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Anatomy of the endocrine system.

Adrenal glands (Suprarenal glands):

Consists of two glands that are two or three inches long weighting less than one ounce located on top of the kidneys. Adrenal glands  secrete hormones that are responsible for maintaining the body salt and water balance and helps in coping with stress. During stressful situations adrenaline is released by the adrenals and proteins are converted to energy by the cortisol released  from the cortex of these lands, leading the release of the body's stored sugar that generates energy and accelerates the heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure  giving our body the fuel required for quick response in a crisis. The adrenal gland also produces androgens, male sex hormones that promotes male sexual characteristics and estrogens, the essential hormone for female metabolism.

Located just above the brain stem  serves as the link between the endocrine system and the nervous system, via the pituitary gland by controlling the pituitary gland by stimulating or suppressing hormone secretions. It  controls functions as body temperature, hunger, thirst and fatigue.
Pituitary gland:

The size of the pea, is referred as the master gland because it secretes hormones that control the secretion of other glands (thyroid, adrenal and reproductive glands).  It also produces hormones that stimulates the growth of bones and soft tissues, affect sexual development, encourage reabsorption of water by the kidney and trigger uterine contractions during labor.
Pineal gland:

Located deep in the center of the brains, this gland is involved in the secretion of melatonin which help maintain a person wake/ sleep cycles,  and regulates reproductive hormones and the conversion of nervous system signals to endocrine glands.

Located in the abdomen, is both a digestive organ and an endocrine gland. The Islets of Langerhans, are region s of the pancreas that contain hormones producing cells,  whose functions are to keep the body supplied with fuel for energy by maintaining a steady level of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream with the hormones insulin and glucagon and to help in food digestion by secreting digestive enzymes.
Parathyroid glands:

4 glands, located behind the thyroid glands, that are the size of a  grain of rice and monitor the calcium levels in the blood. When calcium, levels are low, PTH is released  , circulates  to the cells of the bones and causes them to release calcium into the bloodstream.  When calcium levels are high, PTH make less calcium until levels are restored.  Calcium allows the normal conduction of electrical current along the nerves, the parathyroids also  helps the lining of the intestine to become more efficient in absorbing calcium.
Thymus gland:

Located in the upper part of the chest , the thymus controls  the body's immunity by releasing humoral factors that stimulate the production of T-lymphocytes that fight invading bacteria, virus, foreign  tissues and cancer cells.
Thyroid gland:

Takes iodine and converts it to T3 and T4, which are transported in the bloodstream and enter  body cells to regulate blood pressure , body temperature, heart rate, metabolism, and how the body reacts to other hormones. It also produces calcitonin that regulates calcium metabolism.

The ovaries, the female gonads,  have two main functions: produce eggs for fertilization and reproductive hormones like estrogens and progesterone. Estrogen is involved in the development  of female sexual characteristics like breast growth , fat deposition around the hips and thighs and the growth spurt that occurs during puberty. Both hormones are involved in the regulation of menstrual cycles and prepare the lining of the uterus in the case an egg is fertilized.

The males gonads have two main functions:  to produce sperm and to produce hormones, especially testosterone that regulate male body changes, including enlargement of the penis, growth spurt of puberty, deepening  of the voice, growth of facial hair and pubic hair and increase in muscle growth and strength.
Dr. Lysette Iglesias M.D.

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