The life of a human is brought about by the accumulation of different processes taking place in his body. These processes involve various organs, tissues, and cells of the body. In addition, there is also a network of chemicals that are used to communicate with different cells. The network is ductless and is called the endocrine system. This system is responsible for the production of chemical products known as hormones.
There are different endocrine glands in the body, producing hormones that vary in their chemical nature. Let us briefly discuss some of these.
What is an Endocrine System?
The endocrine system is a network of several glands and organs found exclusively in the body. It is similar to the nervous system since it performs crucial functions of regulating and controlling many bodily processes.
The hormones secreted by endocrine glands are directly poured into the bloodstream and reach the target organ, skin, or tissues, commanding what to do and how to function. The primary functions performed by these hormones areas:
- Regulation of metabolism.
- Controlling the growth and development of a man.
- Heart rate.
- Blood pressure regulation.
- Managing stress conditions.
- Preventing sexual function and reproduction.
- Sleep and wake cycle regulations.
- Emotions and mood swings.
This is the regular physiological activity of the endocrine system. However, suppose there is more or less production of the hormone due to defects or other reasons to endocrine glands. In that case, it may cause several medical conditions such as illness, high blood pressure, energy imbalance, changes in sleep and mood, etc.
Different Parts of Endocrine System:
The functional unit of the endocrine system is the endocrine glands. These are instrumental in the production, storage, and release of different hormones. Different glands are present in other body parts, i.e., brain, neck, or near the reproductive organs. They vary in sizes and shapes, such as small pea-sized pituitary glands to as large as 6 inches long pancreas.
The primary glands, together with their hormone, are listed below:
This gland is roughly the size of a pea, but it has a lot of functions to perform; therefore, it is also known as the master gland. The hormones produced by this gland are also tropic, i.e., control other glands such as the thyroid gland, ovaries, and testes, adrenal glands, etc. How the body grows and when the hormones should be secreted are under the charge of the pituitary gland. This is located below the part of your brain, i.e., the hypothalamus. Its hormones can also control growth and reproduction processes.
Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands:
Thyroid Glands are butterfly Shaped glands located in front of your neck. Its hormones are responsible for your body’s metabolism and how the energy is extracted and used from the food. Their secretion is controlled by the action of tropic hormones of pituitary glands.
Parathyroid Glands are located near thyroid glands and are responsible for maintaining calcium levels in your blood and bones, which is necessary for the optimum working of your muscles, heart, and other bodily systems. These are four tiny glands and are not longer than a grain of rice.
It is the largest endocrine gland of your body. It is located in the abdomen, near your stomach. A part of this gland also uses a duct, i.e., it is an exocrine gland and communicates through the digestive system. Major hormones produced by this endocrine gland are insulin and glucagon, both regulating the level of glucose in your blood.
These are sex glands. Male gonads are testes and female gonads are ovaries. They produce a variety of hormones and sex cells which are fundamental for the reproduction process. Their hormones also control sex drive.
Some Disorders of Endocrine Glands:
The functioning of endocrine glands is crucial for living a healthy life. Sometimes, the hormones are imbalanced and produce several disorders such as:
- Diabetes: When your pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin, a person faces diabetes conditions with elevated blood sugar levels, causing complications.
- Hypogonadism: When there is low production of testosterone, leading to erectile dysfunction. Changes in muscle strength, memory and contraction problems, and low sex drive are also observed.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: The female sex hormone imbalance causes women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) to experience excess acne, irregular periods, and weight gain.
- Thyroid diseases: These may include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, in which there is an irregularity in body energy levels.
The Bottom Line:
Normal functioning of Endocrine Glands, producing hormones are necessary to keep up the quality lifestyle. This could only be possible if we take the required precautions, as suggested by an expert, i.e., an Endocrinologist.
Additional Frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to Endocrine System:
Some of the questions which could arise in one’s mind are well answered below:
What are the common factors affecting the endocrine system?
Several factors such as age, pregnancy, genetics, medical conditions, etc., could affect your endocrine system functioning.
Can stress affect my endocrine system?
Stress can affect the endocrine system. There is a hormone called cortisol produced by adrenal glands, which can respond to stress conditions.
Is there any hormone that is responsible for happiness?
Dopamine is regarded as a “happiness hormone” and results in a feeling of well-being.
Is exercise good for the endocrine system?
Exercise is excellent to boost the health of the endocrine system by keeping the hormones in balance.