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Your endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate your body's growth, metabolism, and sexual development and function. The hormones are released into the bloodstream and transported to tissues and organs throughout your body. The Table below the illustration describes the function of these glands.

Parts of the endocrine system

Glossary

Adrenal glands
Divided into 2 regions; secrete hormones that influence the body's metabolism, blood chemicals, and body characteristics, as well as influence the part of the nervous system that is involved in the response and defense against stress.

Hypothalamus
Activates and controls the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary body functions, the hormonal system, and many body functions, such as regulating sleep and stimulating appetite.

Ovaries and testicles
Secrete hormones that influence female and male characteristics, respectively.

Pancreas
Secretes a hormone (insulin) that controls the use of glucose by the body.

Parathyroid glands
Secrete a hormone that maintains the calcium level in the blood.

Pineal body
Involved with daily biological cycles.

Pituitary gland
Produces a number of different hormones that influence various other endocrine glands.

Thymus gland
Plays a role in the body's immune system.

Thyroid gland
Produces hormones that stimulate body heat production, bone growth, and the body's metabolism.

Source: AMA's Current Procedural Terminology, Revised 1998 Edition. CPT is a trademark of the American Medical Association.