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Endocrine glands

 

Endocrine glands release (secrete) hormones into the bloodstream.

The endocrine glands include:

  • Adrenal
  • Hypothalamus
  • Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas
  • Ovaries
  • Parathyroid
  • Pineal
  • Pituitary
  • Testes
  • Thyroid

Information

Hypersecretion is when too many hormones are secreted from a gland. Hyposecretion is when too few hormones are released.

There are many types of disorders that can result when too much or too little of a hormone is released.

Disorders that may result when a particular gland does not produce the right amount of hormones include:

Adrenal:

  • Addison disease
  • Adrenogenital syndrome or adrenocortical hyperplasia
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Pheochromocytoma

Pancreas:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia

Parathyroid:

  • Tetany
  • Renal calculi
  • Excessive loss of minerals from bone

Pituitary:

  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Acromegaly
  • Diabetes
  • Gigantism
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Cushing Disease

Testes and ovaries:

  • Lack of sex development (unclear genitalia)

Thyroid:

  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • Myxedema
  • Goiter
  • Thyrotoxicosis

 

References

Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Larsen PR, Polonsky KS. Principles of endocrinology. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 1.

 
  • Endocrine glands

    Endocrine glands - illustration

    Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the pace of chemical activity in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).

    Endocrine glands

    illustration

  • Brain-thyroid link

    Brain-thyroid link - illustration

    Although the thyroid gland releases the hormones which govern growth and metabolism, the brain (the pituitary and the hypothalamus) manages the release and the balance of the amount of hormones circulated.

    Brain-thyroid link

    illustration

    • Endocrine glands

      Endocrine glands - illustration

      Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the pace of chemical activity in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).

      Endocrine glands

      illustration

    • Brain-thyroid link

      Brain-thyroid link - illustration

      Although the thyroid gland releases the hormones which govern growth and metabolism, the brain (the pituitary and the hypothalamus) manages the release and the balance of the amount of hormones circulated.

      Brain-thyroid link

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Talking to your MD

       

        Self Care

         

          Tests for Endocrine glands

           

           

          Review Date: 5/18/2015

          Reviewed By: Robert Hurd, MD, Professor of Endocrinology and Health Care Ethics, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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