The word "endocrine" means to "secrete." And endocrine glands are internal secretions within your body. Endocrine glands pertain to glands that secrete directly into your bloodstream.
The endocrine glands include:
Hypophysis (pituitary gland)
Adrenal (supra-renal) glands
Gonads (ovaries and testes)
Islets (Islands) of Langerhans of the Pancreas
An endocrine gland is a ductless gland that produces an internal secretion discharged into the blood or lymph system, which is then circulated to all the other parts of the body. It's like the secretions from the endocrine glands hitch a ride on a boat in the bloodstream so they can get to the place that they need to be. And timing is everything. They don't want to "miss the boat." (smiles)
Hormones are the active principles of the endocrine glands and they produce effects on tissues sometimes near and sometimes far away from where they originated. The word hormone means "urging on" and that is exactly what hormones do. They urge on and actually cause things to start happening. They are the keys that unlock certain doors in the body.
Hormones that are secreted by the ductless glands may have a specific effect on an organ or tissue or a general effect on the entire body, as in the case of thyroid hormone, which affects the rate of metabolism.
In addition, the hypothalamus produces "releasing hormones" that exert an effect on the production of some hormones. Those hormones are produced just to effect other hormones. Other structures such as the gastro-intestinal mucosa and the placenta also have an endocrine function.
The physiological processes that are affected by hormones are rate of metabolism and the metabolism of specific substances, growth and developmental processes, the secretory activity of other endocrine glands, the development and functioning of the reproductive organs, sexual characteristics and libido, the development of personality and higher nervous functions, the ability of the body to meet conditions of stress and resistance to disease.
Endocrine dysfunction may result from hyposecretion. This is where an inadequate amount of the hormone(s) is secreted, or hypersecretion, where excessive amounts of hormones are produced. Secretion of endocrine glands may be under nervous control, under control of chemical substances in the blood, or, in some cases, under control of other hormones. Many pathological conditions are the result of or associated with the malfunctioning of the endocrine glands.
Your body has over 30 incredible hormones busy regulating:
**This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.