In physiology, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. The endocrine system is in contrast to the exocrine system, which secretes its chemicals using ducts. It derives from the Greek words endo meaning inside, within, and crinis for secrete. The endocrine system is an information signal system like the nervous system, yet its effects and mechanism are classifiably different. The endocrine system's effects are slow to initiate, and prolonged in their response, lasting for hours to weeks. The nervous system sends information very quickly, and responses are generally short lived. Hormones are substances (chemical mediators) released from endocrine tissue into the bloodstream where they travel to target tissue and generate a response. Hormones regulate various human functions, including Metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, and mood. The field of study dealing with the endocrine system and its disorders is endocrinology, a branch of internal medicine.
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