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Hormones

While coordination by the nervous system produces an immediate response, a different kind of coordination is brought about by the endocrine system. This system depends on chemicals called hormones, which are released from special glands called endocrine glands, into the bloodstream. The hormones circulate round the body in the blood and eventually reach certain organs called target organs. Hormones speed up or slow down or alter the activity of those organs in some way. After being secreted, hormones do not remain permanently in the blood but are changed by the liver into inactive compounds and excreted by the kidneys. Serious deficiencies or excesses of hormones production give rise to illnesses.
Most of the pancreas cells produce digestive enzymes but some of them produce hormones. The hormone producing cells are arranged in small groups called islets and secrete their hormones directly into the bloodstream. One of the hormones is called glucagons and the other is insulin.
If the concentration of blood sugar increases (e.g. after a meal), insulin is released from the islet cells. When the insulin reaches the liver it stimulates the liver cells to remove glucose from the blood and store it as glycogen. When the level of blood sugar falls, no insulin is secreted allowing the level to return to normal. If anything goes wrong with the production or function of insulin, the person will show the symptoms of diabetes.
Two forms of diabetes are recognized, juvenile-onset and adult-onset diabetes. In both forms of diabetes, the patient is unable to regulate the level of glucose in the blood. It may rise to such a high level that it is excreted in the urine or fall so low that the brain cells cannot work properly and the person goes into a coma. All diabetics need a carefully regulated diet to reduce the intake of carbohydrates and keep the blood sugar within reasonable limits

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