Surprising Facts about Endocrine System

  • The hormones in your body and the glands that produce them are taken together to form the endocrine system.
  • An interesting excretory system fact is that the length of intestinal tract in your body has been measured as long as twenty-seven (27) feet, which equals 8.5 meters!
  • You have as many as eight major glands in the body that are assigned the job of regulating metabolic processes, sleep, reproduction, growth and other important mechanisms.
  • So far as the role of endocrine system is concerned, it works as an information signal just like that of the nervous system.
  • The major difference between the nervous and the endocrine system lies in the fact that the former uses neurons for the transmission of information from one place to another, while in the latter, there are used chemical messengers, called hormones.
  • There are different kinds of hormonal secretions produced in the body, and each of these particular types has its own unique function.
  • Endocrinology is a branch of medical science that is particularly concerned with the study of hormones, the glands that produce them and disorders of the endocrine system. An endocrinologist, on the other hand, is an individual who enjoys expertise in the field of endocrinology.
  • It was about two millennia centuries ago when the traditional Chinese healers practiced endocrinology for the treatment of certain diseases.
  • The Chinese traditional healers extracted the sex and pituitary gland hormones from the human urine with the help of the sulfate mineral “gypsum” and the chemical compound “saponin”, and used these hormones for medicinal purposes.
  • According the findings of the study, conducted by the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”, every 10th individual in the US is suffering from osteoporosis which is a disorder marked by the decreasing density of the bones with age and their being prone to fractures. Though osteoporosis is primarily considered to be a bone disorder, for treatment it also falls under the domain of an endocrinologist because of the underlying causes of the disease.
  • As estrogen hormone helps to maintain the bone mass, the decrease in the level of this hormone in the postmenopausal women results in the development of osteoporosis.
  • The treatment of osteoporosis in the postmenopausal women is carried out through the hormonal replacement therapy.
  • Kidney, one of the major excretory organs, plays a very important role in the natural purification of your blood, thus extracting the toxins in the form of urine that is then discharged out of the body.
  • It was about as early as 1800s when the scientists started thinking that some sort of communication must take place between different organs in the human body. Meanwhile, it was also found out that certain disorders could be treated with the help of extracts from endocrine tissues.
  • It is quite surprising to note that the term “hormone” could not be coined until the early 1900s.
  • Profound research was conducted in the field of endocrinology during the first half of the 20th century, which was particularly sparked by coining of the term “hormone”.
  • The eight hormone-secreting glands associated with the endocrine system include pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, pancreas, pineal gland, hypothalamus, adrenal gland and reproductive glands (testes and ovaries).
  • Apart from the glands of the endocrine system, there are certain other organs and tissues that are connected with the production and secretion of some hormones.
  • Though stomach is not a part of the endocrine system, it releases the hormones ghrelin and gastrin, where the former induces hunger and the later stimulates the secretion of gastric juice.
  • Just like stomach, placenta found in the body of women is not an endocrine gland but even then it secretes the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
  • Diabetes is a disorder of the endocrine system which is marked by the stoppage in the production of insulin a pancreatic hormone which regulates the blood sugar levels.
  • According to the statistics released by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder in the US that affects about 8 percent of the total population.
  • Hippocrates the ancient Greek physician and the "Father of Medicine" was the first to diagnose diabetes mellitus. Surprisingly, his technique involved tasting of the urine of his patients for a distinct sweetness.
  • The glands found in your body are grouped into two categories, which are endocrine glands and exocrine glands.
  • The exocrine glands excrete their products through ducts and include the mammary glands, salivary glands and sweat glands.
  • The endocrine glands, on the other hand, are ductless glands that release their hormonal secretions directly into the blood stream.
  • The pancreas has both the endocrine as well as exocrine functions, thus playing the role of a bridge between the two worlds.
  • Concerning its endocrine function, the pancreas secretes insulin and glucagon directly into the blood stream, while its exocrine function is related to the secretion of the pancreatic juice that is emptied into the small intestine and contains important digestive enzymes.
  • The consumption of alcohol leaves widespread affects on the functioning of the endocrine system.
  • If, on one hand, the utilization of alcohol decreases the risk of the heart disease and stroke, on the other hand, it leaves damaging effects on the liver.
  • By interfering with certain hormones, alcohol can impair the regulation of blood sugar level.
  • Alcoholic consumptions can also result in the reduction of the testosterone level in men by damaging the testes.
  • When alcohol messes with a calcium-regulating hormone called a parathyroid hormone the risk for the onset of osteoporosis gets increased.
  • Instead of choosing more typical lab animals like mice and guinea pigs, in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, many endocrine system studies were conducted on dogs.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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