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The endocrine system is made up of a various glands and organs throughout the body.  

Much like the nervous system, the endocrine system is essential when it comes to the regulation of many important bodily functions and processes. While the nervous system involves the use of neurotransmitters and nerve impulses, the endocrine system uses hormones for communication. So, what exactly does the endocrine system do? And how does it work to keep your health on track?

What does it do?

The endocrine system, which comprises various glands and organs, plays an important role in the regulation of some of the body’s key functions. The glands of the endocrine system secrete hormones, which them move through the bloodstream to reach organs and tissues throughout the body.

The endocrine system controls numerous bodily functions and processes, including the metabolism; sexual function; reproduction; growth and development; heart rate; and blood pressure. The endocrine system is also responsible for regulating one’s appetite, sleep cycles and body temperature.

Which organs are part of the endocrine system?

The endocrine system is made up of a network of glands, all of which produce, store and release hormones. Each of these glands produces one or multiple hormones that then travels to specific organs and tissues.

The endocrine system includes a number of glands, including the hypothalamus, which produces a number of hormones that control the pituitary gland; pituitary gland, which secretes hormones for reproduction and growth; pineal gland, which regulates sleep cycles; thyroid, which plays an integral role in metabolism; parathyroid, which controls calcium levels in the body; thymus, which produces hormones that aid in the development of certain blood cells; adrenal gland, which regulates stress response, blood pressure and heart rate; and the pancreas, which controls blood sugar levels.

What do hormones do?

Hormones are the chemicals that facilitate communication between the endocrine system and the organs. When the hormones are released into the bloodstream, they travel to the target organ, which then recognises and reacts accordingly. For example, thyroid hormone is secreted by the hormone and helps to control one’s metabolism and energy levels, while adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands and increases processes like blood pressure, heart rate and metabolism in reaction to stress.

Which conditions affect the endocrine system?

When the endocrine system does not function as it should, one may experience a hormonal imbalance that can affect overall health. In fact, there are a number of health conditions that can affect the endocrine system. These include hyperthyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone; hypothyroidism, which happens when too little thyroid hormone is produced; Cushing syndrome, which occurs as the result of overly high cortisol levels; polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is caused by an imbalance of the reproductive hormones; and diabetes, which affects those with particularly high blood glucose levels.

Each of these conditions is associated with its own set of symptoms, which can affect one’s overall sense of wellbeing. If you are concerned, it is advisable that you consult with your doctor so that they can provide you with an accurate diagnosis. If necessary, you may be referred to a specialist who will be able to recommend a suitable treatment.

How can we help?

Associate Professor Navin Niles is an endocrine surgeon who specialises in thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and salivary gland surgery. If you have been diagnosed with a condition related to your endocrine system, or are struggling with symptoms associated with a hormonal imbalance, we encourage you to come in for a consultation. Associate Professor Navin Niles and his team offer a broad spectrum of care and provide individualised treatments for each patient.

If you would like to find out more about the procedures and services that Associate Professor Navin Niles offers, please have a look here.

To arrange a consultation with Associate Professor Niles, please contact us here or give us a call on (02) 9810 9839.