Hormones control numerous essential body functions, including the chemical activity of cells, growth, the balance of salt and fluid, sexual development, and the response to illness or stress. The major endocrine glands are the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries, and in pregnant women, the placenta. Some cells in the pancreas called islet cells-are also an important part of the endocrine system.
Disorders of the endocrine glands can have wide-ranging effects throughout your body. A malfunctioning gland influences all of the parts of the body that are stimulated or controlled by the hormones which the gland secrete.
This article deals with providing awareness regarding disorders of the endocrine system- see how an excess or deficiency of hormone can cause effect on your physical well-being.
|failure of growth, often linked with failure of sexual maturity
|Administration of growth hormone. (This is in very short supply.)
|Excessive growth in childhood leading to very long limbs (gigantism). In adults causes excess growth in skull, feet and hands, enlargement of larynx, deepening of voice, thickening of skin (acromegaly)
|Treatment of gland by radiotherapy, or removal of part of gland (the other pituitary hormones may then need to be replaced)
|Periods stop, breasts may produce milk and be tender, infertility
|Tablet treatment to reduce production
|Too little (or kidneys fail to respond to hormone produced)
|Production of large quantities of very dilute urine (diabetes Insipidus)
|Synthetically produced hormone usually given as a nasal spray. Hormone then absorbed into blood
|Weight loss, large appetite, excess body heat, periods may stop in women. One form, (Graves’ disease) also causes ‘popping’ eyes
|Anti-thyroid drugs; radioactive iodine by mouth to destroy cells that are over-producing; surgery to remove part of gland
|Loss of appetite, but overweight and general body swelling. Lassitude, constipation. In infants produces condition called cretinism, associated with failure of physical and mental development.
|Replacement of missing hormones at carefully-controlled doses needed for life. Screening of newborn infants for cretinism is imperative, So the problem can be dealt with as early as possible.
|Too much (usually due to tumour)
|Passing a great deal of urine, indigestion, kidney stones, feeling of malaise.
|removal of tumour
|Muscular spasms, convulsion, lassitude, mental disturbance
|Administration of vitamin D tablets mimics the action of the missing hormone
|Hormones ofadrenal cortex
(e.g. aldosterone, cortisol)
|Muscle wasting and weakness, leading to thin limbs but obese trunk. Fragile bones and blood vessels leading to purple stretch marks on skin Diabetes, high blood pressure (Cushing’s syndrome)
|Drug treatment to block cortisone production. Where only one adrenal gland is involved as a result of a tumour in the pituitary or elsewhere
|Hormones ofadrenal cortex
|Faintness, nausea, loss of weight, low blood sugar, increased pigmentation on skin (Addison’s disease)
|Cortisone tablets administration for life at carefully-controlled dosage
|Episodes of palpitation, fright, raised blood pressure, fast pulse, leading to permanently raised blood pressure, pale face or occasional flushing.
|Removal of adrenalin-secreting tumour (usually found in the adrenal medulla)
|High blood sugar which may lead to loss of weight, thirst and passing large quantities or urine (diabetes mellitus)
|Diet is the cornerstone of treatment, with reduction in the amount of sugar. This may be supplemented by anti-diabetic tablets or insulin injections.
|Male sex hormones
|Failure of growth and sexual development , in adulthood, impotence and infertility.
|Replacement of missing hormones by monthly injections
|Female sex hormones
|Failure of growth and sexual development, menstrual periods do not start. Later in life, menopause (a normal event) due to reduced hormone levels
|Replacement of hormones by tablets
Remember – Information provided in this article is to be used for educational purposes & not as a treatment or prescription.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.