The Endocrine System and Glands of The Human Body

The endocrine system is a network of glands in your body that make the hormones that help cells talk to each other. These glands are responsible for nearly every function, cell, or organ in your body.

You might experience problems with puberty, pregnancy, and managing stress if your endocrine systems isn't in good health. It's possible to gain weight quickly, develop weak bones or lose energy. This is because sugar in excess stays in the blood, rather than moving into your cells.

What Is a Gland and How Does It Work?

One gland can be described as an organ which makes or releases hormones to perform a particular job within your body. The substances made by the glands in your bloodstream are called exocrine or endocrine.

Endocrine system

Functionalities Your endocrinology system

The Endocrine System: Parts

The endocrine systems is made up of many glands. You have the pituitary and hypothalamus glands, along with the pineal gland. You can find the parathyroid and thyroid glands in your neck. The thymus, adrenals, and pancreas are located between your lungs. If you are a woman, your ovaries or testes will be in the pelvic area.

Hypothalamus. This organ is the link between your nervous system and your endocrine systems. This organ tells your pituitary gland when to make hormones.

Pituitary. This gland is the head of your endocrine system. The information it receives from the brain tells your other glands what to do. You can make many hormones from it, such as growth hormone, prolactin which is used to breastfeed moms and antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin), that controls blood pressure, regulates body water balance, and corticotropin/ACTH, an adrenocorticotrophic hormonal hormone. It stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete certain hormones. This includes thyroid-stimulatinghormone (TSH), which stimulates production and secretion thyroid hormones. Also, it helps with breast milk éjection.

Pineal gland. This gland makes a chemical known as melatonin which aids your body to get to sleep. Thyroid gland. Thyroid hormone is produced by this gland. It controls metabolism and growth. Everything will take longer if this gland isn't producing enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). You might notice a slowing in your heartbeat. There is a possibility that you could become constipated. And you might gain weight. It can make everything faster if it is too high (hyperthyroidism). Your heart might race. It is possible to have diarrhea. You might also lose weight by not trying. Calcitonin is also made by your thyroid. It may be helpful in enhancing bone strength and calcium incorporation.

Parathyroid. These are four tiny glands that sit behind the thyroid. They are important for bone health. Your levels of calcium, phosphorous and other minerals are controlled by the glands.

Thymus. Thymus. This gland produces white blood cells, called T-lymphocytes. These T-lymphocytes fight infections and play a crucial role in the development of a child's immune systems. Puberty causes the thymus to begin shrinking.

Adrenals. These glands are best known for producing the hormone "fight or flight", also called epinephrine. They also produce hormones called corticosteroids. These hormones affect metabolism, heart rate, oxygen intake and blood flow as well as sexual function.

Pancreas. This organ forms part of your digestive as well as endocrine systems. This organ makes enzymes to digest food. You also make the hormones insulin, glucagon. This ensures that your body has the correct amount of sugar and cells. Type 1 diabetics are unable to make insulin so blood sugar levels could rise. The pancreas makes more insulin in type 2 diabetes than it does in type 1.

Ovaries. These organs produce estrogen and progesterone in women. These hormones regulate your menstrual cycle and help you have a healthy pregnancy.

Testes. Testes are responsible for testosterone production in men. This hormone helps men grow body and facial hairs at puberty. It tells their penis to get larger and helps in making sperm.

The Health Problems

You will notice changes as you age, including those related to your reproductive system. You may notice a slowing in your metabolism. You might lose weight even if your exercise or diet has not changed. As you get older, hormonal changes may also play a part in your increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Stress, infection, or being exposed to certain chemicals, no matter your age, can cause problems with the endocrine system. Lifestyle and genetic factors can also increase the likelihood of developing an endocrine disease like diabetes or hypothyroidism.

Endocrine system disorders

Acromegaly. The pituitary hormone can cause your bones to grow too fast. This usually effects your face, hands and feet. It typically starts around middle age.

A condition called adrenal insufficiency. If you suffer from this condition, your adrenal glands won't produce enough certain hormones such as cortisol that control stress.

Cushing's disease. This is when your body produces excessive cortisol. This could lead to weight gain, stretch marks and bruises, as well as weakening your muscles and bones.

Hyperthyroidism. It is when your thyroid gland creates more hormones than you need. This is often called an overactive thyroid. This can cause your body to run faster, making you feel anxious, losing weight and having trouble sleeping.

Hypothyroidism. Your body stops making enough thyroid hormone. Your body may feel fatigued, increase weight, slow heart beat, or have joint and muscular pains.

Hypopituitarism. Sometimes, your pituitary gland isn't producing enough hormones. This can cause problems with your adrenal glands and thyroid glands. Multiple endocrine neoplasia. It is a collection of conditions that can affect the endocrine system. This causes tumors in at least 2 endocrine cells or other tissues.

The polycystic-ovary syndrome. A lack of hormones in your body can lead to your ovaries not making eggs or not releasing them during ovulation. You may experience irregular periods or acne. This could also cause hair growth on your face and chin.

Precocious puberty. Sometimes, the glands responsible for reproduction fail to function correctly and some children begin puberty very early in life -- about 8 years old in girls and around 9 years in boys.