Endocrine disorders

The endocrine system is comprised of eight major glands — the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pineal body, the reproductive glands (ovaries and testes) and the pancreas.  These glands make hormones.  Hormones are chemical messengers that transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another.  Although many different hormones circulate throughout the bloodstream, each one affects only the cells that are genetically programmed to receive and respond to its message.  Hormones work slowly and affect body processes from head to toe. These include growth and development, metabolism (digestion, elimination, breathing, blood circulation and maintaining body temperature), sexual function, reproduction and mood.

If your hormone levels are too high or too low, you may have a hormone disorder. Hormone diseases can also occur if the body does not respond to hormones the way it is supposed to.  Stress, infection and changes in the blood's fluid and electrolyte balance can also influence hormone levels.

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