The endocrine system is made up of several glands, which secrete specific hormones for various functions of human body. These glands are ductless, and release the hormones directly into the bloodstream. It is the blood which transports the hormones to specific parts or organs of the body.
Hormones are very important to the body as they are chemical messengers which carry instructions and vital information to the respective organ. They are instrumental in regulating growth, metabolism, tissue regeneration and sexual development in the human body.
Hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenals, pineal body, thyroid, parathyroid and the reproductive glands, namely the ovaries and testes, are the glands which constitute the endocrine system. The pancreas can also be included in this system as it secretes hormones along with digestive enzymes. There are some non-endocrine organs such as heart, lungs, brain, skin, thymus, liver, kidneys and even the placenta involved in the production and secretion of hormones for various functions of the body.
The hypothalamus is the main link between the endocrine and the nervous system. The pituitary gland located just beneath the hypothalamus is known as the “master gland”. It produces the growth hormone of prolactin, thyrotropin and corticotrophin hormones. The thyroid is located in the neck, and produces thyroxine and triiodothyronine hormones. The four small parathyroids are attached to the thyroid which secrete the parathyroid hormone.
The adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys, produce the adrenaline hormone. It increases the rate of the heart and the blood pressure in relation with the stress level the body experiences. The pineal gland located in the middle of the brain, regulates the sleep pattern in the human body.
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