The endocrine system, along with the nervous system, functions in the regulation of body activities. The nervous system acts through electrical impulses and neurotransmitters to cause muscle contraction and glandular secretion. The effect is of short duration, measured in seconds, and localized.
The endocrine system acts through chemical messengers called hormones that influence growth, development, and metabolic activities. The action of the endocrine system is measured in minutes, hours, or weeks and is more generalized than the action of the nervous system.
The endocrine glands do not have ducts to carry their product to a surface. They are called ductless glands. The word endocrine is derived from the Greek terms “endo,” meaning within, and “krine,” meaning to separate or secrete. The secretory products of endocrine glands are called hormones and are secreted directly into the blood and then carried throughout the body where they influence only those cells that have receptor sites for that hormone. Specific hormones are “recognized” only by their target cells and organs and won’t affect any other tissues.
The main endocrine glands in the humans are the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, pancreas, ovary and testis
Hormones influence many aspects of the body environment, the hormone-triggered chemical changes inside the body’s cells influence numerous complex body processes including :-
Growth, development and healing of all body tissues
Internal balance of body systems, called homeostasis
Responses to surroundings, stress and injury
Metabolism and metabolic health or disease
Hormone levels are affected by aging, stress, disease and lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, sleep and substance use. As hormones control many body activities, undersecretion or oversecretion of hormones can affect one’s health. These phenomenons are known as hormonal imbalance. Hormones need to be balanced in order to work properly. Too much or too little can impact your health, potentially and seriously.
Common conditions are associated with hormonal imbalances:
Weight gain (especially the waistline)
Loss of muscle mass
Poor immune function