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Endocrine Diseases: What Ailments Affect the Endocrine System?

Endocrine Diseases: What Ailments Affect the Endocrine System?

Our endocrine system is responsible for the production of hormones, which help regulate our bodily processes. This is the reason why endocrine diseases can have different symptoms, depending on which organs are affected.

What are some common endocrine diseases?

Endocrine diseases are a serious matter, because the endocrine system plays such a big role in our bodies. It is important for patients to seek help if they might have endocrine disorders, because these can be detrimental to their health.

Here are some common endocrine diseases as well as some of the possible symptoms of each:

Thyroid problems

Thyroid problems are some of the most common types of endocrine diseases. The thyroid is a gland located at the front of the neck, and is responsible for our metabolic processes, as well as our growth and development.

It is also the organ in the endocrine system that usually suffers from endocrine disorders.

Thyroid problems can be serious, so it is important to seek medical help once you notice any symptoms or changes in your body. Endocrine diseases of the thyroid are treatable, and the prognosis is better the sooner they are detected.

Here are some problems that the thyroid can have:

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common problems of the thyroid gland. This means that the thyroid is underactive, and is not producing enough hormones. The symptoms can manifest as feeling sluggish, depression, weight gain, constipation, and irregular menstrual cycle in women.

Hyperthyroidism

In contrast with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid gland is hyperactive. Common symptoms include muscle weakness, trembling, sudden weight loss, irritability or anxiety, sweating too much, and tiredness or fatigue.

endocrine diseases

Goiter

A goiter is when the thyroid gland is enlarged abnormally. This can be seen as a large swelling or bump in a person’s throat or neck area.

Goiters are usually painless, but they can sometimes cause difficulty swallowing or pain in the throat.

This usually happens due to a lack of iodine in the diet, overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones, or thyroid nodules.

Cancer

The thyroid gland can also develop cancer. The symptoms can be similar to goiter, but in the case of cancer, the lump grows very quickly. This form of cancer is treatable and usually involves removing part or all of the thyroid gland.

Diabetes

You might be surprised to find out that diabetes is also an endocrine disease. This is because depending on the type of diabetes a person has, their pancreas might not be producing enough insulin or they have insulin resistance.

Our body uses insulin in order to process the sugar found in the food that we eat. If the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, then there will be a buildup of sugar in the bloodstream, which leads to the symptoms of diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes: All You Need To Know

Other endocrine diseases

Here are some other endocrine diseases that you need to know about:

Adrenal insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency, also called Addison Disease, is a disease wherein the adrenal glands produce too few hormones that the body needs.

The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include fatigue, low blood pressure, craving salt, depression, irritability, and muscle and joint pains.

Pituitary tumors

As the name suggests, pituitary tumors are tumors in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, found at the base of the brain, is responsible for growth and development, as well as regulating the function of other glands in the endocrine system.

The symptoms of these tumors include tiredness, vision problems, sudden headaches, erectile dysfunction, irritability, and sudden mood changes.

PCOS

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is also a type of endocrine disease in women. The most common symptoms of PCOS include an irregular menstrual cycle, infertility, acne, hair on face, and thinning hair.

The main cause of PCOS is high levels of androgen, which is a hormone, in the body. Having high levels of androgen affects a woman’s menstrual cycle, as well as cause cysts to develop in the ovaries.

Learn more about Diabetes here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Addison’s disease – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/addisons-disease/symptoms-causes/, Accessed March 25, 2021

Diseases & Conditions | Hormone Health Network, https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions, Accessed March 25, 2021

Types of Endocrine Disorders | UI Health, https://hospital.uillinois.edu/primary-and-specialty-care/diabetes-and-endocrinology/endocrine-disorders, Accessed March 25, 2021

Endocrine Disorders | Hormones | MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/endocrinediseases.html, Accessed March 25, 2021

Endocrine Disease Diagnosis and Treatment | Cedars-Sinai, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/endocrinology/diagnosis-treatment.html, Accessed March 25, 2021

Endocrine Diseases | NIDDK, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases, Accessed March 25, 2021

Types of Endocrine Disorders | Tampa General Hospital, https://www.tgh.org/services/diabetes-endocrinology/types-endocrine-disorders, Accessed March 25, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated May 19
Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, M.D.