The body comprises many organs; heart, skin, kidneys, lungs and the brain. To function, they need to get directions from the endocrine. The endocrine system has glands that can be seen as messengers because they tell each body part what function to perform, when and how to do it. Therefore, Hormone Health is crucial to your health and wellness.
These chemical messengers travel through the bloodstream to reach the organ and tissue. Hormones are important in regulating different processes such as appetite, metabolism, reproductive cycles, sleep cycles, sexual drive and function and body temperature.
It is normal to have hormonal imbalance from time to time. Even the slightest in production can have adverse effects in the entire body system. The production of hormones fluctuates throughout one’s lifetime, depending on what is going on in the body.
This leads to various health challenges such as diabetes, weak bones, weight loss or gain infertility, among other problems. When you suspect that you have hormone-related health issues, it is advisable to talk to the healthcare provider or an endocrinologist who can help you.
Glands and hormones
Various glands that produce different hormones in the body. How these chemical messengers play a role in the endocrine system.
- Adrenaline gland
This gland secretes androgen and cortisol hormone. It controls blood sugar. The adrenal gland produces adrenaline hormone, which is released when someone has extreme emotions. In such instances, the person gets a sudden surge of energy. This explains why a person outruns the spread in the face of danger.
Adrenal glands are two triangular glands found on top of each kidney. Each of the glands has two parts that make two hormones. The adrenal cortex is the outer part and contains a hormone called corticosteroids.
This hormone helps in the control of salt levels in the body and water balance. It also controls the immune system, sexual development and metabolism.
The inner part is called the adrenal medulla and makes Epinephrine. Epinephrine increases the heart rate and blood pressure when one is under stress.
Hypothalamus is found in the lower middle part of the brain. It is the link between the endocrine and nervous system. It gathers information such as light exposure, feelings and temperature and transmits it to the pituitary. The information received informs the hormone to be made and released by the pituitary.
The pituitary gland makes several hormones such as prolactin, growth, hormone, thyrotropin, corticotropin, antidiuretic and oxytocin. It also produces endorphins, chemicals that reduce pain and act on the nervous system. The pituitary gland also regulates ovulation and menstruation in women.
Thyroid hormones are crucial because they help children and adolescents develop strong bones. They also help in the development of the nervous system. Thyroid hormones produce thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
These hormones control the rate at which the body cells burn fuels to produce energy. The more thyroid hormones are present in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical reactions take place in the body.
- Reproductive glands
Gonads produce sex hormones, and both boys and girls have them. In boys, the testes are in the scrotum and secrete hormones known as androgens. Androgen produces testosterone which is responsible for puberty and the changes experienced during the stage.
The ovaries found in the pelvis are girl’s gonads. They secrete progesterone and estrogen, which is commonly known as female hormones.
Estrogen is responsible for initiating puberty in girls characterized by the growth of breast, accumulation of fat around the hips and thighs and a general growth spurt. These two hormones; estrogen and progesterone, are crucial in regulating the menstrual cycle in girls.
- Parathyroid glands
These are four tiny glands found in the anterior neck that regulate the amount of calcium in the bloodstream.
Parathyroid glands secrete parathyroid hormone PHT to control calcium and phosphorus levels I the bone, blood and throughout the body. Calcium is a crucial element in the body because it controls many organ systems.Calcium is an essential element in the body because of three primary reasons:
- Calcium provides the electrical energy required in the nervous system. Electrical pulses travel along the nerves and calcium provide the means to do. Calcium is the medium for conducting electricity. This explains why parathyroid diseases present themselves with symptoms such as depression, tiredness and weakness.
- Calcium provides the chemical energy required for the muscular system. Body muscles use changing calcium levels found in the cells to provide energy to contract. When calcium levels are inappropriate, one feels weak and experiences muscle cramps.
- Calcium provides strength to the skeleton system. Calcium makes the bones strong. Bones are the body’s storage system for calcium and phosphorus.The body draws this mineral to help in forming strong bones and muscles.
It is crucial to know that calcium is the most regulated and contributed element in the body and is the only mineral that has a regulatory system.
Parathyroid glands can experience over-activity where the parathyroid hormones make too much hormone thus causing an imbalance. Very high calcium in the blood causes hyperparathyroidism and when it’s too low, it causes hypothyroidism.
Diseases of the endocrine system
The endocrine system is one of the main communicators of the body. While the nervous system uses nerves for information transmission, the endocrine system uses the vessels to deliver the required hormones to the cells.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the body functions properly. To achieve a healthy state, these processes must work efficiently;
- Endocrine glands should produce the extract amount of hormones. Too little or too much production of hormones brings hormonal imbalance.
- The body should have a steady blood supply to transport hormones through the body.
- Sufficient and efficient receptors found where the hormones attract. They should also work as expected at the target body tissue.
- These target tissues should appropriately respond to the hormone signal sent.
How to keep the endocrine system healthy
You can keep the endocrine system functionally healthy by;
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Taking regular exercises
- Going for frequent medical check-up
- Consult the doctor before using herbal treatment and supplements
- Informing the doctor about family history of endocrine issues such as thyroid and diabetes
Call the doctor if you have the symptoms below:
- You still feel thirsty after taking a lot of water
- You’re frequenting the bathroom to pas even too often
- Feeling very tired and weak even after taking a rest
- Losing or gaining a lot of weight
- Sweating or having tremors
- Not developing as expected of various growth milestones
- Difficulty sleeping
- Having dry skin or skin rashes
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in blood sugar concentration
- Thinning brittle hair
- Blurred vision
- A swelling in the neck
Some lifestyle habits and environmental factors can cause hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalance may be caused by:
- Chronic stress
- Overproduction of glucagon (hyperglycemic)
- Overactive thyroid
- Poor nutrition
- Birth control medication
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- Severe allergic reactions and infections
- Exposure to pollutants, toxin and after the endocrine disrupting chemicals.