About the Endocrine System

Endocrine Glands and Hormones

Written by Robert M. Sargis MD, PhD

The Endocrine System Essentials

Simply put, the endocrine system is a network of glands that secrete chemicals called hormones to help your body function properly. Hormones are chemical signals that coordinate a range of bodily functions.
The endocrine system works to regulate certain internal processes. (Note: endocrine shouldn’t be confused with exocrine. Exocrine glands, such as sweat and salivary glands, secrete externally and internally via ducts. Endocrine glands secrete hormones internally, using the bloodstream.)
The endocrine system helps control the following processes and systems:
The Endocrine Network
The endocrine system completes these tasks through its network of glands, which are small but highly important organs that produce, store, and secrete hormones.
The glands of the endocrine system are:
These glands produce different types of hormones that evoke a specific response in other cells, tissues, and/or organs located throughout the body. The hormones reach these faraway targets using the blood stream. Like the nervous system, the endocrine system is one of your body’s main communicators. But instead of using nerves to transmit information, the endocrine system uses blood vessels to deliver hormones to cells.
Endocrine Diseases
To ensure that everything runs smoothly (that is, your body functions as it should), certain processes must work properly:
Endocrine diseases are common and happen even when one step in the process doesn’t work as it should. If you have an endocrine disease or disorder, you may consult a specialist known as an endocrinologist who will effectively diagnose and help treat your condition.


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