The endocrine system is a network of glands of the body, which are responsible for producing and releasing hormones. Hormones are chemicals which help to distribute messages throughout the body. They travel through the blood and are distributed to different organs and tissues. Hormones are very important, they help to regulate: growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood. If the hormones are unbalanced or not functioning properly, any of these processes may be affected. If hormone levels are deficient or in excess, this may be an indication of an endocrine disorder. There are a number of factors that may affect hormone balance, some of which include, stress, infection, fluid and electrolyte balance. There are many types of endocrine disorders, however some of the most common ones seen in the United States include: diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism.