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What job do hormones do?

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What job do hormones do? Hormones are chemical messengers that are produced in one part of the body and have an effect on another part.

Hormones switch body processes on and off, and they regulate most of the body's activity. The nervous system also helps in these processes, giving rapid instructions along the nerves.

The body's endocrine system uses hormones which work much more slowly. The majority of hormones are carried around the body in the bloodstream, reaching all the major organs and tissues.

How many hormones does the body have?

The body has more than 30 different hormones. They are mostly produced in organs called endocrine glands.

These glands discharge the hormones directly into the bloodstream. Other types of glands pass their secretions through ducts to the point where they a re needed. Endocrine glands are found in the head, neck and torso. The amount of hormones in the body is regulated by a feedback system.

This means that once hormones are produced, the body measures them and once they have reached the required level, their production is switched off again. Sometimes this mechanism does not work properly, and over or underactive glands such as the thyroid can produce illness.

This is the master gland which controls the working of other endocrine glands. It also produces important hormones that are essential during childhood and adolescence.

The thyroid gland produces several important hormones used to regulate body energy usage.

The adrenal glands are attached to the kidneys. They produce hormones that alert and get the body ready for instant action.

In addition to its function in producing digestive enzymes, the pancreas is an endocrine gland that produces the hormones that regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.

The male testes make the hormone testosterone, which controls many of the functions of a man's body.The female ovaries regulate menstruation and the processes leading to conception and pregnancy.

Which is the 'master gland'?

The pituitary gland, in the base of the brain, is the most important endocrine gland. Although it is only tiny, it produces hormones that regulate the effects of the other glands. The pituitary gland is connected directly to a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, and so provides the link between the brain and the endocrine system. The pituitary gland produces many important hormones, including growth hormone as well as hormones that cause the sex glands to start secreting their own hormones.

Which gland controls the way the body uses energy?

The thyroid gland produces hormones that control the rate at which chemical reactions take place in the body. The gland is in the base of the neck. Thyroxin is one of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. It speeds up the production of energy from the food you eat. An underactive thyroid can mean that a person becomes slow and sluggish. Other hormones from the thyroid control the amount of calcium in the bones.

Danger glands

Occasionally glands do not function properly and can produce too much or too little hormone. Diabetes is a common example of under production of the hormone insulin. The malfunction of the pituitary gland has more obvious results. Too much growth hormone from an overactive pituitary gland during adolescence has resulted in people growing to over 2.75 m tall. Lack of growth hormone in childhood and adolescence produces very short people whose bones do not grow properly. The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce hormones properly.

Tags: hormones, nervous system, bloodstream

Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 22 December '11

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