The endocrine system entails a collection of different glands that are responsible for the production of hormones for the normal functioning of the body. Hormones are very crucial in the body and may perform functions not restricted to regulation of metabolism, reproduction, sleep, growth and development, mood changes, tissues functionality, and sexual function among others (Kholadava & Bourko, 2014). The endocrine system is therefore made up of pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal gland, testes in males, and ovaries in female. This system may be affected by age of a person as well as the physiological condition of an individual. Also, endocrine system may result to some common disorders as will be seen hereinafter.
How age affects Endocrine System
There is a significant changes that occur in Endocrine System from birth all the way to adulthood. Due to changes in size and the functionality of organs comprising Endocrine System, the level of hormones will vary depending on the stage of development. As we grow, there is usually a natural changes that affect how body system are controlled. Different tissues may become less sensitive as the amount of hormones produced changes. Increase in age will reduce the rate of metabolism; this is because, the amount of hormones produced by the body as one age will reduce or may be produced at a slower rate hence reducing hormones metabolism (Kholadava & Bourko, 2014).
As we age, pituitary gland grows to its maximum size at middle age and becomes smaller afterwards. It is evidenced that as the size of these gland reduces, the hormone production also reduces affecting other normal functionality of aged individuals. Such factors of age include growth, thyroid gland, adrenal cortex, testes, ovaries, and breasts (OTSUKA, 2010). As one progresses to adulthood, thyroid gland in the Endocrine System become lumpy thus slowing the rate of metabolism. Conversely, the level of thyroid hormone produced in the thyroid gland may increase in other people as they age resulting to increased risk of death. In addition, insulin hormone produced in the pancreas helps in regulation of blood sugar, at the age above 50 years, the body cells become less sensitive to the effect of insulin. Aging factor reduces the release of ova as well as sperms that may result to low level of testosterone in men and menopause in women.
The hormones produced by the endocrine system are very important aspect in the normal life of an individual. Endocrine system is made up of organs that describes its physiology, these organs produces different hormones that have specific functionality in the body. These organs include pituitary gland, the thyroid, the parathyroid gland, the thymus gland, adrenal gland, gonads, and pancrease. Pituitary glands secretes growth hormones in its anterior lobe that controls the bones and muscles affecting the overall size of a person (Potter, 1999). In addition, vasopressin and oxytocin hormones produced by pituitary glands are have important functionality in the body. The thyroid gland secretes thyroxine hormone that controls general metabolism in the body. Parathyroid glands secretes parathormone that regulates calcium level in the blood. Thymus gland located in lower part of the neck, its secretion facilitates the development of sex organs. On the other hand, sex glands secretes different hormones in both male and female that is beneficial in the development of secondary characteristics. Islets of Langerhans found in the pancreas secretes insulin that is responsible in the regulation of blood sugar (Potter, 1999).
Normal function of Endocrine system
The main function of Endocrine System is to facilitate the secretion of hormones in the bloodstream. These chemical substances affect their target sites to trigger a change to control and coordinate activities in the body. Hormones functions by binding receptors at the target sites and transmits a message to evoke target sites to take a specific action. Hormones are found everywhere in the body performing different functions to facilitate the normal functionality of the body such as development, reproduction, and sexual characteristics (Walters, 1992). Hormones are selective in nature such that each type influences only certain organs and tissues. For example, thyroid hormone secreted in pituitary affect only the thyroid gland.
Endocrine system may experience different disorders depending on the site at which it occurs. Adrenal gland disorder results when there is insufficient production of cortisol or aldosterone responsible for the regulation of sodium, potassium, and water. Such deficiency in the body can be accompanied by Addisons diseases and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. When these diseases are not treated in time, they may result in abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, muscles weakness and fatigue (Walters, 1992). In addition, adrenal crisis can also be manifested due to insufficient cortisol in the body. Parathyroid gland disorders is among other disorders of the endocrine system. These type of disorder is divided into hyperparathyroidism and hyperparathyroidism. Hyperparathyroidism results from excessive secretion of parathyroid hormone to bring about the response in low blood calcium levels. On the other hand hyperparathyroidism is brought by decrease in functionality of parathyroid gland leading to underproduction of parathyroid hormone (Potter, 1999).
Also, congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a disorder of Endocrine system. This disorder is caused by autosomal recessive diseases of mutated genes for enzyme responsible for the secretion of cortisol from cholesterol. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) makes girls to be masculinized due to the large production of androgen. CAH can be treated by supplying enough, glucocorticoid that reduces overproduction of androgens. Mineralocorticoid can also be replaced when there is deficiency of salt in the body. Additional treatment of delaying puberty as well as replacement of secondary sexual characteristics hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen is necessary (Potter, 1999).
Pathophysiology of diseases associated with each system
Different Pathophysiology diseases may associate the endocrine system. Too high or too low level of hormone production indicates a defect in endocrine system. Also, when the body does not respond to the hormones produced, a problem may occur. In addition, infection, stress, and mood changes can affect hormone secretion. Diabetes is one of the defect that accompanies endocrine system. The influence of insulin secretion in the body result to diabetes. In addition, overproduction of thyroxine hormone by thyroid gland in the neck results to goiter in adult and cretinism in children patients. Not to forget, cancerous and benign tumors can also associate endocrine system. These diseases are treated by ensuring that the correct hormone is made available to the body through taking precaution effectively.
Kholadava, A., & Bourko, I. (2014). Teaching system of self-control in endocrinology. Endocrine Abstracts. doi:10.1530/endoabs.35.p485
OTSUKA, F. (2010). Multiple Endocrine Regulation by Bone Morphogenetic Protein System. Endocrine Journal, 57(1), 3-14. doi:10.1507/endocrj.k09e-310
Potter, E. (1999). The Cadherin-Catenin System: Implications for Growth and Differentiation of Endocrine Tissues. Endocrine Reviews, 20(2), 207-239. doi:10.1210/er.20.2.207
Walters, M. (1992). Newly identified actions of the vitamin D endocrine system. Endocrine Reviews, 13(4), 719-764. doi:10.1210/er.13.4.719
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