The Human Body: Endocrine System
The endocrine system is made up of a group of glands that produce the body's long-distance messengers, or hormones. The endocrine system is instrumental in regulating mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism, as well as sexual function and reproductive processes.
The endocrine system is an information signal system much like the nervous system. However, the nervous system uses nerves to conduct information, whereas the endocrine system mainly uses blood vessels as information channels. Glands located in many regions of the body, for example the testis, release into the bloodstream specific chemical messengers called hormones. Hormones regulate many functions of an organism, including mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism.
The major human endocrine glands include hypothalamus and pituitary gland, thyroid gland, pancreas, adrenal glands, gonads or sex organs, pineal gland.
Diseases of the endocrine system are common, including conditions such as diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease, and obesity.
Endocrinopathies are classified as primary, secondary, or tertiary. Primary endocrine disease inhibits the action of downstream glands. Secondary endocrine disease is indicative of a problem with the pituitary gland. Tertiary endocrine disease is associated with dysfunction of the hypothalamus and its releasing hormones.