All the organs in the Endocrine System are glands. They are unique from other glands, because they release chemicals known as hormones into general circulation. Other glands discharge their secretion into ducts to a particular place. These glands are called exocrine. The organs of the endocrine system are located in widely separated parts of the body: in the cranial cavity, in the neck, in the thoracic cavity, in the abdominal cavity, in the pelvic cavity, and outside the body cavities. The hormones they release are important to body functions. They regulate basic drives and emotions, such as sexual urges, violence, anger, fear, joy, and sorrow. They also promote growth and sexual identity, control body temperature, assist in the repair of broken tissue, and help to generate energy.

The Genitourinary System includes the urinary and reproductive organs. Because these organs are located in the same area of the body, and share some functions, they often are treated together. The urinary system of both male and female are essentially the same, with the notable exception that the urethra, in the male, continues out through the penis, while, in the female, it opens into the vagina. The reproductive systems of the male and female are each geared toward fulfilling specific roles. The male's is designed to generate sperm cells containing half of the genetic material necessary for the development of a baby and deliver that material to the female's system. The female's reproductive system is designed to generate an ovum, or egg, which carries the other half of the genetic material, to be fertilized by the sperm cells from the male. The female's reproductive tract is also designed to support the gestating fetus until it is born, approximately nine months after fertilization.

Today, more and more people are concerned with their health and fitness. Participation in sports and exercises, concerns about diet and nutrition, and considerations of the household products used to maintain health are expanding. Because all of these are related to the anatomy and its processes in some way, it is worthwhile to be familiar with common illnesses, health care products, nutrition, and exercise.

The processes of life are wondrous, indeed. Though much has been learned about the technical intricacies of pregnancy and childbirth, for example, the notion of life itself is still overwhelming. On our planet, over five billion people are engaged in the day-to-day occupations of life, from conception to death. In spite of this dramatically large number of people, each person is unique, a notion which, in itself, is cause for reflection.


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