One of the major systems in the human body is the endocrine system. This system is composed of a number of glands that communicate information and control responses throughout the body. The body is composed on two main types of glands. Exocrine glands release outside of the body (e.g., tears and sweat). Endocrine glands are fully within the body.
The pituitary gland is the size of a pea and is composed of an anterior gland and a posterior gland. Located in the brain, these glands release hormones for various functions. The anterior pituitary gland releases hormones used to regulate growth, ovary development and blood sugar levels. The posterior pituitary glands releases hormones used in the production of antidiuretics and oxytocin.
The hypothalamus is located in the brain and acts as a regulator for the entire body. The hypothalamus serves to keep the body at an even level, in terms to temperature, oxygen levels and blood sugar levels. This function is referred to as homeostasis.
The thyroid is located in the throat, just above the voice box. This gland regulates weight and produces calcitonin, which controls the levels of calcium in the body. Four smaller glands are located behind the thyroid, called the parathyriod glands. These glands work in conjunction with the thyroid to control hormone levels and calcium.
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. These glands regulate minerals, including salt and potassium. Additionally, this gland releases reproductive hormones and anti-inflammatory hormones.
Males and females have different reproductive glands. For the male, these glands release testosterone and assist in the production of sperm. For the female, these glands release estrogen and progesterone and assists in the production of ova.
The thymus is located in the neck and is responsible for assisting the immune system.
- Photo Credit head anatomy image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com Stethoscope and medical microscope image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com
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