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Endocrine glands


Endocrine glands release (secrete) hormones into the bloodstream.

The endocrine glands include:

  • Adrenal
  • Hypothalamus
  • Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas
  • Ovaries
  • Parathyroid
  • Pineal
  • Pituitary
  • Testes
  • Thyroid

Hypersecretion is when too many hormones are secreted from a gland. Hyposecretion is when too few hormones are released.

There are many types of disorders that can result when too much or too little of a hormone is released.

Disorders that may result when a particular gland does not produce the right amount of hormones include:


  • Addison disease
  • Adrenogenital syndrome or adrenocortical hyperplasia
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Pheochromocytoma


  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia


  • Tetany
  • Renal calculi
  • Excessive loss of minerals from bone


  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Acromegaly
  • Diabetes
  • Gigantism
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Cushing Disease

Testes and ovaries:

  • Lack of sex development (unclear genitalia)


  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • Myxedema
  • Goiter
  • Thyrotoxicosis



Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Larsen PR, Polonsky KS. Principles of endocrinology. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 1.

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            Review Date: 5/18/2015

            Reviewed By: Robert Hurd, MD, Professor of Endocrinology and Health Care Ethics, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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