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The Endocrine System

The endocrine system is one of the body’s communication systems. Its function is the production and distribution of hormones. Hormones help tell the body what to do.

Image of the endocrine system.

The thyroid gland is one of the primary glands of the endocrine system. The thyroid gland controls the body’s metabolism.

What is the Endocrine System?

The endocrine system includes many different organs called glands. Major glands include:

Endocrine System Diagram

There are many glands throughout the body

Glands are responsible for making hormones. Each gland makes different kinds of hormones. You can find out more about the body’s glands in the resources below!

What are Hormones?

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. There are many different kinds of hormones and each one has a specific job. The hormone’s job is to help control different body functions.

Hormones control everything from regulating sleep patterns to managing how the body grows.

How do Hormones Work?

Each hormone has a different chemical composition. The chemical composition is like a piece of coded information telling an organ what to do. Only certain receptors in the target organ can read the code.

Hormones travel through the bloodstream. This allows them to reach the different organs and tissues of the body. The hormone’s destination is the target organ.

Diagram of hormones.

Hormones only bind with compatible receptors of the target organ.

Once the hormone reaches the target organ, it binds with compatible receptors. The receptors read the coded information and perform the required task.


How Does the Endocrine System Work With Other systems?

The endocrine hormones affect all other systems in the body.

The parathyroid, for example, is an important gland for the skeletal system. The parathyroid helps to regulate levels of calcium and phosphorus. These nutrients are critical for strong bones and healthy muscles.

The adrenal glands produce hormones like adrenaline. Adrenaline plays a key role in the “fight or flight” response when the body perceives danger. Adrenaline may increase heart rate and breathing patterns.

The pancreas is part of both the endocrine system and the digestive system. It helps create enzymes that break down food. Insulin is made in the pancreas and is helpful in regulating blood sugar levels.

Diagram of how the pancreas works.

Glands can produce different hormones for many body systems. The pancreas makes hormones and enzymes for the digestive system.

Other Great Resources:

Brief History of Endocrinology: https://www.livescience.com/26496-endocrine-system.html

More on Hormones and Their Function: https://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/hormones/hormones-and-what-do-they-do

(Video) The Body’s Glands:


Written by: Stephanie Banh