The human body is a fascinating structure that is made up of several complex systems which aid in proper function. The circulatory system and digestive system are talked about quite a bit and most of us have a pretty good idea what each consists of and does. The endocrine system is not discussed as often but it is certainly an important part of the human body!
The endocrine system is made up of organs and glands which produce hormones the human body needs to function properly. This complex system includes the hypothalamus, thyroid and pituitary glands and the kidneys, pancreas and liver. The endocrine system network is responsible for controlling, growth, development and metabolism.
The growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. GH, as it is known, works to stimulate growth and reproduction of cells. The most important hormone in the system, GH is what determines height, size and muscle mass.
Vasopressin is produced by the hypothalamus gland. This aids in keeping blood pressure, water retention and electrolytes at their proper levels.
Calcitonin comes from the thyroid gland. This is the hormone that helps with construction of the bone, or skeletal mass.
Insulin is perhaps one of the more well known hormones, due to it’s relationship with diabetes. Insulin is made in the pancreas and regulates the glucose levels.
Adrenaline is created in glands, called adrenal glands, which are located at the top of our kidneys. Adrenaline is responsible for the “fight or flight” response that we have heard so much about. Adrenaline increases oxygen supplies to the muscles and brain. At the same time, it shuts down those body functions that are not imperative for an emergency.
Noradrenaline is a hormone that works with adrenaline to create the above response in the human body. A “survival” insuring hormone, if you will.
Each of these hormones in the endocrine system play different, but very important roles. When hormone levels become unbalanced there can be serious consequences. Growth related disorders may occur, such as gigantism, or dwarfism. Diabetes is a potentially life threatening disease which can develop when insulin levels are not where they should be. There are various other, and more rare, conditions which can result from hormone imbalances in the body.
When functioning properly, the endocrine system produces the hormones needed to provide us with healthy bodies. It is only when this system is malfunctioning that we ever think about it.