When dealing with bodily health, one of the most essential aspects to consider is the endocrine system. Bodily hormones play a significant role when it comes to one’s well-being, and the endocrine system can ensure that everything runs smoothly or identify if there are some issues and other health complications.
While genetics play a major factor, it’s also important to note that you can greatly affect your own endocrine system with lifestyle habits. Adopting healthy habits for a robust endocrine system is essential to maintain long-term health; allowing your endocrine system to falter comes with serious consequences and risks.
Be aware of what the endocrine system is, what can happen of you don’t take care of yourself, and what you can do to decrease the chances of developing debilitating illnesses.
What Is the Endocrine System?
Before delving into what you can do to better it, you must understand what exactly the endocrine system is. In essence, the endocrine system is a collection of organs in the body that regulates the production and release of hormones.
The hormones can have many different bodily effects; some control your metabolism, while others control your energy levels throughout the day. Hormones affect just about every aspect of our daily lives, and it’s something that can cause a significant amount of issues if individuals are unaware of their hormone levels.
The Significance of the Endocrine System
With the basics out of the way, it’s time to drive home the importance of the endocrine system. As mentioned, bodily hormones can control your metabolism and energy levels, causing issues with the body in several ways if the organs produce either too much or too little. As an example, we’ll take the thyroid gland, located in the throat, to showcase what happens when one of the endocrine organs develops issues.
When functioning perfectly, the thyroid gland releases chemicals that control the metabolism. The metabolism, put simply, burns fat and energy to power the body; normally, it burns this fat at the same pace you consume food so that your weight doesn’t fluctuate wildly between days. But if your metabolism breaks down too quickly, it can result in hyperthyroidism, a condition that comes with several side effects, which include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Increased heartbeat
- Increased irritability
- Sensitivity to heat
But when your metabolism works slower than normal, that results in hypothyroidism; these symptoms are:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Weakness in the muscles
- Rapid weight gain
These hormones can significantly affect the body in ways that many people don’t expect. The thyroid only makes up one of several organs in the endocrine system, each one influencing different bodily functions.
The Organs Involved With the Endocrine System
The endocrine is not a single organ that controls everything; it is a collection of many, with each facet in charge of different hormones; sometimes, endocrine organs influence others in the system. We already mentioned the thyroid, which controls metabolism, but here are a few more important endocrine organs you should watch out for.
As one of the most important organs in the endocrine system, the pituitary gland controls several aspects of the body. It can affect the thyroid gland, sending signals to stimulate the thyroid, resulting in a greater production of hormones. The pituitary gland is also in charge of secreting growth hormones, leading to denser muscle and bone.
The chief job of the pineal gland is to ensure the production of melatonin, the chemical which makes individuals sleepy. Increased production results in sleepiness, while a lowered production can mean trouble getting the body to fall asleep.
The Testes and Ovaries
In men, the testes produce testosterone, secreting it into the bloodstream. This results in puberty for young boys and regulates fat distribution, bone and muscle mass, and libido. In females, their ovaries chiefly produce estrogen, the female sex hormone that is the counterpart to testosterone in men. Estrogen starts puberty in young girls and helps regulate cholesterol.
Healthy Habits You Should Adopt
While genetics control many bodily faculties, your lifestyle also plays a major role in it. Making different lifestyle choices can affect your endocrine system, for better and for worse. Keep some of these healthy habits for a robust endocrine system in mind to prevent any long-term illnesses.
What you eat can affect the hormones your body produces, and having a poor diet can exacerbate existing endocrine conditions. Make sure you have a balanced diet, getting all necessary nutrients and minerals. One thing people often neglect is getting enough protein in their diet.
Food also affects different people in different ways; what’s healthy for one person isn’t healthy for everyone. Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods, and never hesitate to cut them out of your diet if they negatively affect you.
Regular exercise, whether it be weightlifting, running, or stretching, can stimulate certain endocrine organs to better regulate hormones. Keeping an active lifestyle helps the body produce the necessary hormones to maintain muscle and bone density, as well as assist in cardiovascular health.
Schedule Regular Doctor Visits
Sometimes, you won’t be able to catch any abnormalities with your bodily hormones. You’ll need to visit a doctor who specializes in the endocrine system, who has the knowledge and tools necessary to identify developing issues and come up with a care plan for you moving forward.
Partnering with a medical professional will give you access to the knowledge you need to better take care of your body and ensure you maintain your long-term health. Don’t hesitate to share any relevant family medical history; this info can significantly inform your treatment plan and make diagnoses much simpler.
Don’t Wait To Get the Help You Need
If you suspect an issue with your endocrine system, or you have a family history of endocrine-related illnesses, don’t wait for problems to develop. It’s essential you find a medical professional now to help treat your conditions before they become worse. Dr. Philip Rabito is one such professional, an
endocrinologist in Manhattan with a history of successfully working with and treating patients.