What are Endocrine Disorders?
The endocrine system is a critical regulatory system within the body. The endocrine system produces and uses hormones to regulate the body and all of its functions. Hormones are chemical messages or signals that are sent out or secreted throughout the bloodstream. It is our hormones that help regulate these critical processes in the body, such as breathing, eating and growing. Endocrine disorders are diseases that affect the endocrine system and the glands of the body it regulates. Endocrinology is the branch of medicine that is associated with endocrine disorders.
To better understand just what can go wrong with the endocrine system, one is better served by an introduction to the glands.
The Glands of the Endocrine System
The endocrine system is made up of:
- the pituitary gland
- thyroid gland
- parathyroid glands
- adrenal glands
- ovaries (in females)
- testicles (in males)
In general, a gland has the job of selecting and removing particular materials from the blood. It processes them; then it secretes the finished product within the body for its best and ultimate purpose. Hormones circulate throughout the body., yet each type of hormone has a specific target – individual organs and tissues for which it is responsible. The endocrine system receives help from organs too., such as the kidney, liver, heart and the gonads, all which have secondary endocrine functions.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
De Quervain’s Thyroiditis
Follicular Thyroid Cancer
Growth Hormone Deficiency
Hurthle Cell Thyroid Cancer
Medullary Thyroid Cancer
Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Diseases of the endocrine system
Hormones are supposed to be balanced. When hormone levels are too high or too low., it usually indicates a problem within the endocrine system. The disease occurs when a person’s body loses the capability to respond as it should to hormonal communication. Hormone imbalances have impact throughout the body in different areas. For women it can even affect the reproductive system.
The Pituitary Gland is often referred to as “The Master Gland” for it controls the function of most of the other endocrine glands.
Pituitary disorders are usually diagnosed with hormone tests. If any abnormalities have detected a brain, MRI may be requested for diagnoses.
Signs and Symptoms that could indicate a pituitary tumour:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Severe vision problems
- Irregular menstruation
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Examples of pituitary gland diseases are:
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Hypogonadism (low sex hormone levels)
The Thyroid Gland
Health issues can represent themselves symptomatically because of the over or under functioning of the thyroid gland. Essential in the production of thyroid hormones and the maintenance of the body metabolism, thyroid disease can often lead to the enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck.
Symptoms and signs of thyroid disease
- Mental fog
- Weight gain
- Menstrual fluctuations
- Racing heartbeat
- Aches and pains:
- High cholesterol
- Heat intolerance or feeling cold
Examples of thyroid gland diseases are:
- Thyroid Nodules
- Graves Disease
The Adrenal Gland
Getting a diagnosis for an adrenal disease requires assistance from a qualified endocrinologist, to determine whether the functionality of the adrenal gland is amiss. Hormones that are produced by the adrenal gland are measured in the blood, the urine and the saliva.
Signs and symptoms of Adrenal Disease
- vague abdominal pain
- nausea and vomiting
- low blood pressure
Examples of adrenal gland diseases are:
- Addisons Disease
- Cushings Syndrome
- Adrenal Fatigue
The Parathyroid Gland
When there is a disease in the parathyroid gland, it has the potential to decrease the life expectancy in all patients by up to 6 years if the tumour present is not removed abruptly.
Signs and symptoms of Parathyroid Disease
With parathyroid disease, it is definitely apparent that something is not right with the patient’s health. Symptoms are typically very noteable and removal of the tumour makes a huge difference in how the patient feels.
- Memory loss
- Kidney stones
- Lack of Energy
- Feelings of being unwell
- Little to no sex drive
- Hair thinning
- High Blood Pressure
- High liver function tests
- Abnormal blood protein tests
Examples of parathyroid gland diseases are:
Clinical Studies / Research:
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