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Endocrinology is one of the fast-emerging medical specialities that deals with the human body's endocrine system. In the last two decades, the role of hormones in controlling, regulating, and processing various bodily functions has been widely studied and recognized. An expert who specializes in the endocrine system is known as an Endocrinologist.
Our endocrine system comprises glands and organs, including the hypothalamus, pineal body, Pancreas, pituitary gland, adrenal gland, thyroid, parathyroids, testes, and ovaries, that release hormones into the bloodstream for regulating various bodily functions. These hormones travel to multiple body parts and reach their 'targets' on the gland, organ, or body tissues, where they regulate the process.
Hormones are like 'messengers' which ensure each body part functions and processes properly at any given time. Any disruption in these hormones and endocrine system can lead to the following health conditions:
An endocrine system is a group of glands performing a specific function.
Located just above the kidneys, the adrenal gland triggers the production of several hormones that maintain the body's balance of salts and water, which are responsible for regulating blood pressure. The three major hormones secreted by adrenal glands are:
The hormones secreted by the adrenal gland play a pivotal role in coping and response mechanisms the stress, maintaining metabolism, development of male sex organs, and hair growth in girls in puberty.
Hypothalamus, located just above the brain system, is like a link between an endocrine system with the nervous system for communicating with the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus controls the pituitary gland by regulating hormone production, which controls hunger, thirst, and body temperature.
Known as the 'master gland' for releasing hormones that regulate thyroid, adrenal and reproductive glands, the pituitary gland is responsible for a plethora of bodily functions. It also produces hormones that promote the growth of bones, and tissues, reabsorption of water by kidneys, encourage sexual desires and aid uterine movements during labour pain.
The pancreas, located in the abdomen, is vital for digestive and endocrine functions. The Pancreas contains hormone-producing cells in the 'islets of Langerhans,' a region for supporting the body cells with energy and digestion. The poor functioning of the Pancreas leads to type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that converts iodine into two hormones, T3 and T4, responsible for maintaining body temperature, heart rate, and the body's reaction to various hormones. Thyroid dysfunction can lead to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Grave's disease, etc.
There are four parathyroid glands in the human body that control calcium levels in the blood and bones. These glands produce Parathyroid Hormone and aid the lining of the intestine in absorbing calcium in the diet.
Ovaries, the female sex glands, are responsible for two primary reproductive functions – the production o oocytes or eggs for fertilization and the triggering reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen aids in breast growth and other female sexual features. Estrogen and progesterone regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the endometrium or lining of the uterus during pregnancy.
Testes or Testicles are male sex glands, and their main functions are the production of sperm and trigger hormones, particularly testosterone. Testosterone aids the body in sexual development, including the growth of the penis, facial and pubic hair, muscle build-up, and strength and voice changes in puberty.
The pineal gland is located deep in the brain's center and secretes melatonin, which regulates the sleep cycle.
When faced with complex medical treatments and options, you may seek a second opinion from another doctor, surgeon, or specialist.