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Put simply, hormones are the bodyís chemical messengers that relay a signal from cell to cell. Endocrine glands produce and release these hormones into the bloodstream, where they will travel and bind with a specific receptor, to reproduce or to trigger the production of proteins. This article will further discuss about the different hormones in the endocrine system, their significance, and the function of hormones in the body.
Types of Hormones
To understand the function of hormones in the body, you need to be familiarized with the different types of hormones in the endocrine system. The most important ones are highlighted here. The first one is vasopressin, a hormone created by the hypothalamus. This type of hormone is responsible for the maintenance of blood pressure and electrolyte balance. Growth hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland, stimulates cell reproduction for bone and muscle mass. Insulin, a hormone created by the pancreas, is responsible for keeping blood glucose level normal. Reproductive hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone help control sexual functions and conception.
How Hormones Function
The function of hormones in the body is mainly to serve as chemical messengers. The brain receives a message from the nerves, interprets it, and transmits the message to a specific endocrine gland. In response, the endocrine gland releases one or more hormones to bind with a specific cell. Understand that while there are billions of cells in the body, the hormone locks in only with the target cell in order to produce the desired response. Hormone production decreases as people age, which in turn will affect bodily functions. For example, when a woman reaches the age of 40-50, she will undergo a phase called menopause which decreases the production of estrogen.
The Importance of Hormones
The function of hormones in the body is inarguably very important; even the slightest change in how a hormone works could impact the entire body. In order to perform all the necessary processes normally, such as growth, development, metabolism, movement, and reproduction, hormones are needed. If there is too much or too little of a certain hormone, a personís health and wellbeing could be affected. In an effort to maintain hormonal balance, people with deficiencies or excessiveness take medications, hormonal replacement therapy, natural remedies, and even undergo surgery. Those are good treatment options, but in as much as possible, simply avoid the problem before it happens.
The Effects of Too Much or Too Little Hormones
The function of hormones in the body can best be appreciated by citing the consequences of hormonal imbalance. When there is overproduction of vasopressin, this will lead to lowered sodium levels; while underproduction of this hormone could cause excessive sodium levels, a condition that could cause mental disorientation and coma. Too much growth hormones could cause acromegaly and gigantism, and too little of it could result to stunted growth and abnormal physical development. Too much insulin could cause hypoglycemia, which can be fatal, and too little of it leads to diabetes. Lastly, an imbalance in the reproductive hormones can lead to lack of sexual drive and even infertility.