Endocrine Diseases

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Overview

The endocrine system is a system of glands and hormones that play an important role in many functions of the body. Disorders of the endocrine system can lead to the following diseases and syndromes:

  • Thyroid diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Growth disorders
  • Sexual disorders
  • Addison’s disease

Causes

The cause of endocrine diseases is either overproduction or underproduction of the endocrine hormones, produced by endocrine glands. It happens either because of genetic predisposition, or some environmental factors.

  • Thyroid diseases – Overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones
  • Diabetes – Underproduction of insulin
  • Cushing’s syndrome – Overproduction of cortisol
  • Growth disorders – Overproduction or underproduction of growth hormone
  • Sexual disorders – Underproduction of Gonadotrophin hormone
  • Addison’s disease – Underproduction of Cortisol and Aldosterone

Symptoms

The symptoms are different with each specific disorder. Some of the following symptoms are experienced:

  • Thyroid diseases – problems in heart rate, problems in bowel movement, weight changes
  • Diabetes – increased appetite, increased urination, increased thirst
  • Cushing’s syndrome – weight gain especially on the belly,
  • Growth disorders – abnormally large or abnormally small body stature, mental retardation
  • Sexual problems – under developed testes or ovaries, undeveloped secondary sexual characteristics, infertility
  • Addison’s disease – fatigue, stomach problems, skin pigmentations, dehydration

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of endocrine disease is made mostly on the basis of history and examination, and it is confirmed by testing the levels of the hormones in the blood.

Treatment

Treatment depends on what the underlying cause is. The main aim of treatment is to bring the hormones to normal levels.

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