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Anatomy of the Endocrine System
The hypothalamus is a part of the brain located superior and anterior to the brain stem and inferior to the thalamus. It serves many different functions in the nervous system, and is also responsible for the direct control of the endocrine system through the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus contains special cells called neurosecretory cells—neurons that secrete hormones:
- Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)
- Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)
- Growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GHIH)
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
- Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)
- Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)
All of the releasing and inhibiting hormones affect the function of the anterior pituitary gland. TRH stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone. GHRH and GHIH work to regulate the release of growth hormone—GHRH stimulates growth hormone release, GHIH inhibits its release. GnRH stimulates the release of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone while CRH stimulates the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone. The last two hormones—oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone—are produced by the hypothalamus and transported to the posterior pituitary, where they are stored and later released.
The pituitary gland, also known as the hypophysis, is a small pea-sized lump of tissue connected to the inferior portion of the hypothalamus of the brain. Many blood vessels surround the pituitary gland to carry the hormones it releases throughout the body. Situated in a small depression in the sphenoid bone called the sella turcica, the pituitary gland is actually made of 2 completely separate structures: the posterior and anterior pituitary glands.
The posterior pituitary gland is actually not glandular tissue at all, but nervous tissue instead. The posterior pituitary is a small extension of the hypothalamus through which the axons of some of the neurosecretory cells of the hypothalamus extend. These neurosecretory cells create 2 hormones in the hypothalamus that are stored and released by the posterior pituitary:
- Oxytocin triggers uterine contractions during childbirth and the release of milk during breastfeeding.
- Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) prevents water loss in the body by increasing the re-uptake of water in the kidneys and reducing blood flow to sweat glands.
The anterior pituitary gland is the true glandular part of the pituitary gland. The function of the anterior pituitary gland is controlled by the releasing and inhibiting hormones of the hypothalamus. The anterior pituitary produces 6 important hormones:
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), as its name suggests, is a tropic hormone responsible for the stimulation of the thyroid gland.
- Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulates the adrenal cortex, the outer part of the adrenal gland, to produce its hormones.
- Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the follicle cells of the gonads to produce gametes—ova in females and sperm in males.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH) stimulates the gonads to produce the sex hormones—estrogens in females and testosterone in males.
- Human growth hormone (HGH) affects many target cells throughout the body by stimulating their growth, repair, and reproduction.
- Prolactin (PRL) has many effects on the body, chief of which is that it stimulates the mammary glands of the breast to produce milk.
The pineal gland is a small pinecone-shaped mass of glandular tissue found just posterior to the thalamus of the brain. The pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin that helps to regulate the human sleep-wake cycle known as the circadian rhythm. The activity of the pineal gland is inhibited by stimulation from the photoreceptors of the retina. This light sensitivity causes melatonin to be produced only in low light or darkness. Increased melatonin production causes humans to feel drowsy at nighttime when the pineal gland is active.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck and wrapped around the lateral sides of the trachea. The thyroid gland produces 3 major hormones:
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
- Thyroxine (T4)
Calcitonin is released when calcium ion levels in the blood rise above a certain set point. Calcitonin functions to reduce the concentration of calcium ions in the blood by aiding the absorption of calcium into the matrix of bones. The hormones T3 and T4 work together to regulate the body’s metabolic rate. Increased levels of T3 and T4 lead to increased cellular activity and energy usage in the body.
The parathyroid glands are 4 small masses of glandular tissue found on the posterior side of the thyroid gland. The parathyroid glands produce the hormone parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is involved in calcium ion homeostasis. PTH is released from the parathyroid glands when calcium ion levels in the blood drop below a set point. PTH stimulates the osteoclasts to break down the calcium containing bone matrix to release free calcium ions into the bloodstream. PTH also triggers the kidneys to return calcium ions filtered out of the blood back to the bloodstream so that it is conserved.
The adrenal glands are a pair of roughly triangular glands found immediately superior to the kidneys. The adrenal glands are each made of 2 distinct layers, each with their own unique functions: the outer adrenal cortex and inner adrenal medulla.
The adrenal cortex produces many cortical hormones in 3 classes: glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens.
- Glucocorticoids have many diverse functions, including the breakdown of proteins and lipids to produce glucose. Glucocorticoids also function to reduce inflammation and immune response.
- Mineralocorticoids, as their name suggests, are a group of hormones that help to regulate the concentration of mineral ions in the body.
- Androgens, such as testosterone, are produced at low levels in the adrenal cortex to regulate the growth and activity of cells that are receptive to male hormones. In adult males, the amount of androgens produced by the testes is many times greater than the amount produced by the adrenal cortex, leading to the appearance of male secondary sex characteristics.
The adrenal medulla produces the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine under stimulation by the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. Both of these hormones help to increase the flow of blood to the brain and muscles to improve the “fight-or-flight” response to stress. These hormones also work to increase heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure while decreasing the flow of blood to and function of organs that are not involved in responding to emergencies.
The pancreas is a large gland located in the abdominal cavity just inferior and posterior to the stomach. The pancreas is considered to be a heterocrine gland as it contains both endocrine and exocrine tissue. The endocrine cells of the pancreas make up just about 1% of the total mass of the pancreas and are found in small groups throughout the pancreas called islets of Langerhans. Within these islets are 2 types of cells—alpha and beta cells. The alpha cells produce the hormone glucagon, which is responsible for raising blood glucose levels. Glucagon triggers muscle and liver cells to break down the polysaccharide glycogen to release glucose into the bloodstream. The beta cells produce the hormone insulin, which is responsible for lowering blood glucose levels after a meal. Insulin triggers the absorption of glucose from the blood into cells, where it is added to glycogen molecules for storage.
The gonads—ovaries in females and testes in males—are responsible for producing the sex hormones of the body. These sex hormones determine the secondary sex characteristics of adult females and adult males.
- Testes: The testes are a pair of ellipsoid organs found in the scrotum of males that produce the androgen testosterone in males after the start of puberty. Testosterone has effects on many parts of the body, including the muscles, bones, sex organs, and hair follicles. This hormone causes growth and increases in strength of the bones and muscles, including the accelerated growth of long bones during adolescence. During puberty, testosterone controls the growth and development of the sex organs and body hair of males, including pubic, chest, and facial hair. In men who have inherited genes for baldness testosterone triggers the onset of androgenic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness. (Read our Hims review for an unbiased look at one way you can treat and reverse male pattern baldness.)
- Ovaries: The ovaries are a pair of almond-shaped glands located in the pelvic body cavity lateral and superior to the uterus in females. The ovaries produce the female sex hormones progesterone and estrogens. Progesterone is most active in females during ovulation and pregnancy where it maintains appropriate conditions in the human body to support a developing fetus. Estrogens are a group of related hormones that function as the primary female sex hormones. The release of estrogen during puberty triggers the development of female secondary sex characteristics such as uterine development, breast development, and the growth of pubic hair. Estrogen also triggers the increased growth of bones during adolescence that lead to adult height and proportions.
The thymus is a soft, triangular-shaped organ found in the chest posterior to the sternum. The thymus produces hormones called thymosins that help to train and develop T-lymphocytes during fetal development and childhood. The T-lymphocytes produced in the thymus go on to protect the body from pathogens throughout a person’s entire life. The thymus becomes inactive during puberty and is slowly replaced by adipose tissue throughout a person’s life.
Other Hormone Producing Organs
In addition to the glands of the endocrine system, many other non-glandular organs and tissues in the body produce hormones as well.
- Heart: The cardiac muscle tissue of the heart is capable of producing the hormone atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in response to high blood pressure levels. ANP works to reduce blood pressure by triggering vasodilation to provide more space for the blood to travel through. ANP also reduces blood volume and pressure by causing water and salt to be excreted out of the blood by the kidneys.
- Kidneys: The kidneys produce the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) in response to low levels of oxygen in the blood. EPO released by the kidneys travels to the red bone marrow where it stimulates an increased production of red blood cells. The number of red blood cells increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, eventually ending the production of EPO.
- Digestive System: The hormones cholecystokinin (CCK), secretin, and gastrin are all produced by the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. CCK, secretin, and gastrin all help to regulate the secretion of pancreatic juice, bile, and gastric juice in response to the presence of food in the stomach. CCK is also instrumental in the sensation of satiety or “fullness” after eating a meal.
- Adipose: Adipose tissue produces the hormone leptin that is involved in the management of appetite and energy usage by the body. Leptin is produced at levels relative to the amount of adipose tissue in the body, allowing the brain to monitor the body’s energy storage condition. When the body contains a sufficient level of adipose for energy storage, the level of leptin in the blood tells the brain that the body is not starving and may work normally. If the level of adipose or leptin decreases below a certain threshold, the body enters starvation mode and attempts to conserve energy through increased hunger and food intake and decreased energy usage. Adipose tissue also produces very low levels of estrogens in both men and women. In obese people the large volume of adipose tissue may lead to abnormal estrogen levels.
- Placenta: In pregnant women, the placenta produces several hormones that help to maintain pregnancy. Progesterone is produced to relax the uterus, protect the fetus from the mother’s immune system, and prevent premature delivery of the fetus. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) assists progesterone by signaling the ovaries to maintain the production of estrogen and progesterone throughout pregnancy.
Local Hormones: Prostaglandins and leukotrienes are produced by every tissue in the body (except for blood tissue) in response to damaging stimuli. These two hormones mainly affect the cells that are local to the source of damage, leaving the rest of the body free to function normally.
- Prostaglandins cause swelling, inflammation, increased pain sensitivity, and increased local body temperature to help block damaged regions of the body from infection or further damage. They act as the body’s natural bandages to keep pathogens out and swell around damaged joints like a natural cast to limit movement.
- Leukotrienes help the body heal after prostaglandins have taken effect by reducing inflammation while helping white blood cells to move into the region to clean up pathogens and damaged tissues.
Physiology of the Endocrine System
Endocrine System vs. Nervous System Function
The endocrine system works alongside of the nervous system to form the control systems of the body. The nervous system provides a very fast and narrowly targeted system to turn on specific glands and muscles throughout the body. The endocrine system, on the other hand, is much slower acting, but has very widespread, long lasting, and powerful effects. Hormones are distributed by glands through the bloodstream to the entire body, affecting any cell with a receptor for a particular hormone. Most hormones affect cells in several organs or throughout the entire body, leading to many diverse and powerful responses.
Once hormones have been produced by glands, they are distributed through the body via the bloodstream. As hormones travel through the body, they pass through cells or along the plasma membranes of cells until they encounter a receptor for that particular hormone. Hormones can only affect target cells that have the appropriate receptors. This property of hormones is known as specificity. Hormone specificity explains how each hormone can have specific effects in widespread parts of the body.
Many hormones produced by the endocrine system are classified as tropic hormones. A tropic hormone is a hormone that is able to trigger the release of another hormone in another gland. Tropic hormones provide a pathway of control for hormone production as well as a way for glands to be controlled in distant regions of the body. Many of the hormones produced by the pituitary gland, such as TSH, ACTH, and FSH are tropic hormones.
The levels of hormones in the body can be regulated by several factors. The nervous system can control hormone levels through the action of the hypothalamus and its releasing and inhibiting hormones. For example, TRH produced by the hypothalamus stimulates the anterior pituitary to produce TSH. Tropic hormones provide another level of control for the release of hormones. For example, TSH is a tropic hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4. Nutrition can also control the levels of hormones in the body. For example, the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 require 3 or 4 iodine atoms, respectively, to be produced. In people lacking iodine in their diet, they will fail to produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormones to maintain a healthy metabolic rate. Finally, the number of receptors present in cells can be varied by cells in response to hormones. Cells that are exposed to high levels of hormones for extended periods of time can begin to reduce the number of receptors that they produce, leading to reduced hormonal control of the cell.
Classes of Hormones
Hormones are classified into 2 categories depending on their chemical make-up and solubility: water-soluble and lipid-soluble hormones. Each of these classes of hormones has specific mechanisms for their function that dictate how they affect their target cells.
- Water-soluble hormones: Water-soluble hormones include the peptide and amino-acid hormones such as insulin, epinephrine, HGH, and oxytocin. As their name indicates, these hormones are soluble in water. Water-soluble hormones are unable to pass through the phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane and are therefore dependent upon receptor molecules on the surface of cells. When a water-soluble hormone binds to a receptor molecule on the surface of a cell, it triggers a reaction inside of the cell. This reaction may change a factor inside of the cell such as the permeability of the membrane or the activation of another molecule. A common reaction is to cause molecules of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) to be synthesized from adenosine triphosphate (ATP) present in the cell. cAMP acts as a second messenger within the cell where it binds to a second receptor to change the function of the cell’s physiology.
- Lipid-soluble hormones: Lipid-soluble hormones include the steroid hormones such as testosterone, estrogens, glucocorticoids, and mineralocorticoids. Because they are soluble in lipids, these hormones are able to pass directly through the phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane and bind directly to receptors inside the cell nucleus. Lipid-soluble hormones are able to directly control the function of a cell from these receptors, often triggering the transcription of particular genes in the DNA to produce “messenger RNAs (mRNAs)” that are used to make proteins that affect the cell’s growth and function.
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17.1 An Overview of the Endocrine System – Anatomy and Physiology
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Distinguish the types of intercellular communication, their importance, mechanisms, and effects
- Identify the major organs and tissues of the endocrine system and their location in the body
Communication is a process in which a sender transmits signals to one or more receivers to control and coordinate actions. In the human body, two major organ systems participate in relatively “long distance” communication: the nervous system and the endocrine system. Together, these two systems are primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body.
Neural and Endocrine Signaling
The nervous system uses two types of intercellular communication—electrical and chemical signaling—either by the direct action of an electrical potential, or in the latter case, through the action of chemical neurotransmitters such as serotonin or norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters act locally and rapidly. When an electrical signal in the form of an action potential arrives at the synaptic terminal, they diffuse across the synaptic cleft (the gap between a sending neuron and a receiving neuron or muscle cell). Once the neurotransmitters interact (bind) with receptors on the receiving (post-synaptic) cell, the receptor stimulation is transduced into a response such as continued electrical signaling or modification of cellular response. The target cell responds within milliseconds of receiving the chemical “message”; this response then ceases very quickly once the neural signaling ends. In this way, neural communication enables body functions that involve quick, brief actions, such as movement, sensation, and cognition.In contrast, the endocrine system uses just one method of communication: chemical signaling. These signals are sent by the endocrine organs, which secrete chemicals—the hormone—into the extracellular fluid. Hormones are transported primarily via the bloodstream throughout the body, where they bind to receptors on target cells, inducing a characteristic response. As a result, endocrine signaling requires more time than neural signaling to prompt a response in target cells, though the precise amount of time varies with different hormones. For example, the hormones released when you are confronted with a dangerous or frightening situation, called the fight-or-flight response, occur by the release of adrenal hormones—epinephrine and norepinephrine—within seconds. In contrast, it may take up to 48 hours for target cells to respond to certain reproductive hormones.
Visit this link to watch an animation of the events that occur when a hormone binds to a cell membrane receptor. What is the secondary messenger made by adenylyl cyclase during the activation of liver cells by epinephrine?
In addition, endocrine signaling is typically less specific than neural signaling. The same hormone may play a role in a variety of different physiological processes depending on the target cells involved. For example, the hormone oxytocin promotes uterine contractions in women in labor. It is also important in breastfeeding, and may be involved in the sexual response and in feelings of emotional attachment in both males and females.
In general, the nervous system involves quick responses to rapid changes in the external environment, and the endocrine system is usually slower acting—taking care of the internal environment of the body, maintaining homeostasis, and controlling reproduction (Table 17.1). So how does the fight-or-flight response that was mentioned earlier happen so quickly if hormones are usually slower acting? It is because the two systems are connected. It is the fast action of the nervous system in response to the danger in the environment that stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete their hormones. As a result, the nervous system can cause rapid endocrine responses to keep up with sudden changes in both the external and internal environments when necessary.
Endocrine and Nervous Systems
|Endocrine system||Nervous system|
|Primary chemical signal||Hormones||Neurotransmitters|
|Distance traveled||Long or short||Always short|
|Response time||Fast or slow||Always fast|
|Environment targeted||Internal||Internal and external|
Structures of the Endocrine System
The endocrine system consists of cells, tissues, and organs that secrete hormones as a primary or secondary function. The endocrine gland is the major player in this system. The primary function of these ductless glands is to secrete their hormones directly into the surrounding fluid. The interstitial fluid and the blood vessels then transport the hormones throughout the body. The endocrine system includes the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and pineal glands (Figure 17.2). Some of these glands have both endocrine and non-endocrine functions. For example, the pancreas contains cells that function in digestion as well as cells that secrete the hormones insulin and glucagon, which regulate blood glucose levels. The hypothalamus, thymus, heart, kidneys, stomach, small intestine, liver, skin, female ovaries, and male testes are other organs that contain cells with endocrine function. Moreover, adipose tissue has long been known to produce hormones, and recent research has revealed that even bone tissue has endocrine functions.
Figure 17.2 Endocrine System Endocrine glands and cells are located throughout the body and play an important role in homeostasis.
The ductless endocrine glands are not to be confused with the body’s exocrine system, whose glands release their secretions through ducts. Examples of exocrine glands include the sebaceous and sweat glands of the skin. As just noted, the pancreas also has an exocrine function: most of its cells secrete pancreatic juice through the pancreatic and accessory ducts to the lumen of the small intestine.
Other Types of Chemical Signaling
In endocrine signaling, hormones secreted into the extracellular fluid diffuse into the blood or lymph, and can then travel great distances throughout the body. In contrast, autocrine signaling takes place within the same cell. An autocrine (auto- = “self”) is a chemical that elicits a response in the same cell that secreted it. Interleukin-1, or IL-1, is a signaling molecule that plays an important role in inflammatory response. The cells that secrete IL-1 have receptors on their cell surface that bind these molecules, resulting in autocrine signaling.
Local intercellular communication is the province of the paracrine, also called a paracrine factor, which is a chemical that induces a response in neighboring cells. Although paracrines may enter the bloodstream, their concentration is generally too low to elicit a response from distant tissues. A familiar example to those with asthma is histamine, a paracrine that is released by immune cells in the bronchial tree. Histamine causes the smooth muscle cells of the bronchi to constrict, narrowing the airways. Another example is the neurotransmitters of the nervous system, which act only locally within the synaptic cleft.
Endocrinology is a specialty in the field of medicine that focuses on the treatment of endocrine system disorders. Endocrinologists—medical doctors who specialize in this field—are experts in treating diseases associated with hormonal systems, ranging from thyroid disease to diabetes mellitus. Endocrine surgeons treat endocrine disease through the removal, or resection, of the affected endocrine gland.
Patients who are referred to endocrinologists may have signs and symptoms or blood test results that suggest excessive or impaired functioning of an endocrine gland or endocrine cells. The endocrinologist may order additional blood tests to determine whether the patient’s hormonal levels are abnormal, or they may stimulate or suppress the function of the suspect endocrine gland and then have blood taken for analysis. Treatment varies according to the diagnosis. Some endocrine disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, may respond to lifestyle changes such as modest weight loss, adoption of a healthy diet, and regular physical activity. Other disorders may require medication, such as hormone replacement, and routine monitoring by the endocrinologist. These include disorders of the pituitary gland that can affect growth and disorders of the thyroid gland that can result in a variety of metabolic problems.
Some patients experience health problems as a result of the normal decline in hormones that can accompany aging. These patients can consult with an endocrinologist to weigh the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy intended to boost their natural levels of reproductive hormones.
In addition to treating patients, endocrinologists may be involved in research to improve the understanding of endocrine system disorders and develop new treatments for these diseases.
Human Endocrine Glands (With Picture)
Human Endocrine Glands!
Hormones are secreted by the endocrine glands, which are ductless glands.
We shall now loam about some important endocrine glands in the human body. These are shown in Figure 5.6.
The pituitary is a small gland attached to the ventral side of the brain. The pituitary is the most important endocrine gland, as it secretes a number of hormones that regulate various functions of the body. It also controls the functioning of the other endocrine glands. Therefore, it is called the master gland of the body.
The pituitary gland consists of two main parts—the anterior lobe and the posterior lobe. The anterior lobe secretes various hormones. One of these is the growth hormone which regulates growth and development of the body. It promotes the growth of bones and muscles when the body is growing.
An excessive secretion of this hormone leads to gigantism, an abnormal condition of excessive growth. On the other hand, insufficient secretion of the growth hormone in childhood retards growth, leading to dwarfism, an abnormal condition of stunted growth.
The anterior lobe of the pituitary gland also secretes hormones that influence the secretion of milk in the mammary glands, the production of sperms in males and the maturing of ova (eggs) in females. Two types of hormones are secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary. One of these helps in childbirth and the other influences the reabsorption of water in the kidney.
It is a small gland attached to the dorsal side of the brain. It has light-sensitive cells. It controls the biological clock (the timing mechanism by which an organism controls regular activities such as sleeping).
Thyroid is a large gland located behind the larynx (voice box) in the neck. The main hormone secreted by this gland is thyroxin, which contains iodine. Thyroxin controls the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and brings about balanced growth.
Excessive secretion of thyroxin is called hyperthyroidism. It increases the general metabolism of the body. As a result, fat stored in the body is depleted and there is a loss of body weight.
Insufficient thyroxin secretion is called hypothyroidism. It lowers the general metabolism of the body and increases body weight. By slowing down metabolic activity, hypothyroidism retards body growth and brain development in children.
When the thyroid gland becomes overactive and secretes excess thyroxin, it becomes enlarged. As a result, the neck swells up and the eyeballs bulge outward. This is called exophthalmia goiter. Swelling of the thyroid may also be due to the deficiency of iodine in the diet. This is called simple goiter. To prevent this it is important for us to have iodized salt in our diet. Iodine is needed for the synthesis of thyroxine.
These are two pairs of small glands buried in the thyroid gland. They secrete parathormone, which increases the level of calcium in the blood by taking out calcium from the bones. A certain amount of calcium in the blood is essential for functions such as muscular activity and blood clotting.
This gland, located near the heart, is present in new-born babies. It gradually becomes smaller with age and is degenerated or lost in the adult. It produces WBCs which fight infection.
Islets of Langerhans:
The pancreas is a digestive gland located in the C-shaped bend of the duodenum (Figure 5.6). Inside this gland there are groups of hormone-secreting cells. These groups are called the islets of Langerhans.
Among the hormones produced by them, insulin is the most important. Insulin controls the rate of oxidation of glucose. It helps the liver and muscle cells to absorb glucose from the blood. It also controls the formation of glycogen from glucose in the liver.
People who are unable to secrete sufficient insulin suffer from a condition called diabetes mellitus. The level of glucose in their blood keeps on rising, and after a limit the kidney lets the extra glucose be excreted with urine.
Doctors advise diabetics to take less sugar in their diet. Some diabetics are advised to take injections of insulin, if they have very high levels of blood sugar. High levels of blood sugar harm the body in many ways.
We have two adrenal glands, one on each kidney. The adrenal glands secrete the hormone called adrenaline or epinephrine. This hormone is secreted when an individual is under great physical or emotional stress or feels threatened by some kind of danger.
Excitement generally stimulates adrenaline secretion. Adrenaline increases the heartbeat, rate of respiration and blood pressure. More air is inhaled as the diaphragm and the rib muscles contract, expanding the chest cavity.
Adrenaline constricts all the blood vessels except those that supply blood to the heart muscles and skeletal muscles. As the small arteries around the digestive organs constrict, blood is diverted to the skeletal muscles to carry out a response.
Adrenaline is called ‘fight and flight’ hormone because there is a surge of adrenaline when a person is fighting or preparing to fight or running away from danger. The changes caused by adrenaline prepare the body to react during an emergency. Hence, adrenaline is also called the ’emergency hormone’.
The main function of the testis is to produce sperms. The testes also synthesize the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone secretion begins at the onset of puberty (age of sexual maturity), at 10-12 years of age. It helps in the development of secondary sexual characters in males, e.g., moustache, beard, etc.
At the onset of puberty the ovaries begin to secrete oestrogen, a female sex hormone. Oestrogen produces secondary sexual characters in females and prepares the body for pregnancy. During pregnancy, the ovaries secrete special hormones that help in the development of the baby.
Control of Hormone Secretion:
We have a feedback mechanism for controlling the precise quantity and timing of hormone secretion. For example, when we take a meal, our blood sugar level rises. The response to this stimulus is the secretion of the required amount of insulin. The insulin carries glucose to the tissues. As a result, the blood sugar level falls and insulin secretion is reduced. Such control of hormone secretion helps maintain a state of balance in the body.
Types of Endocrine Disorders | UI Health
Types of Endocrine Disorders
Endocrinology is the branch of medicine that focuses on endocrine glands and hormones in the body. Hormones regulate many bodily functions; however, when a hormone imbalance occurs, it can have a variety of effects on the body. The Diabetes Center & Endocrinology Clinic at UI Health offers comprehensive services and treatments for patients that suffer from hormonal imbalances and endocrine disorders,. We provide treatment options for many types of metabolic and endocrine disorders, including:
Adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, produce various hormones. Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient amounts of steroid hormones — primarily cortisol, which regulates sodium conservation, potassium secretion, and water retention.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of inherited genetic disorders that affect the adrenal glands. A person with CAH lacks one of the enzymes the adrenal glands use to produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, the immune system, blood pressure, and other essential functions.
Hyperaldosteronism is a disease where the adrenal glands make too much aldosterone, a hormone that stimulates absorption of sodium by the kidneys and helps to regulate water and salt balance in the body. When too much aldosterone is produced, this leads to hypertension (high blood pressure) and low blood potassium levels.
Osteoporosis is the deterioration of bone tissue and reduction of bone strength, making bones fragile. Osteoporosis makes the wrist, hip, spine and other parts of the skeleton vulnerable to fractures. Falls in people with osteoporosis can lead to serious health consequences.
Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that develop in your pituitary gland. Some pituitary tumors result in too many of the hormones that regulate important functions of the body; others can cause the pituitary gland to produce lower levels of hormones. Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign) growths (adenomas). Adenomas remain in your pituitary gland or surrounding tissues and don’t spread to other parts of your body.
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that is located in the front of the neck. This gland produces thyroid hormones that primarily influence the body’s metabolism and protein synthesis. Abnormal cell growth in the thyroid gland can lead to thyroid cancer. The thyroid also can be affected by a variety of diseases, including:
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland, and the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally. Individuals are hypothyroid if they have too little thyroid hormone in the blood. Common causes are autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid, and radiation treatment.
- Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. When the thyroid gland is overactive, the body’s processes speed up, and individuals may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.
Body system communication
This focus idea is explored through:
Contrasting student and scientific views
Student everyday experiences
Students will be aware that their body responds to changes in the environment (for example, through heat regulation), but may be confused about what causes these responses and how they occur. They may not be aware of the human body’s two important
communication systems, the nervous system and the endocrine (hormone) system.
Students may focus on nerves with particular attention to their feelings, but may not consider them in relation to how the body responds to the environment (internal and external). They do realise the speed with which nerves operate with respect to their feelings, for example the speed with which happiness can change to sadness or anger. Students are also often unaware or confused about the nervous system as a whole and the relationship that exists between the different parts of the nervous system (the brain, spinal cord and nerves).
Research: Driver (1994)
The human body responds to hormones in a sustained, widespread way. Students will have heard about hormones (especially in relation to pimples and the contraceptive pill), but they are likely to be confused about how they function. Their everyday experiences may mean that some students are more familiar with certain hormone functions (such as diabetics), than others (such as happiness as a result of the actions of endorphins).
Students often hear about hormones in the media. For example, they may have heard that chickens are fed hormones and that when humans eat these chickens they are affected in different ways, such as faster maturation of children. However, students have little knowledge of how this may occur. They may also have heard about the use of growth hormone by athletes, though they are likely to be confused about its source or the details of its role.
Research: Driver (1994)
Humans have two types of communication systems. These are the nervous system and the endocrine (hormone) system. These systems regulate body processes through chemical and electrical signals that pass between cells. The pathways for this communication are different for each system.
Research: Evans, Ladiges, McKenzie, Batterham & Sanders (2007)
Responses triggered by hormones are generally slower and more sustained than the responses of the nervous system which are targeted and short lived. Responses of the hormone system affect cells that are likely to be widely distributed throughout the body, such as the hormones involved in sexual maturation, whereas the actions of nerves are likely to be more targeted.
Further information may be sourced from the
University of Washington: Neuroscience for Kids.
Critical teaching ideas
- The nervous and endocrine systems are two forms of communication system in the human body that integrate, coordinate and respond to sensory information which is received by the human body from its surroundings.
- In both the nervous and the endocrine system signals are passed from one cell to another by chemical communication.
- In the nervous system, nerve cells send messages electrochemically: this means that chemicals cause an electrical impulse from one cell to another. This response is targeted and short lived. In the endocrine system, glands secrete hormones into the blood that travel to the target organs to effect a more widespread and sustained response.
Explore the relationships between ideas about body system communication in the
Concept Development Maps – (Cell Functions, Cells and Organs)
Clarify and consolidate ideas for/by communication to others
Students compare and contrast the nervous and endocrine systems with each other and other everyday communication systems that they are used to dealing with.
a) Students write a research report comparing and contrasting wireless technology (computer systems) with the hormone and nervous system. They should look specifically at the speed of response and the information carried.
b) Students relate the human communication systems (nervous and hormone) to communication systems in society and the technology that is used (such as mobile phones and landline telephones) and make comparisons between them.
Promote reflection on and clarification of existing ideas
Teachers should allow students to experience and build their knowledge by experimenting, researching and modelling.
a) Students work in pairs to test reflexes (nerve responses). It is best to test rapid nerve responses (which are particularly needed in case of danger). These responses include reflex responses in the knee and of the eye pupil to light. To extend this part of the activity students can investigate whether these responses can be prevented.
Research: Lewis (1999)
b) Endocrine (hormonal) responses are much slower and sustained for longer. To explore the endocrine system students can produce a large display of the hormone system. Using a large piece of paper, they should draw an outline of a student and fix it to the wall. Students then research information on different glands and the role of the hormones they produce. They draw pictures of the glands, stick each picture to the body outline and attach information about the hormone that is produced. This activity could be extended by researching information on conditions created by too low or too high levels of hormones.
Research: Lewis (1999)
Science related interactive learning objects can be found on the
FUSE Teacher Resources page.
To access the interactive learning object below, teachers must login to FUSE and search by Learning Resource ID:
Body Parts: endocrine system – students look closely at the human endocrine system. They learn what hormones are and which glands release them. They find out which glands regulate bodily functions such as energy levels, digestion, calcium levels, growth and puberty.
Learning Resource ID: NZGVA3
Glands – The Endocrine System Chart
The endocrine system regulates vital processes in the body including growth, metabolism, and sexual development. This system is comprised of several major endocrine glands. These glands secrete hormones into the blood. Once in the blood, the hormones travel through the cardiovascular system until they reach their target cells. Only cells with specific receptors for a certain hormone will be influenced by that hormone.
Hormones control various cellular activities including growth; development; reproduction; energy use and storage; and water and electrolyte balance. Both the endocrine system and the nervous system are responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. These systems help to maintain a constant internal environment in response to environmental changes.
The major glands of the endocrine system are the pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid, and parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, thymus, ovaries, and testes. There are also other organs in the body that have secondary endocrine functions. These organs include the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Alan Hoofring/National Cancer Institute
The pineal gland is a pine cone shaped gland of the endocrine system. It is located deep inside the brain, situated between the cerebral hemispheres. This gland produces several important hormones including melatonin. Melatonin influences sexual development and sleep-wake cycles.
The pineal gland connects the endocrine system with the nervous system in that it converts nerve signals from the sympathetic system of the peripheral nervous system into hormone signals. Pineal gland dysfunction can lead to a number of disorders including insomnia, depressive disorder, and anxiety.
Alfred Pasieka/Getty Images
The pituitary gland is a small endocrine organ located in the middle of the base of the brain. It controls a multitude of important functions in the body. The pituitary gland is termed the “Master Gland” because it directs other organs and endocrine glands to suppress or induce hormone production. The pituitary has an anterior lobe and a posterior lobe. The anterior lobe produces several hormones, while the posterior lobe stores hormones of the hypothalamus.
Hormones secreted by the anterior pituitary gland include adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), growth hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Hormones of the posterior pituitary include oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone (ADH).
Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands
Stocktrek Images/Getty Images
The thyroid is a dual-lobed gland located in the neck region. It secretes hormones that control metabolism, growth, heart rate, body temperature, and regulate calcium levels. Hormones secreted by the thyroid gland include thyroxin, triiodothyronine, and calcitonin.
Parathyroid glands are found within thyroid tissue located in the posterior region of the thyroid. These tiny masses vary in number, with individuals typically having two or more parathyroid glands. These glands synthesize and secrete parathyroid hormone which regulates calcium levels in the blood.
Stocktrek Images/Getty Images
The thymus gland is located in the center of the chest cavity between the lungs and behind the breastbone. Although it is considered an endocrine gland, the thymus gland is the main organ of the lymphatic system. Its primary function is to promote the development of specific white blood cells called T-lymphocytes.
The thymus produces several hormones including thymosin which increases immune responses by promoting the production of antibodies. In addition to immune function, the thymus also stimulates the production of certain pituitary gland hormones that promote growth and sexual maturation.
Alan Hoofring/National Cancer Institute
There are two adrenal glands in the body. One located atop each kidney. The adrenal gland produces hormones in both the inner medulla region and the outer cortex region of the gland. Hormones produced within the adrenal cortex region are all steroid hormones.
Adrenal cortex hormones include aldosterone, cortisol, and sex hormones. Aldosterone causes the kidneys to secrete potassium and retain water and sodium. This causes blood pressure to rise. Cortisol acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps maintain blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Hormones of the adrenal medulla include epinephrine and norepinephrine. These are secreted in response to stimulation from sympathetic nerves, typically in response to stress.
Stocktrek Images/Getty Images
The pancreas is a soft organ located near the stomach and small intestines. It is both an exocrine gland and an endocrine gland. The exocrine portion of the pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that are carried by a duct to the small intestines.
The endocrine segment of the pancreas consists of small clusters of cells called islets of Langerhans. These cells produce the hormones glucagon and insulin. Glucagon raises blood sugar level while insulin lowers blood sugar levels and stimulates the metabolism of glucose, protein, and fat. Disorders of the pancreas include diabetes and pancreatitis.
Gonads (Ovaries and Testes)
Alan Hoofring,Don Bliss/National Cancer Institute
The endocrine system includes certain organs of the reproductive system. Male and female primary reproductive organs, called gonads, are endocrine organs. Gonads produce sex cells and also secrete reproductive hormones.
Male gonads, or testes, produce hormones called androgens. Testosterone is the main androgen secreted by the testes. The female ovaries secrete the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Gonadal hormones are responsible for the development of male and female reproductive organs and sexual characteristics.
Endocrine system hormones are regulated in several ways. They can be regulated by other hormones, by glands and organs, by peripheral nervous system neurons, and by negative feedback mechanisms. In negative feedback, an initial stimulus provokes a response that works to reduce the stimulus. Once the response eliminates the initial stimulus, the pathway is halted.
Negative feedback is demonstrated in the regulation of blood calcium. The parathyroid gland secretes parathyroid hormone in response to low blood calcium levels. As parathyroid hormone increases blood calcium levels, calcium levels eventually return to normal. Once this happens, the parathyroid gland detects the change and stops secreting parathyroid hormone.
- “Hormones.” Ohio State Diabetes Endocrinology, medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/diabetes_endocrine/about_diabetes/endocrinology/hormones_and_endocrine_system/Pages/index.aspx.
- “Introduction to the Endocrine System | SEER Training.” SEER Training:Bone Development & Growth, training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/endocrine/.
90,000 Main diseases of the endocrine system – causes, symptoms, tests for diagnosis
Endocrine disorders are numerous, and their development and symptoms are often unpredictable. The system of regulation of the activity of internal organs performs an important function, ensuring the production of special substances – hormones. Often, this system malfunctions, leading to the development of pathologies and diseases.
The endocrinologist is engaged in the identification of the causes and diagnosis of diseases.After consulting and examining the body, the doctor identifies how the disease is progressing and what treatment methods are relevant for a particular patient.
Qualified doctors from Novocherkassk and the Rostov region are receiving appointments at the Femina Medical Center for Women’s Health. Appointments are made by phone 8 8635 29 15 16.
List of major endocrine disorders
The function of hormones is of great importance for the physical, mental and physiological state of a person.Failure in the work of endocrine organs entails the development of pathological processes, which are accompanied by a change in the hormonal system:
- production disturbance – decrease or increase;
- slowdown of transport and suction;
- anomalous structure;
- increases resistance to hormonal action.
Similar processes affect all internal organs of a person, including the nervous system, leading to the development of various diseases.
Major endocrine disorders:
|Disease||Reasons for development||Symptoms|
|Hypothyroidism||Production of low hormone levels, leading to hypothyroidism||
Decreased metabolic processes, slow heart rate, constipation, menstrual irregularities.
The primary stage is very tired.Most of all, women are susceptible to the disease – the disease is diagnosed 18 times more often than in men.
|Diabetes mellitus||Complete or partial lack of insulin in the body, leading to metabolic dysfunction||Constant thirst, increased appetite, frequent urination, skin changes.|
|Goiter||Hypo- or hyperfunction of the thyroid gland occurs due to insufficient intake of iodine||Accompanied by an enlargement of the thyroid gland.|
|Thyrotoxicosis||Increase in T3 and T4 hormones in the blood||A sharp decrease in body weight, acceleration or failure of the heart rate, increased sweating, irritability, nervousness|
|Autoimmune thyroiditis||Inflammation of the thyroid tissue, developing against the background of a decrease in mmunity||Depression, excessive fatigue, dry skin, brittle nails, menstrual irregularities, decreased libido, weight gain from 10 kg.|
Insufficient production of PTH, parathyrin and parathyroid hormone, which affect metabolism.
The disease often develops after surgery.
|Seizures, numbness and chills of the limbs, hot flashes, muscle spasms.|
|Hyperparathyroidism||Increased release of parathyroid hormone, proceeding with impaired metabolism of trace elements||Emotional imbalance, duck gait, fatigue during normal physical exertion, earthy gray skin color.|
|Gigantism||Chronic excess of growth hormone (STH). Usually transmitted at a genetic level 90,030||Diagnosed in adults only. It is accompanied by a disproportionate growth of bone, cartilaginous, soft tissues, as well as internal organs.|
Signs and methods of diagnosis of endocrine diseases
The endocrine system consists of different endocrine glands, diseases also have a wide range of clinical manifestations.Often, the first signs of these diseases are attributed to fatigue after work or physical labor, stress, overeating. In this case, the disease progresses, and the defeat of the endocrine gland becomes chronic.
General signs of endocrine diseases:
- Increased fatigue during normal physical activity;
- weakness, muscle spasms;
- a sharp decrease or increase in weight;
- rapid or slow heartbeat, pain;
- febrile condition;
- increased sweating;
- excessive, unnatural excitability or, conversely, drowsiness;
- Frequent urge to urinate is an indirect symptom, each patient has his own norm;
- constant thirst;
- high blood pressure with headaches;
- decreased memory function;
- Constipation or diarrhea on a regular basis.
In case of such a clinical picture, it is necessary to consult an endocrinologist. As additional survey methods are used:
- X-ray of the skull;
- blood sugar test;
- blood biochemistry;
- glycosylated hemoglobin;
- glucose test;
- blood and urine tests for hormones.
A detailed examination of the body will allow diagnosing the disease at the first stage, leveling the pathology. You can make an appointment with an endocrinologist in Novocherkassk on the website of the Femina MC.
Manifestation and diagnosis of endocrine diseases in ophthalmopathy
Signs of endocrine disorders in ophthalmopathy are caused by the presence of pathology in the thyroid gland. This leads to an expansion of the list of characteristic manifestations:
- upward tightening of the eyelid, swelling;
- feeling of pressure and pain on the eyeball;
- dryness of the mucous membrane of the eye;
- failure in the perception of colors;
- limited movement of the eyeballs;
- rare blinking;
- trembling and pigmentation of the eyelids.
Most cases do not lead to a complete loss of visual function, but they can cause a decrease in vision, damage to the cornea, double image, and neuropathy.
If the clinical picture of the disease is pronounced, then a standard examination by an ophthalmologist is sufficient. The study included analysis of color vision and eye movement, optical media and perimetry. In unclear cases, ultrasound, MRI and CT are required.
90,000 Seven symptoms when Voronezh residents should consult an endocrinologist.Latest news from Voronezh and region
Failure of the endocrine system, which is called the main “conductor” of the body, sometimes you may not even notice. Not to notice for a long time is fraught with chronic diseases and serious health consequences. Meanwhile, according to doctors, endocrine pathologies today are quite easily diagnosed and corrected: the main thing is not to “sleep through” the disease.
Endocrinologists of the Voronezh Regional Clinical Consultative and Diagnostic Center (VOKKDC) told the reporter about the symptoms that may be signs of endocrine pathologies.
Weakness, unmotivated fatigue
The day before, I didn’t do anything like that, I slept normally, but I woke up and you feel tired, exhausted … Such fatigue “from scratch” is a reason to see a doctor. To begin with – to a therapist who will prescribe basic tests in order to understand where to go next. Weakness and unmotivated fatigue is not a specific symptom: it occurs in many diseases. Therefore, in order to exclude endocrine pathology – in particular, thyroid disease – it is advisable to consult an endocrinologist.
The endocrine system is a complex of endocrine glands that produce hormones that enter the bloodstream. These include: the pancreas, thyroid and parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, sex glands, as well as the hypothalamus and pituitary gland located in the brain.
According to Larisa Kolimbet, head of the VOKKDC diabetic center, a disease is always a complex of symptoms that only a specialist can “read”. In no case should one diagnose oneself, let alone one symptom.And yet, even one symptom is a reason to play it safe and consult a doctor.
If in a patient with unmotivated fatigue we see, for example, a low hemoglobin in a general blood test, and the rest of the indicators are in order, then we exclude the thyroid disease, which was initially suspected, and refer the person to a consultation with a hematologist. The hematologist will find out the cause of the anemia and prescribe treatment. Or we come to the conclusion that the symptom may still be associated with the pathology of the thyroid gland, then we clarify the diagnosis and begin to treat.
Head of the Diabetes Center VOKKDTS
Changes in heart rate and / or blood pressure
According to endocrinologist Natalia Tagintseva, we are talking about a rapid or slow heartbeat, arrhythmias and other changes in rhythm, which can also be caused by endocrine problems.
– For example, a person’s working pressure was 110/70, it became – 160/100, or jumps began in one direction and the other.Or the pulse was 70 beats per minute, but it became 90 or even worse – 120. It often happens when cardiologists with the same tachycardia refer a patient to us, because they understand that the problem is in endocrinology, ”the doctor explained.
Among the pathologies of the thyroid gland, in the first place are diffuse and nodal changes caused by iodine deficiency. In second place are chronic nonspecific inflammation of the thyroid gland. On the third – hypothyroidism: decreased function of the thyroid gland. On the fourth – thyrotoxicosis: increased thyroid function.
In the Voronezh region, the average degree of iodine deficiency. Given the widespread prevalence of thyroid gland diseases, every two to three years, its ultrasound should be done by everyone, and especially those over 40 years old.
If an ultrasound scan shows changes in the thyroid gland, then an analysis for hormones must be done. Although the option of a normal ultrasound and a violation of the hormonal status is not excluded: an ultrasound shows the structure, and hormones are a function.With a good structure, there may be a dysfunction, and vice versa.
Dry mouth is not only a sign of diabetes mellitus: it can also indicate a disease of the thyroid / parathyroid glands or adrenal glands.
The thyroid gland controls everything in the human body, from protein-carbohydrate-fat metabolism to mental state.But the most “sore” points of application are the nervous and cardiovascular systems: with advanced thyroid diseases, they are the first to suffer.
The parathyroid glands are located behind the thyroid gland, about the size of a five kopeck coin. They produce parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium-phosphorus metabolism.
The adrenal glands are endocrine glands involved in the regulation of metabolism, as well as in the adaptation of the body to unfavorable, including stressful, conditions.
Dry mouth can occur, for example, with increased function of the thyroid gland, when its hormones suppress the natural secretion of insulin, or with pathology of the parathyroid glands, when the level of parathyroid hormone increases and calcium-phosphorus metabolism is disturbed, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Previously, in the structure of endocrine pathologies, diseases of the parathyroid gland occupied the fourth place, today it is already the third: after diabetes and thyroid diseases.Perhaps it was poorly diagnosed earlier, but today with modern equipment there are completely different possibilities … When the function of the parathyroid gland is impaired, there are many diseases, but most often it is osteoporosis. At the Diabetes Center, we diagnose and treat him. Since 2017, we have a city office for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. By the way, the diagnostic center has (so far the only one in the region) an X-ray densitometer – an apparatus that determines the mineral density of bone tissue.
Head of the Diabetes Center VOKKDTS
Densitometer measures bone density
Onset of edema
A person feels general edema, or he has local edema: hands, feet or (in advanced cases) legs, bags under the eyes. These are signs of developing heart failure, the cause of which can also be in diseases of the thyroid gland, adrenal glands or hypothalamic-pituitary region.
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are the main glands that regulate the work of the entire endocrine system: hormones are released here, which give a signal to all other (except for the pancreas) endocrine glands. If, for example, the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, then according to the principle of feedback, the signal enters the pituitary gland, where a hormone that stimulates the gland is released. However, due to the fact that the thyroid gland has developed a disease, it cannot produce hormones. A blood test for hormones helps to understand the picture of what happened.
Deterioration of skin and hair
Change in color, density of the skin, excessive hair growth – for example, hair growth in women according to the male pattern: on the abdomen, chin. Or, conversely, hair loss, the appearance of areas of baldness – the reason for this can also be in the endocrine system.
– Some with hair loss will go to a trichologist. But a competent specialist will see whether baldness is associated with hair itself or there is a serious internal problem – endocrine or rheumatological, – noted Natalya Tagintseva.
Problems in intimate life
Violation of the menstrual cycle and libido in women, decreased sexual activity in men – may be associated with both thyroid pathology and gonads, hypothalamus or pituitary gland.
Often, patients come to a diabetology center after receiving a fair amount of treatment and spending a lot of money. Many people ask: how, without being a specialist, to understand: you are assigned the necessary minimum of research or according to the principle of “maximum from the price list”? In this situation, firstly, you can seek advice from another specialist.Secondly, for each disease, including endocrine disease, there is a standard for the provision of medical care, approved by the order of the Ministry of Health. You can ask the doctor what diagnosis he suspects, and ask to show the standard of examination. And to understand how much this standard has been exceeded.
With diseases of the endocrine system, vision problems can be very different.The most common exophthalmos (popularly referred to as “Graves’ disease”): protrusion of the eyeballs caused by excessive thyroid function. Also: dryness in the eyeball, burning, decreased vision, narrowing of the visual fields – in particular, the latter can be caused by a pathology of the hypothalamic-pituitary sphere – for example, a benign tumor of the pituitary gland – especially if the tumor is large and presses on the optic nerve junction.
Neglected pathologies of the endocrine system can lead to serious consequences.In the case of the thyroid gland, these are hyper- or hypothyroid coma, heart attacks, strokes, circulatory disorders, pathological fractures. Pituitary adenomas at a late stage are fraught with damage to nearby areas of the brain, which can lead to blindness.
In the diagnostic center we have the possibility of a complete clinical examination of the patient, since there are departments for laboratory, radiation diagnostics, functional diagnostics, an ultrasound department with the latest equipment.The diabetology center has 10 highly qualified endocrinologists who, if necessary, can consult with narrow specialists: the diagnostic center employs doctors of 45 specialties. If we come to the conclusion that a patient, for example, needs an operation of a nodule on the thyroid gland, we immediately consult with an endocrinological surgeon who sets the date and prepares for the operation. This is all a great time saver.
Head of the Diabetes Center VOKKDTS
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Acromegaly, symptoms and treatment, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment | Alpha
The name of this disease is of ancient Greek origin. The root “acros” is translated as a limb, and “megas” is large. Acromegaly, known to mankind since antiquity, is characterized by an increase in the feet and hands, enlargement of facial features.
The reasons why this happens are also known: the disease provokes a pituitary adenoma, which produces excess secretion of growth hormone, as well as non-pituitary tumors that produce a factor that releases this hormone.
In the Nizhny Novgorod clinic “Alfa-Health Center” the disease can be diagnosed during examination by an endocrinologist. Sometimes, in the presence of characteristic symptoms, it is detected during the passage of the comprehensive program “Life without a headache”: pain syndrome in acromegaly is not uncommon.
This severe neuroendocrine disorder is caused by overproduction of growth hormone, or growth hormone. Often, the root cause of the pathological process is a benign neoplasm that produces growth hormone in isolation. Regular craniocerebral trauma, chronic sinusitis and a tumor of the hypothalamus can provoke the appearance of a tumor. There are known cases of genetic inheritance of the disease. Often, with acromegaly, the tumor increases the production of not only growth hormone, but also prolactin.
The vast majority of known cases of the disease are associated with a pituitary adenoma or the secretion of growth hormone. But there were also recorded data on the development of acromegaly under the influence of ectopic secretion of a hormone that releases growth hormone, which is already responsible for pituitary hyperplasia.
The prevalence of acromegaly in European countries is estimated at about one case in 100-250 thousand. According to medical reports, the diagnosis is most often made in patients of the middle age group.Among women and men over 40, the prevalence of acromegaly is approximately the same. Due to the fact that it develops gradually and progresses slowly, the disease is most often detected 4-10 years after the onset of development.
Active production of growth hormone leads to increased production of somatomedins: the so-called growth factors, among which the most important role is played by somatomedin C, or insulin growth factor. It is produced in the liver. In addition, acromegaly is accompanied by the production of growth factors of various organs – cartilaginous, bone and others.Sometimes, if the disease began in adolescence, the elongation of the bones of the skeleton is possible. This clinical syndrome in acromegaly is called gigantism.
For patients with acromegaly, a gross change in appearance is characteristic. They are enlarging:
90 012 90 013 language;
There is pathological folding and thickening of the skin. Diastema develops – the gap between the teeth increases.Prognathism is not uncommon – one of the types of facial profiling, involving the protrusion of the lower jaw forward. Hands and feet increase in size.
The voice becomes coarse with acromegaly. This is due to the thickening of the vocal cords. Another reason for the change in voice is the expansion of the paranasal cavities.
Patients with acromegaly may complain of pain in the spine and joints. They can be caused by the development of arthropathy and their destabilization.In the area of natural folds, hyperpigmentation of the skin, villous-warty growths are observed, and in women, increased growth of body hair according to the male pattern is possible – a syndrome also called hirsutism.
Acromegaly is often accompanied by an enlargement of the thyroid gland and the appearance of nodules. The patient may develop other diseases of the endocrine system – for example, diabetes mellitus, resistant to insulin therapy. A great danger is posed by cardiovascular pathologies caused by acromegaly – high blood pressure, cardiomegaly, microcardiodystrophy.The latter is characterized by the fact that it can cause coronary insufficiency and, as a consequence, death.
The defeat of the respiratory system in acromegaly is manifested by obstructive sleep apnea. The syndrome is associated with a pathological increase in the size of the epiglottis and tongue. Also, a patient with acromegaly has an increased incidence of restrictive lung diseases associated with changes in the spine (kyphoscoliosis). Finger sensitivity may be reduced.The symptom is due to compression of the nerve due to changes in soft tissue in the wrist. Signs of general malaise are characteristic of acromegaly – decreased ability to work, causeless weakness and fatigue.
As the tumor grows in size, it puts pressure on the healthy cells of the pituitary gland. The consequence of this is a violation of the normal functioning of the organ. In this case, acromegaly is the cause of reproductive and sexual dysfunctions, which is manifested by:
- menstrual irregularities and female infertility;
- decrease in potency and libido in men;
- the appearance of headaches, poorly relieved by analgesics, sometimes – simultaneously with the appearance of photophobia and lacrimation.
90,013 various neurological symptoms;
Acromegaly, as it progresses, can cause high blood pressure and the development of arterial hypertension. Complications of the disease in the form of cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart muscle in size) and other disorders of the cardiovascular system are common. Patients with acromegaly often have diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, thyroid pathology.
Other possible complications include:
- colon polyps;
- loss or impairment of vision;
- compression of the spinal cord;
- hypopituitarism – decreased secretion of pituitary hormones.
Patients with acromegaly often develop sleep apnea syndrome, a condition in which breathing stops briefly during sleep. For women, the risk of developing a benign tumor of the uterus – fibroids – increases. Early treatment for acromegaly reduces the severity or likelihood of all of these complications.
Danger of illness
If acromegaly is not treated on time, it leads to the development of severe complications and death.About half of those affected die before the age of 50. At the same time, the overwhelming number of deaths in acromegaly (60%) are associated with cardiovascular complications. Another quarter are pulmonary-respiratory complications and 15% are the development of oncological processes, most often the digestive system.
The danger of acromegaly is that it often remains unrecognized. The rarity of this disease, as well as the gradual development of changes in appearance over a long period, do not cause suspicion in the patient.Delayed diagnosis and treatment of acromegaly increases the risk of complications. With a timely visit to a doctor, on the contrary, it is possible to significantly reduce the external manifestations of pathology and side effects.
There are 4 stages of acromegaly:
The first stage is diagnosed extremely rarely due to the mild severity of symptoms characteristic of acromegaly.
At the hypertrophic stage, acromegaly can be recognized by the enlargement of individual organs, changes in facial contours and the protrusion of the lower jaw. Characteristic at this stage is a coarsening of the voice, an increase in body weight, and visual impairment. There are frequent cases of increased sweating due to the fact that the sweat glands also increase in size. General weakness and headaches are also included in the clinical picture of hypertrophic acromegaly.
At the tumor stage, the patient develops increased intracranial pressure.The consequence of this may be already pronounced headaches, hearing loss and vision loss. The tumor stage of acromegaly is often accompanied by muscle atrophy and weakness.
The outcome of the disease is the cachectic stage. This is complete exhaustion that develops in the absence of therapy.
To diagnose acromegaly, the patient is given an oral glucose tolerance test. Confirmation of the diagnosis is a biochemically increased concentration of growth hormone in the blood serum.Also, the doctor takes into account the level of insulin-like growth factor when diagnosing acromegaly.
Imaging studies are usually sufficient to assess the volume and extent of the tumor. The clinical implications of acromegaly are determined through echocardiography and sleep apnea analysis.
Treatment for acromegaly includes surgery, radiation therapy, and drug suppression of growth hormone secretion.
Ablative therapy is indicated in most cases. The approach differs depending on the individual characteristics of the patient, but transsphenoidal resection is most often used due to minimal trauma. It is prescribed if the level of pituitary hormones, which is fixed after glucose loading, reaches normal values.
The tumor is irradiated with an ultra-high voltage current. In some cases, radiation therapy and surgery are combined.
Drug therapy is done if surgery and radiation therapy are contraindicated. The doctor prescribes drugs that effectively suppress the secretion of growth hormone. The most commonly used analogues are somatostatin or bromocriptine mesylate.
The vast majority of patients show improvement after a course of therapy. Acromegaly can be brought under control, as a result of which the patient’s life expectancy reaches the average value for the population.Nevertheless, even with a high level of hormonal control and timely treatment, some of the negative consequences of the disease, including changes in the quality of life, regularly occurring joint pain, remain.
Diagnostics and treatment of acromegaly in Murmansk
Alpha Health Center strongly recommends visiting an endocrinologist if symptoms of a disease are detected. Accurate diagnosis is impossible without laboratory tests. Our clinic in Murmansk is provided with everything necessary to promptly conduct an examination and begin treatment.Contact us, we are always happy to help.
Changes in the organ of vision in diseases of the thyroid gland – Ophthalmology – Departments
Endocrine ophthalmopathy (EOP)
The first description of the clinical picture of the suffering of the soft tissues of the orbit in a patient with diffuse-toxic goiter in 1853. described and published by J.R. Greves (London), he also proposed the term disease – endocrine ophthalmopathy (Graves’ disease). In 1840, independent of Graves, Basedow described and published the main symptoms of thyrotoxicosis.
Frequency of occurrence. Every year, pathology of the thyroid gland with its primary hyperfunction is diagnosed in 2% of the population
Frequency of image intensifier for women – 16: 100,000, men – 2.9: 100,000
Endocrine ophthalmopathy (EOP) is an autoimmune disease caused by the formation of specific immunoglobulins and characterized by edema of periorbital tissues.
The state of the thyroid gland function with image intensifier:
1. Euthyroidism -18.5%
2. Dysfunction -81.5%
3.Autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s)
– removal of the thyroid gland
– irradiation of the thyroid gland
Most often, this disease occurs at the age of 35-59 years. Revealed autoimmune thyroid at 3 years of age. The causes of this disease are multifactorial. The development of endocrine ophthalmopathy occurs as a result of imbalance in complex immunological mechanisms that arise against the background of overt or latent thyroid dysfunction.The disease is bilateral in nature (develops in both orbits).
Changes on the part of:
- Extraocular muscles (in this case, only rectal oculomotor muscles are affected)
- Periorbital tissue.
As a result of a complex pathological autoimmune process, excessive accumulation of water occurs in the above structures of the orbit, which leads to excessive edema of the soft tissues of the orbit.
- Thyrotoxic exophthalmos
- Edematous exophthalmos
- Endocrine myopathy
Thyrotoxic exophthalmos – characteristic clinical signs: false wide palpebral fissure, rare blinking, dysfunction of the upper eyelid and oculomotor muscles, unusual shine of the eyes, lagging of the eyelid when moving the eye downward, tremor of the eyelids when closing the eyes, uneven twitching of the eyelids when looking down …All of the above symptoms at this stage of the disease are reversible with timely and adequate treatment.
If asymmetry is observed in the position of the upper eyelid in the evening, this is a sign of a transition to the edematous form of exophthalmos. At the same time, exophthalmos increases, edema of periorbital tissues, severe changes appear on the part of the mucous membrane and cornea of the eyes, non-closure of the palpebral fissure. As a result of edema of the soft tissues of the orbit, mechanical compression of the optic nerve and orbital vessels occurs, as a result of which their functional and structural changes develop (the so-called optic neuropathy).Violation of the outflow of venous blood leads to an increase in pressure in the water veins, which in turn causes an increase in intraocular pressure (so-called symptomatic intraocular hypertension).
With the further development of the pathological process in the orbit, the appearance and progression of orbital fibrosis (proliferation of connective tissue) occurs, which leads to irreversible structural and functional changes in the soft tissues of the orbit.
In endocrine myopathy, the predominant lesion of the oculomotor muscles occurs, as a result of which strabismus, diplopia (double vision) develops, and binocular vision is impaired.If, during an ophthalmological examination, violations of the position of the eyes in the orbit, disorders of joint work of the eyes or eye movement are detected are not in full volume, then together with an endocrinologist and a neurologist, the cause of these changes is found out.
In case of thyroid disease, a complete ophthalmological examination is carried out (both basic – including the determination of visual acuity, measurement of intraocular pressure, examination of the intraocular structures and fundus, and additional – determination of the position of the eyes in the orbit using exophthalmometry, determination of the mobility of the eyeballs, friendly eye work , study of the functions and structure of the optic nerve using computer perimetry and OCT of the optic nerve head, respectively, ultrasound scanning of the eyes and orbital structures).
According to the indications, a computed tomography of the orbits is performed, in this study, the walls of the orbits, changes in the oculomotor muscles, the retrobulbar part of the optic nerve and orbital vessels are seen in detail.
Patients, depending on the results of the examination, are examined routinely or urgently in our Polyclinic by prof. Brovkina A.F. After that, together with the Department of Ophthalmic Oncology, MGB, a complex of therapeutic measures is carried out.
1.Normalization of the function of the Thyroid Gland.
2. Drug treatment (determined jointly by an endocrinologist, ophthalmologist and neurologist, depending on the stage of the disease)
3. Radiation treatment.
4. Surgical (urgent (urgent) – removal of intraorbital pressure, restorative)
Diffuse toxic goiter of the thyroid gland
Diffuse toxic goiter (Graves’ disease, Basedow’s disease) is a thyroid disease, the main manifestation of which is a specific triad of symptoms: goiter (an increase in the volume of the thyroid gland more than 18 ml in women and 23 ml in men), tachycardia (palpitations) and endocrine ophthalmopathy ( exophthalmos, “bulging”).
The development of this disease is associated with the production of specific antibodies to the cells of the thyroid gland by the immune system. These antibodies stimulate the thyroid tissue to grow and increase the production of thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine), and cause edema in the fatty tissue around the eyeballs. An increased amount of thyroid hormones is called hyperthyroidism, and if it leads to the appearance of specific symptoms, thyrotoxicosis.
Symptoms of thyrotoxicosis
- hot feeling,
- increased sweating,
- minor tremor (trembling of fingers),
- decreased exercise tolerance,
- increased appetite.
- weight loss may occur in a short period of time,
90,013 patients are characterized by high emotional lability (tearfulness, aggressiveness).
The above symptoms can occur in patients in various combinations and are the result of an overdose of thyroid hormones.
It is believed that Graves’ disease is a disease in which the genetic characteristics of the immune system are implemented against the background of environmental factors. Stress, smoking, previous infectious diseases, childbirth can contribute to the realization of a genetic predisposition to diffuse toxic goiter.
Diagnosis of diffuse toxic goiter
- Determination of the level of thyroid hormones (cT3, cT4) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH),
- Determination of the level of antibodies to the TSH receptor in the blood,
- Ultrasound of the thyroid gland with color Doppler mapping.
Treatment of diffuse toxic goiter
Treatment of diffuse toxic goiter is diverse, however, its main goal is to effectively eliminate thyrotoxicosis.
There are three main treatments for diffuse toxic goiter:
- conservative treatment with thyrostatic drugs,
- surgical treatment,
- radioactive iodine therapy.
None of these methods fight the cause of Graves’ disease – antibodies. Traditionally, treatment begins with drug therapy with drugs that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones.These drugs include thiamazole (mercazolil, tyrosol) and propylthiouracil (propicil). Thyrostatic therapy can be prescribed either as a preparation for other methods of treatment (surgery or radioiodine therapy), which are carried out against the background of normal thyroid function, or as an independent course of treatment lasting 1-1.5 years. Further, therapy is canceled. The occurrence of a recurrence of thyrotoxicosis is an indication for choosing a more radical method of treatment. In some cases (when planning pregnancy, severe ophthalmopathy, intolerance to drug therapy, the patient’s desire), with a newly diagnosed toxic goiter, a short course of thyrostatics is used to eliminate thyrotoxicosis and immediately begin treatment with more radical methods.
The indication for surgical treatment of Graves’ disease is the large size of the thyroid gland (more than 50 ml), the presence of endocrine ophthalmopathy, allergic reactions to thyrostatic drugs, the patient’s desire. The entire thyroid gland is removed (thyroidectomy, extreme subtotal resection). In the future, the function of the thyroid gland is compensated for by taking levothyroxine sodium preparations. Most patients with diffuse toxic goiter can receive radioiodine therapy as a radical treatment.This technique is safe in the absence of postoperative complications, however, it is not always radical (it depends on the dose of radioiodine) and is difficult to obtain in our country.
The only contraindications to radioactive iodine treatment are pregnancy and breastfeeding.
ultrasound of the adrenal glands / Diagnostics / Articles about health / Articles and encyclopedia / madez.ru
What is ultrasound of the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are the endocrine glands of the endocrine system, and are paired.They are located above the upper pole of the kidneys in the space behind the peritoneum. The adrenal glands produce corticosteroids, male and female sex hormones, adrenaline and norepinephrine. They regulate metabolism, metabolic processes, contribute to the adaptation of the body in stressful situations. There are diseases that arise from a hormonal shift caused by various pathologies of the adrenal glands.
Like all organs, the adrenal glands have a number of pathologies:
onset of tumors,
adrenal hyperplasia (enlargement).
Adrenal neoplasms are difficult to diagnose due to their very small size. Especially there is some complexity of the study in people prone to obesity, associated with an increase in fatty tissue in the retroperitoneal space and inaccessibility of the adrenal glands. Experts resort to indirect signs of the diagnosis of neoplasms. According to a change in the size of the adrenal glands and their shape, deformation of nearby organs, it is assumed that there is a tumor process in the endocrine glands.
Why is it important to do an ultrasound of the adrenal glands?
Ultrasound diagnosis of the adrenal glands today is the primary research method that provides the most complete information about the existing pathological changes in the endocrine glands (adrenal glands). The picture of the endocrine glands without pathological changes practically does not differ from the echo structure of nearby tissues.
Ultrasound examination of the adrenal glands is preceded by a clinical examination by an endocrinologist, laboratory diagnostic methods, which include all tests for hormones.Ultrasound diagnostics are complemented by computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
So, ultrasound examination of the adrenal glands reveals various inflammatory processes, benign and malignant tumors, hematomas, cysts, hyperplasia, and dysfunction. Early ultrasound diagnostics carried out in time will prevent various disorders of the endocrine, reproductive, urinary and nervous systems.
To check / improve the performance of which organs do you need to do an ultrasound of the adrenal glands?
Endocrine system, urinary system, nervous system.
How is the adrenal ultrasound procedure performed?
Due to the inaccessibility of examining the adrenal glands, the following technique is used. The right adrenal gland is scanned with a deep breath. The left one is examined in the patient in an upright position from the back, and for longitudinal scanning the patient’s glands are placed on the right side.
How to prepare for an ultrasound of the adrenal glands?
Special preparation for this examination is not required, but for greater efficiency of ultrasound, it is recommended to exclude products that increase gas formation from the patient’s menu.Excessive gas buildup in the intestines makes it difficult to scan the adrenal glands.
Which doctors should I contact for advice on adrenal ultrasound?
Key words diagnostics, ultrasound
There are 4 analyzes in total. They will accurately show the endocrine pathology before the visit to the doctor | HEALTH
The doctor is primary, but …
– Alexey Vasilyevich, there is a widespread opinion that there are no absolutely healthy people, there are under-examined people.Laboratory technologies are now at their best, you can pass tests on the principle of “pass five – pay for one” at every corner. Is this a justified procedure?
– A few words about laboratory screening to identify the most common diseases in humans. You do not need to take a bunch of tests, and then, having received some indicators that differ from the normal reference values, look for similar symptoms of the disease on the Internet. This is a priori wrong. If you are worried about something in terms of health, first of all, you need to contact a competent doctor.He will examine you, take an anamnesis and then prescribe the minimum necessary tests to confirm or exclude any presumptive diagnosis. Once again: the doctor is primary!
– I heard about another approach – you can take one or two or three tests, and that’s enough. It is known that your QualityMed center provides such an opportunity.
– Our center specializes in health problems, longevity, anti-aging therapy. It is clear that we recommend a certain set of tests that a person interested in their health must pass.And already with these analyzes come for a consultation.
We can, by some laboratory indicator, identify the most common diseases, even at the stage of preclinical manifestations. As for the endocrine system, these are the three most common diseases in humans that we can recommend to identify BEFORE going to the doctor.
What you need to know about yourself?
– Let’s list the diseases for which you need to be tested immediately.
– Let’s go.This is diabetes mellitus (type 2) in the adult population. Its prevalence in the world is growing: according to statistics, up to 10% of people in the population have diabetes mellitus, and half of them do not know that they are sick, because in the initial stages there are no symptoms. For earlier detection (even at the stage of prediabetes), prevention and treatment, laboratory screening of this serious chronic disease is precisely necessary.
To diagnose diabetes, you need to donate fasting plasma glucose, no further tests are needed to detect diabetes.It is important to observe a number of conditions before taking the test: a person should be 8 hours without eating and at the same time not change anything in his usual diet. Often people, deciding to donate blood for sugar, begin to exclude sugar-containing foods. This is wrong: a person should be on a regular diet, but, as already mentioned, 8 hours before donating blood, do not take food. The analysis is taken from a vein in a probirow with glycolysis inhibitors, so it cannot be considered a routine biochemistry study. If the patient observes all the rules of delivery to QualityMed, an extremely accurate result is achieved.
In addition to fasting glucose, a glycated hemoglobin test can be done for a more complete picture. This is an indicator that reflects the average glucose level in a person for the previous three months before taking the test. In 2010, WHO introduced this indicator as an additional criterion for the diagnosis of diabetes.
The second most common is thyroid pathology, dysfunction, that is, abnormal hormone production. There may be a decrease in the production of hormones – hypothyroidism, and there may be an excess production of hormones – thyrotoxicosis.Accordingly, in the adult population, dysfunction of the thyroid gland occurs in 5–7%, and one in twentieth may suffer from these diseases. Here, also, without going to the endocrinologist, you can include in the list of blood tests ONLY for thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH. It is the most reliable and sensitive test in screening for thyroid disorders. And there is no need to check a lot of other indicators that can only be confusing.
– Is it worth checking one indicator of the thyroid gland – and you can be calm?
– In terms of evaluating the function, yes.If the TSH is normal, then that’s it, that’s it. If not normal, then you go to the endocrinologist and he explains what to do next. Often there is a situation when a person either read on the Internet about the need to check the thyroid gland, or ran into some kind of action and passed all the indicators. As a result, it turns out that TSH is normal, but some other indicators are not, but this has nothing to do with the pathology of the thyroid gland, these are most likely laboratory errors.
And, finally, the third most common endocrine pathology is a violation of calcium metabolism, the so-called hyperparathyroidism.Near the thyroid gland are the parathyroid glands, which produce parathyroid hormone, which affects calcium metabolism. With an increase in the production of this hormone, as a rule, due to benign tumors of the parathyroid glands, calcium is leached from the bones and an increase in absorption in the intestine, which leads to an increase in its level in the blood and the development of diseases such as osteoporosis, fractures, peptic ulcer and urolithiasis, and so on. Further. The prevalence of hyperparathyroidism in the general population is about 1%, and the incidence increases with age.One in a hundred, relatively speaking, may have this disease, but remain undiagnosed for a very long time. In our laboratory, for example, you need to pass one indicator: calcium. And this can also be done before a preliminary examination by an endocrinologist. To summarize: glucose, glycated hemoglobin (diabetes mellitus), TSH (thyroid dysfunction) and calcium (hyperparathyroidism). Ideally, you should look at ionized calcium, which is the most accurate for diagnosis.
Quality of life hormone
– What other tests can be taken just in case?
– Men with age-related androgen deficiency problems often come to the appointment, now this problem is often and widely discussed.This is the same as the menopause in women. An age-related decrease in female sex hormones is better known as menopause or menopause, respectively, in men the same situation: an age-related decrease in the production of male sex hormones (testosterone), androgen deficiency, or andropause. Starting from the age of 35, men have a decrease in testosterone secretion every year, all individually, but somewhere 2-3% per year. Accordingly, after 50 years, a large number of men may develop symptoms of androgen deficiency, which are directly related to the aging of the body.
– What are these symptoms and is it possible to prevent their occurrence with the help of timely diagnosis?
– We cannot prevent their appearance, but we can make up for the androgen deficiency. Such symptoms are not specific, they can accompany various diseases. The main of these symptoms are: a decrease in libido, a decrease in muscle strength, strength endurance, hair loss or lack of hair growth in androgen-dependent zones, when a man begins to shave less often, and so on.
There are special questionnaires that men can look at on the Internet and understand whether they have symptoms of androgen deficiency and whether they need to take testosterone. But the fact is that it is not always possible to establish the true level of this hormone using the usual methods of laboratory diagnostics, immunochemical (conditionally biochemistry). It is precisely the low testosterone concentrations in men, determined by conventional methods, that give a lot of errors. The person comes in with complaints, but the testosterone is determined to be normal and the patient is not treated.The point is that for a more accurate diagnosis of testosterone deficiency, all international endocrinological societies recommend the determination of testosterone by tandem mass spectrometry, which most accurately allows you to estimate the amount of testosterone, timely prescribe testosterone replacement therapy and, most importantly, improve the quality of life of a man! There are no such technologies in Yekaterinburg yet, but our center has signed a contract with a leading Moscow endocrinological institution: when you come to us, you can take an analysis, and specialists will analyze the entire spectrum within a week.There is not only testosterone, there are also a number of intermediate androgens that are important for a more accurate diagnosis. This is a unique technique, it is used only in our center.
– What kind of diagnostics can women expect?
– Women also have a number of conditions associated with excess production of male sex hormones, the so-called hyperandrogenism syndrome. The main manifestations of increased testosterone levels in women are: hirsutism (hair growth on the face, chest, midline of the abdomen, inner thighs), menstrual irregularities (its lengthening or complete cessation) and androgen-dependent alopecia (baldness in the temples, forehead – in the male type).This is one of the manifestations of a fairly common disease – polycystic ovary disease, which is also the main cause of infertility. So, laboratory hyperandrogenism (increased testosterone levels) is one of the main diagnostic criteria. The prevalence of polycystic ovary disease among women examined for infertility is about half of the cases. The problem in laboratory diagnostics is about the same as in men: the accuracy of testosterone determination, since low testosterone concentrations in men correspond to high ones in women.For the diagnosis of these conditions, the “gold standard” is the method of mass spectrometry, which I have already mentioned, and our laboratory has a direct contract with our Moscow colleagues.
– Alexey Vasilyevich, summarizing, what is the uniqueness of your center?
– Firstly, QualityMed has all the necessary laboratory technologies for high-quality, accurate analysis. Secondly, there is a unique opportunity for the determination of steroid hormones by mass spectrometry, the only one in Yekaterinburg, under a contract with a leading endocrinological institution in Moscow.And, of course, we have competent highly professional specialists, endocrinologists and gynecologists who are always ready to give qualified advice.