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The adrenal glands or suprarenal glands are part of the endocrine system, producing important hormones, primarily steroids, necessary for the body to chemically regulate itself and respond to stressors. Adrenal glands are composed of an outer cortex and inner medulla, each responsible for producing different hormones. The cortex produces hormones essential for life, while those from the medulla are nonessential. Each hormone has a separate function, working both alone and in conjunction with the others.

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1. Adrenal Glands and the Endocrine System

The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system, the body's "chemical messenger" that produces hormones which regulate everything from hair growth to the reproductive system. The adrenal glands -- specifically the medulla -- primarily produce adrenaline, a hormone secreted in response to stress or "flight or fight" situations. The expression of adrenaline into the bloodstream signals other parts of the body to minimize functioning or prepare for physical exertion by increasing blood flow to the muscles and lungs.

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