January 3, 2001

The endocrine system is made up of specialized glands that have the ability to produce chemicals called hormones. Hormones go into and are transported by the blood to other parts of the body where they control various functions. The endocrine system is much like the nervous system in its ability to control functioning of different areas of the body (target organs). In the endocrine system, this is accomplished by hormones, whereas in the nervous system, this is accomplished more quickly by nerve impulses. Hormones are the main regulators of metabolism, growth, development, and reproduction. They also play an important role in regulation of fluids, electrolytes, acids, bases, and energy utilization. The major glands in the endocrine system include the pituitary, pineal, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroids, thymus, adrenals, pancreas, ovaries, and testes.

The endocrine system is a collection of special organs in the body that produce hormones. These organs are usually called the "glands." They are located in different parts of the body. For example, the pituitary is in the brain, the thyroid is in the neck, the adrenal glands are just alone the kidneys and the sexual glands (ovaries and testes) are located in the sexual organs.

Each gland produces a hormone into the blood, which travels all through the body. Hormones regulate our body activities, for example growth, sleep, sudden actions, feelings and blood sugar for energy.

The functions of the Endocrine System are to maintain homeostasis in the body by releasing chemicals called hormones. The major prosses controlled by hormones are reproduction; growth and developement; mobilization of body defenses against stressors; maintenance of electrolyte, water, and nutrient balance of the blood; and regulation of cellular metabolism and energy balance.

The Endocrine System regultaes processes that go on for relatively long periods of time, and in some instances, continuously. The endocrine system consists of three components which are glands, hormones, and target cells. These three elements work together to relay messages throughout the body that regulate functions and responses.

Some of the functions and responses that are the responsibility of the endocrine system are controlling the body's growth, developing male or female characteristics, and making the body respond to fear stimuli. Also, in conjunction with the nervous system, the endocrine system maintains the body's inner state, reacts to outside stimuli, and assists in development and reproduction.

The endocrine system, with the help of the endocrine hormones, plays a large and important role within the body of any animal. The Endocrine System is also based on some basic disorders. To name a few, there is gigantism; which results in dwarfism. Another disorder is thyroxin; which is a gland that causes a swelling of the throat known as the goiter. To name one more, is the disease diabetes. The lack of insulin produces the disorder diabetes. Here the cells cannotuse sugar for energy so they turn to the body's fat supply. When this happens, this produces lots of energy. But it builds poison levels in the blood faster than the liver can lower them.

The Biological Bases of Behavior

History of the Study of the Brain


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