Today we talk about the endocrine system as a part of the ASVAB science test. The endocrine system has many important functions. Here, we outline the fundamental facts you need to know!
The endocrine system is a complex body system. Of course, you are not expected to know intimate details of this system.
Instead, you are expected to have a rounded knowledge of what the system is, how it works, and how it interacts with other body systems. We have already explored many other body systems elsewhere (see links below).
As part of the ASVAB biology test, you should be able to appreciate the role that each body system plays. The more relevance you find in ASVAB biology, and how it relates to your future career in the military, the more interested you will be about studying the human body and how it works.
Let’s get started.
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Check back to our ASVAB test blog soon as we continue to add even more great content on each of these subject areas.
Now, though, let’s very quickly review the essential facts about the endocrine system you need to know.
The endocrine system is one of the most fascinating topics of ASVAB biology.
Put simply, the endocrine system is that part of the body concerned with hormones and how these hormones impact body systems. In this way, the endocrine system interacts with many other body systems.
For example, the endocrine system is involved in the regulation of processes such as:
- Tissue function and development
- Sexual function
- Sleep and wakefulness
As you can see, this is quite a broad system of effects. The purpose of the endocrine system is clear – to maintain homeostasis – the word used to describe the steady-state of conditions in the human body.
Hormones are chemicals produced by endocrine glands; important chemicals that influence many important processes. Examples include:
- Insulin – responsible for blood sugar regulation. Produced by the pancreas (specifically, islets of Langerhans in the pancreas).
- Testosterone – responsible for male sex characteristics
- Estrogen – responsible for female sex characteristics
- Thyroid hormone – responsible in part for maintaining metabolism. Produced by the thyroid gland.
- Cortisol – responsible for stress response
- Epinephrine (adrenaline) – responsible for fight-or-flight response.
We know that when people are deficient in a hormone, that it can lead to disease. When insulin stops working as it should, it leads to an imbalance of glucose regulation – what manifests is type 2 diabetes.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the key drivers of type 2 diabetes development. Patients with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
Epinephrine is an important hormone in the context of the military.
No doubt, you will experience unexpected, dangerous circumstances. Out of the blue, your body prepares by increasing breathing, heart rate and concentration. Sensation becomes amplified – all with the intent of defending your body against any potential threat, even if that threat is unseen.
Of course, there are evolutionary reasons for this response.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, if you heard a noise from a bush, it may well be a predator. Perhaps it isn’t. What we know is that people who were sufficiently paranoid about that noise and ‘escaped’ were more likely to reproduce. After all, if most people remained and a tiger was behind the noise, they would be killed and have no opportunity to reproduce.
Anticipating danger means that, more often than not, you will be wrong. But what matters is the one time you are correct about a prospective threat. That’s where the fight-or-flight response originates from and it’s no less important today than it was when it was first conceived.
In the context of the military, the fight-or-flight response – and how the body responds to danger – has added gravity.
Biology is just one part of the ASVAB general science test. Nonetheless, it’s an important topic and something you must have a thorough knowledge of – shallow and broad, but not deep.
Here, we’ve only covered the fundamental facts about the endocrine system. If you’d like to learn more about the ASVAB general science test and, importantly, to test your knowledge of ASVAB biology – take a few seconds to register with ASVAB Test Guide.
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