • Reserpine.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants.

See a doctor if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Persistent high blood pressure.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat.
  • Tremors.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Severe headache.

Although rare, catecholamine levels may indicate a tumor, such as a neuroendocrine tumor or neuroblastoma.

Extreme levels of catecholamines have also been linked to certain conditions, such as schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. See a doctor if you experience abnormal catecholamine levels.

The doctor may order blood or urine tests to determine whether catecholamine levels are normal or abnormal. The test results will help the doctor determine whether further tests and treatment are needed or not.

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