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Endocrine glands, their role in the human body and related diseases

Study guide

The body’s endocrine system consists of a network of organs and endocrine glands located throughout the body. This system, like the neural network, plays an important role in regulating the function of your body. The endocrine glands use hormones to affect the body and are involved in the proper functioning of almost every cell and organ. If the body’s endocrine glands are not healthy, a person may experience complications during puberty, pregnancy, and anxiety. He may also easily gain weight, weaken his bones, or become weak and tired. Join us to learn more about these glands and their function.

What are the functions of the endocrine glands?

The endocrine system is responsible for regulating a wide range of body functions, and this is done by secreting hormones. Hormones secreted by the endocrine glands travel through the bloodstream to various tissues and organs. These glands regulate the following functions:

  • Metabolism;
  • Growth;
  • Sexual and reproductive functions;
  • heart beat;
  • Appetite;
  • Sleep and wake cycle;
  • Body temperature.

What are endocrine glands?

In the body’s endocrine network, many glands are connected. These glands are actually organs that secrete hormones. Hormones are made, stored and secreted in the endocrine system. In the following, we have introduced the important endocrine glands of the body.

1. Hypothalamic gland

The hypothalamus gland secretes many hormones that are responsible for controlling the function of the pituitary gland. It is also responsible for regulating other functions such as the sleep-wake cycle, body temperature and appetite. This gland plays an important role in controlling the function of other endocrine glands and connects the nervous system to the hormonal system.

۲. Pituitary gland

The pituitary gland is located below the hypothalamus. This gland is the director of the endocrine system and, with the information it receives from the brain, commands other glands in the body. The pituitary gland secretes important hormones, for example:

  • Growth Hormone;
  • Prolactin, which causes milk production in breastfeeding mothers;
  • An antidiuretic hormone that controls blood pressure and balances body water by acting on the kidneys;
  • ACTH hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands;
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone;
  • Oxytocin, which is involved in uterine contractions;
  • Sex hormones LH and FSH.

3. Pineal gland

This small gland in the brain secretes the hormone melatonin, which prepares the body for sleep.

4. thyroid gland

This gland produces thyroid hormone, which is responsible for the growth and metabolism of your body. If the thyroid gland is underactive and does not secrete enough hormones, all bodily functions slow down; The heart rate slows down, the person may become constipated or overweight.

If this gland secretes too much hormone and becomes overworked, everything speeds up; Heart rate rises and the risk of diarrhea increases. You may also lose weight.

The thyroid gland secretes the hormone calcitonin, which increases bone strength by increasing calcium absorption.

5. Parathyroid glands

The parathyroid gland consists of 4 small glands behind the thyroid gland. These endocrine glands play an important role in bone health and regulate blood calcium and phosphate levels.

6. Thymus gland

This gland makes white blood cells called T lymphocytes, which fight infections and play a key role in the development of children’s immune systems. The thymus gland begins to shrink after puberty.

7. Adrenal glands

The most well-known hormone of these glands is adrenaline or epinephrine, which is released during arousal. These two glands produce hormones called corticosteroids that affect metabolism, heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood flow, sexual function, and so on.

8. Pancreas or pancreas

This organ is both part of the digestive system and part of the endocrine system. The pancreas makes digestive enzymes that break down food. It also produces the hormones insulin and glucagon. These hormones regulate the amount of sugar in the bloodstream and in your cells.

If insulin is not made in the body, a person will develop type 1 diabetes. In this case, blood sugar rises dangerously. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but not enough to trigger a response in the cells.

9. Ovaries

In women, these organs produce estrogen and progesterone. These hormones stimulate breast growth during puberty, regulate menstruation, and prepare the body for pregnancy.

10. Testicles

In men, these glands secrete the hormone testosterone. This hormone promotes the growth of facial and body hair during puberty and is also involved in sperm production.

What are the common causes of endocrine disease?

Endocrine disorders occur for a variety of reasons, depending on the patient’s condition, such as acromegaly or Cushing’s syndrome, usually due to a tumor in the adrenal gland or pituitary gland. These tumors are not usually cancerous, but must be removed to treat complications.

Some complications are due to hormonal disorders, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, depending on the amount of thyroid hormone secreted by the thyroid gland, which can be more or less active. High levels of androgens in women can also cause polycystic ovary syndrome.

In some cases, endocrine disorders are caused by autoimmune diseases. For example, type 1 diabetes develops when immune system cells invade insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Types of endocrine diseases

Sometimes the levels of endocrine hormones can be very high or very low. In this case, they can have side effects on your health. The signs and symptoms of this condition depend on the hormone. The following complications are some of the endocrine diseases and their hormones.

1. Hyperthyroidism

Ultrasound of the thyroid gland

Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much hormone. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including autoimmune diseases. Some common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Weakness;
  • Anxiety;
  • Weight Loss;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Heat intolerance;
  • Fast heart rate;
  • sleep disorder.

Treatment of this complication depends on the severity of the disease and the underlying cause. Treatment is usually with medication or surgery. Graves’ disease is one of the most common autoimmune disorders that can cause hyperthyroidism. In infected people, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and causes an overproduction of thyroid hormone.

۲. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when your body does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Like hyperthyroidism, this complication can have many causes. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • fatigue;
  • Weight Gain;
  • Constipation;
  • Cold tolerance;
  • Dry skin and hair;
  • Low heart rate;
  • Irregular menstruation;
  • Fertility disorder.

3. Cushing syndrome

This syndrome is caused by a large amount of the hormone cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands due to anxiety and discomfort. Some common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  • Weight Gain;
  • Removal of fat from the face, middle of the body or shoulders;
  • Skin cracks, especially in the arms, thighs and abdomen;
  • Slow healing of wounds, scratches and insect bites;
  • Thin skin that bruises easily;
  • Irregular menstruation;
  • Decreased fertility and libido in men.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause and can be done with medication, radiation or surgery.

4. Addison’s disease

It occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol or aldosterone. Some of the symptoms of Addison’s disease include:

  • fatigue;
  • Weight Loss;
  • stomach ache;
  • Low blood sugar;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Irritability;
  • Craving for salt or salty foods;
  • Irregular menstruation.

To treat this condition, you need to take medications that help replace hormones that are not secreted.

5. Diabetes

The role of the endocrine system in diabetes

The blood sugar level of a person with diabetes is not regulated properly. People with diabetes have high blood sugar and may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Some common symptoms of diabetes:

  • fatigue;
  • Weight Loss;
  • Increased hunger or thirst;
  • Irritability;
  • Recurrent infections.

Treatment for diabetes includes blood sugar management, insulin use, and other medications. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and a healthy diet can also be helpful.

6. Polycystic ovary syndrome

If the sex hormones are not balanced, the ovaries may not release an egg cell during ovulation. This can cause menstrual irregularities and can also cause acne or facial hair growth.

7. Acromegaly

Acromegaly occurs when the body produces too much growth hormone. This can cause abnormal growth of bones, organs or tissues in the body and cause the following complications:

  • Swollen arms and legs;
  • Growth of facial components;
  • Bone changes such as protruding jaw;
  • Thick and dry skin;
  • Sweating and body odor;
  • Sound thickening.

Acromegaly can be treated with medication or radiation to reduce the size of the tumor that caused it.

Diagnosis of endocrine diseases

Endocrine disorders cause a variety of symptoms, and many of these symptoms overlap with the symptoms of other diseases. This makes it difficult to diagnose endocrine diseases and requires tools and tests; For example, your doctor may recommend these tests to diagnose endocrine complications:

  • urine test;
  • Imaging such as MRI;
  • Genetic tests;
  • Hormonal tests;
  • blood test.

Concluding remarks

Endocrine diseases are complications that occur in the body’s endocrine system. This complex system is responsible for producing and secreting various hormones throughout the body. Decreasing or increasing these hormones can have serious effects on your health. It is important to see your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms and to try to diagnose endocrine disorders.

Warning! This article is for educational purposes only and you need to consult your doctor or specialist to use it. more information






Endocrine glands, their role in the human body and related diseases

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