About the Endocrine System

Endocrine Disruption

Hormones and the Endocrine System
Thyroid hormone deficiency slows body processes and may lead to fatigue, a slow heart rate, dry skin, weight gain, and constipation. The endocrine system plays an important role in helping your body maintain homeostasis. How can chemicals affect endocrine systems? Sign up to receive treatment and research updates, news, and helpful tips on managing your condition. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. Jump to main content. For instance, exocrine pronounced:

The Endocrine System’s Link to the Nervous System

Anatomy of the Endocrine System

See related health topics and resources. Experience Our Care Find a Doctor for: Find a physician at another Johns Hopkins Member Hospital: Connect with a Treatment Center: Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Find Additional Treatment Centers at: Maryland Patients Find a location near you. Contact Information View our phone directory or find a patient care location. Affects water retention in kidneys; controls blood pressure.

Controls production of cortisol and other steroids made by the adrenal glands. Affects growth and development; stimulates protein production; affects fat distribution. Stimulates contraction of uterus and milk release in the female breast during breastfeeding. Initiates and maintains milk production in breasts; impacts sex hormone levels.

Stimulates the production and secretion of thyroid hormones. Affects red blood cell RBC production. Lowers blood sugar levels; stimulates metabolism of glucose, protein, and fat.

Stimulates the lining of the uterus for fertilization; prepares the breasts for milk production. Most important regulator of blood calcium levels. Controls metabolism; also affects growth, maturation, nervous system activity, and metabolism. Increases heart rate, oxygen intake, and blood flow. Develop and maintain male sexual characteristics and maturation; also helps protect bone health.

Growth hormone releasing hormone GHRH. This tiny gland plays a major role in many of the functions of the human body. Hormones and neural impulses from the hypothalamus directly influence the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. Thyroid The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found in front of the trachea on the front of the neck. It has a right and left lobe. When stimulated with the thyroid stimulating hormone TSH from the anterior pituitary gland it releases T3 and T4.

In order to operate well the thyroid gland needs to have an adequate supply of iodine and tyrosine as well as other important minerals such as selenium, manganese, magnesium and zinc to name a few. Parathyroids There are usually four parathyroid glands located on the posterior side of the thyroid gland. These small glands secrete the parathyroid hormone.

Thymus The thymus gland is a soft structure located in the mediastinum, just above the heart. This gland plays a big role in the immune system development of infants and children. As we age, the gland begins to shrink and is actually quite small in adults.

The major role of this gland is the production of a particular type of lymphocyte called T-cells. These important immune system cells can attack and destroy foreign antigens.

One way to stimulate or boost thymus function is to bang on your chest, Tarzan style. Adrenals There are two adrenal glands in the body.

They are located on top of each of the kidneys. Each gland contains two parts that have distinctive endocrine system functions.

They are named the inner adrenal medulla and the outer adrenal cortex. Both aspects of the adrenals are responsive to stress. The following forms of stress can affect the adrenal glands: Adrenal Medulla The adrenal medulla is regulated by the sympathetic nervous system. When the body experiences stress, the sympathetic nervous system stimulates the release of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla. They influence the cardiovascular system by increasing heart rate, blood pressure and thereby cardiac output.

The metabolic rate is increased and blood sugar is increased by the conversion of glycogen to glucose. The respiratory passages are dilated for increased respiration.

The result is a hyper vigilant body ready to take flight or fight as necessary. Adrenal Cortex The adrenal cortex releases several different steroid hormones. The pancreas is an organ located just below and behind the stomach.

The pancreas is made up of two different kinds of tissues and also has two distinct functions. It is classified as both an endocrine gland and an exocrine gland. As an exocrine gland the pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine. These enzymes play a role in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats. As an endocrine gland the pancreas secretes hormones that help to regulate blood glucose levels. There are four cells that achieve this function: The endocrine system plays an important role in helping your body maintain homeostasis.

The endocrine system function allows your body temperature to stay the same despite environmental changes, or it can purposefully raise your body temperature in an attempt to overcome an illness such as the flu. The endocrine system also plays important roles for your immune system health, nervous system health and reproductive health. What's Your Herbal Constitution? Take my quiz to find out.

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