Endocrine System

According to the modern medical conception, all glands of internal secretion form one system, known as the human endocrine system. Its main duty is to control all basic functions of the body. For this reason, it is extremely important to maintain good health of the endocrine system.

Endocrine System.jpgThe work of the system regulates the following processes in the body:

  • growth and general development:
  • metabolism;
  • energy production;
  • cooperation of all internal organs and systems;
  • correction of disorders;
  • emotional state;
  • behavior management.

The endocrine system plays the main role in the discharge of physiologically active substances, or hormones. They are released into the intercellular space, blood and lymph. The substances that form hormones include:

  • steroids;
  • amino acid compounds;
  • peptides;
  • proteins.

Those glands that produce hormones are called endocrine glands. Another type is called glands of external secretion (exocrine). Their secrets do not get into the bloodstream, but appear on the body surface, mucous membranes, or they are released into the external environment. Some examples are sweat, salivary, tears and others.

The biological activity of the endocrine system is closely related to the nervous system. They coordinate the function of each other, although some of their organs are located in different body parts.

Let’s consider the main glands of the endocrine system, and figure out what they do in the body.

The most significant ones are the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is a department in the brain, that gives orders to produce and distribute hormones when they are needed. The pituitary gland is located in the base of the skull. This one releases a large number of trophic hormones. They stimulate the work of other endocrine glands.

The thyroid gland secrets hormones, that are responsible for the body growth, its general development, and proper function of the immune system. The parathyroid glands that are located next to it are participating in the exchange of calcium.

The pancreas is considered to be an exocrine and endocrine organ at the same time. It produces two hormones — insulin and glucagon. They affect the metabolism of carbohydrates. The pancreas also supplies the digestive tract with enzymes needed for the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

The adrenal glands are two small glands located over kidneys. They control the work of the heart and blood vessels.

Sex glands (ovaries in women and testes in men) produce sex cells and other major hormones involved in the reproductive function of the body.