Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
The endocrine system is a collection of glands and tissues that produce and secrete hormones. Hormones are a type of chemical messenger that can travel through the bloodstream and interact with cellular targets within a particular tissue to regulate their activity. Homeostasis, healthy balance in the body, is maintained through the fine-tuned regulation of normal body functions by hormones.
The brain is an endocrine hub, housing important hormone-generating structures, like the pituitary gland, the pineal gland, and the hypothalamus. Appetite, sleep cycles, and emotion are just some of the processes regulated by these three endocrine glands. They even coordinate other endocrine structures. Other glands, such as the thyroid and adrenals, produce messengers that are involved in metabolism, blood pressure, and reproductive functions. Testes and ovaries secrete sex hormones that direct growth and development as well as other reproductive processes.
Find out how lifestyle factors and self-care practices can help maintain proper function and health of the endocrine system.
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