What is the Pituitary Gland?

The pituitary gland is part of the endocrine system of the body, so let us start with that. The endocrine system consists of glands located in various parts of the body. These glands produce active chemical substances called “hormones”.

These glands send their secretions directly into the blood stream to be distributed through out the body. The endocrine system as a whole involved with “regulating” many things that happen in the body.

And the pituitary gland, which is part of this system, controls many of the functions of the body. In fact, it is the most important part of the body in regulating growth, the production of milk, and in controlling all other endocrine glands.

A trully amazing thing about this vital gland is that it is about the size of pea and weighs about the same! It is joined to the undersurface of the brain and is protected by a bony structure.

Even though the pituitary is such a small gland, it is divided into two distinct parts called “lobes” the anterior lobe and the posterior lobe. And into the the posterior lobe, which is the smaller of the two, go more than 50,000 nerve fibers connecting it with various parts of the body! The pituitary gland controls growth in children by acting on another gland, the thyroid.

The pituitary also controls the sexual development of a person. And it regulates the metabolism of the body, which has to do with the transforming of food into various  forms of energy.

It is also involved with certain muscles, the kidneys, and other organs tumors that may grow on this gland can make it overactive or underactive. And one result of this activity can be to make people grow to giants or develop so poorly that they will dwarfs.

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