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Which gland in the body regulates many organ systems: What is the Endocrine System?

16.4 Endocrine System – Concepts of Biology

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • List the different types of hormones and explain their roles in maintaining homeostasis
  • Explain how hormones work
  • Explain how hormone production is regulated
  • Describe the role of different glands in the endocrine system
  • Explain how the different glands work together to maintain homeostasis

The endocrine system produces hormones that function to control and regulate many different body processes. The endocrine system coordinates with the nervous system to control the functions of the other organ systems. Cells of the endocrine system produce molecular signals called hormones. These cells may compose endocrine glands, may be tissues or may be located in organs or tissues that have functions in addition to hormone production. Hormones circulate throughout the body and stimulate a response in cells that have receptors able to bind with them. The changes brought about in the receiving cells affect the functioning of the organ system to which they belong. Many of the hormones are secreted in response to signals from the nervous system, thus the two systems act in concert to effect changes in the body.

Hormones

Maintaining homeostasis within the body requires the coordination of many different systems and organs. One mechanism of communication between neighboring cells, and between cells and tissues in distant parts of the body, occurs through the release of chemicals called hormones. Hormones are released into body fluids, usually blood, which carries them to their target cells where they elicit a response. The cells that secrete hormones are often located in specific organs, called endocrine glands, and the cells, tissues, and organs that secrete hormones make up the endocrine system. Examples of endocrine organs include the pancreas, which produces the hormones insulin and glucagon to regulate blood-glucose levels, the adrenal glands, which produce hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine that regulate responses to stress, and the thyroid gland, which produces thyroid hormones that regulate metabolic rates.

The endocrine glands differ from the exocrine glands. Exocrine glands secrete chemicals through ducts that lead outside the gland (not to the blood). For example, sweat produced by sweat glands is released into ducts that carry sweat to the surface of the skin. The pancreas has both endocrine and exocrine functions because besides releasing hormones into the blood. It also produces digestive juices, which are carried by ducts into the small intestine.

Career Connection

Career in Action

Endocrinologist
An endocrinologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating endocrine disorders. An endocrine surgeon specializes in the surgical treatment of endocrine diseases and glands. Some of the diseases that are managed by endocrinologists include disorders of the pancreas (diabetes mellitus), disorders of the pituitary (gigantism, acromegaly, and pituitary dwarfism), disorders of the thyroid gland (goiter and Graves’ disease), and disorders of the adrenal glands (Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease).

Endocrinologists are required to assess patients and diagnose endocrine disorders through extensive use of laboratory tests. Many endocrine diseases are diagnosed using tests that stimulate or suppress endocrine organ functioning. Blood samples are then drawn to determine the effect of stimulating or suppressing an endocrine organ on the production of hormones. For example, to diagnose diabetes mellitus, patients are required to fast for 12 to 24 hours. They are then given a sugary drink, which stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin to decrease blood-glucose levels. A blood sample is taken one to two hours after the sugar drink is consumed. If the pancreas is functioning properly, the blood-glucose level will be within a normal range. Another example is the A1C test, which can be performed during blood screening. The A1C test measures average blood-glucose levels over the past two to three months. The A1C test is an indicator of how well blood glucose is being managed over a long time.

Once a disease such as diabetes has been diagnosed, endocrinologists can prescribe lifestyle changes and medications to treat the disease. Some cases of diabetes mellitus can be managed by exercise, weight loss, and a healthy diet; in other cases, medications may be required to enhance insulin’s production or effect. If the disease cannot be controlled by these means, the endocrinologist may prescribe insulin injections.

In addition to clinical practice, endocrinologists may also be involved in primary research and development activities. For example, ongoing islet transplant research is investigating how healthy pancreas islet cells may be transplanted into diabetic patients. Successful islet transplants may allow patients to stop taking insulin injections.

How Hormones Work

Hormones cause changes in target cells by binding to specific cell-surface or intracellular hormone receptors, molecules embedded in the cell membrane or floating in the cytoplasm with a binding site that matches a binding site on the hormone molecule. In this way, even though hormones circulate throughout the body and come into contact with many different cell types, they only affect cells that possess the necessary receptors. Receptors for a specific hormone may be found on or in many different cells or may be limited to a small number of specialized cells. For example, thyroid hormones act on many different tissue types, stimulating metabolic activity throughout the body. Cells can have many receptors for the same hormone but often also possess receptors for different types of hormones. The number of receptors that respond to a hormone determines the cell’s sensitivity to that hormone, and the resulting cellular response. Additionally, the number of receptors available to respond to a hormone can change over time, resulting in increased or decreased cell sensitivity. In up-regulation, the number of receptors increases in response to rising hormone levels, making the cell more sensitive to the hormone and allowing for more cellular activity. When the number of receptors decreases in response to rising hormone levels, called down-regulation, cellular activity is reduced.

Endocrine Glands

The endocrine glands secrete hormones into the surrounding interstitial fluid; those hormones then diffuse into blood and are carried to various organs and tissues within the body. The endocrine glands include the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal glands, gonads, pineal, and pancreas.

The pituitary gland, sometimes called the hypophysis, is located at the base of the brain (Figure 16.13a). It is attached to the hypothalamus. The posterior lobe stores and releases oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone produced by the hypothalamus. The anterior lobe responds to hormones produced by the hypothalamus by producing its own hormones, most of which regulate other hormone-producing glands.

Figure
16.13

(a) The pituitary gland sits at the base of the brain, just above the brain stem. (b) The parathyroid glands are located on the posterior of the thyroid gland. (c) The adrenal glands are on top of the kidneys. d) The pancreas is found between the stomach and the small intestine. (credit: modification of work by NCI, NIH)

The anterior pituitary produces six hormones: growth hormone, prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone. Growth hormone stimulates cellular activities like protein synthesis that promote growth. Prolactin stimulates the production of milk by the mammary glands. The other hormones produced by the anterior pituitary regulate the production of hormones by other endocrine tissues (Table 16.1). The posterior pituitary is significantly different in structure from the anterior pituitary. It is a part of the brain, extending down from the hypothalamus, and contains mostly nerve fibers that extend from the hypothalamus to the posterior pituitary.

The thyroid gland is located in the neck, just below the larynx and in front of the trachea (Figure 16. 13b). It is a butterfly-shaped gland with two lobes that are connected. The thyroid follicle cells synthesize the hormone thyroxine, which is also known as T4 because it contains four atoms of iodine, and triiodothyronine, also known as T3 because it contains three atoms of iodine. T3 and T4 are released by the thyroid in response tothyroid-stimulating hormone produced by the anterior pituitary, and both T3 and T4 have the effect of stimulating metabolic activity in the body and increasing energy use. A third hormone, calcitonin, is also produced by the thyroid. Calcitonin is released in response to rising calcium ion concentrations in the blood and has the effect of reducing those levels.

Most people have four parathyroid glands; however, the number can vary from two to six. These glands are located on the posterior surface of the thyroid gland (Figure 16.13b).

The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid hormone increases blood calcium concentrations when calcium ion levels fall below normal.

The adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney (Figure 16.13c). The adrenal glands consist of an outer adrenal cortex and an inner adrenal medulla. These regions secrete different hormones.

The adrenal cortex produces mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, and androgens. The main mineralocorticoid is aldosterone, which regulates the concentration of ions in urine, sweat, and saliva. Aldosterone release from the adrenal cortex is stimulated by a decrease in blood concentrations of sodium ions, blood volume, or blood pressure, or by an increase in blood potassium levels. The glucocorticoids maintain proper blood-glucose levels between meals. They also control a response to stress by increasing glucose synthesis from fats and proteins and interact with epinephrine to cause vasoconstriction. Androgens are sex hormones that are produced in small amounts by the adrenal cortex. They do not normally affect sexual characteristics and may supplement sex hormones released from the gonads. The adrenal medulla contains two types of secretory cells: one that produces epinephrine (adrenaline) and another that produces norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Epinephrine and norepinephrine cause immediate, short-term changes in response to stressors, inducing the so-called fight-or-flight response. The responses include increased heart rate, breathing rate, cardiac muscle contractions, and blood-glucose levels. They also accelerate the breakdown of glucose in skeletal muscles and stored fats in adipose tissue, and redirect blood flow toward skeletal muscles and away from skin and viscera. The release of epinephrine and norepinephrine is stimulated by neural impulses from the sympathetic nervous system that originate from the hypothalamus.

The pancreas is an elongate organ located between the stomach and the proximal portion of the small intestine (Figure 16. 13d). It contains both exocrine cells that excrete digestive enzymes and endocrine cells that release hormones.

The endocrine cells of the pancreas form clusters called pancreatic islets or the islets of Langerhans. Among the cell types in each pancreatic islet are the alpha cells, which produce the hormone glucagon, and the beta cells, which produce the hormone insulin. These hormones regulate blood-glucose levels. Alpha cells release glucagon as blood-glucose levels decline. When blood-glucose levels rise, beta cells release insulin. Glucagon causes the release of glucose to the blood from the liver, and insulin facilitates the uptake of glucose by the body’s cells.

The gonads—the male testes and female ovaries—produce steroid hormones. The testes produce androgens, testosterone being the most prominent, which allow for the development of secondary sex characteristics and the production of sperm cells. The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, which cause secondary sex characteristics, regulate production of eggs, control pregnancy, and prepare the body for childbirth.

There are several organs whose primary functions are non-endocrine but that also possess endocrine functions. These include the heart, kidneys, intestines, thymus, and adipose tissue. The heart has endocrine cells in the walls of the atria that release a hormone in response to increased blood volume. It causes a reduction in blood volume and blood pressure, and reduces the concentration of Na+ in the blood.

The gastrointestinal tract produces several hormones that aid in digestion. The endocrine cells are located in the mucosa of the GI tract throughout the stomach and small intestine. They trigger the release of gastric juices, which help to break down and digest food in the GI tract.

The kidneys also possess endocrine function. Two of these hormones regulate ion concentrations and blood volume or pressure. Erythropoietin (EPO) is released by kidneys in response to low oxygen levels. EPO triggers the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow. EPO has been used by athletes to improve performance. But EPO doping has its risks, since it thickens the blood and increases strain on the heart; it also increases the risk of blood clots and therefore heart attacks and stroke.

The thymus is found behind the sternum. The thymus produces hormones referred to as thymosins, which contribute to the development of the immune response in infants. Adipose tissue, or fat tissue, produces the hormone leptin in response to food intake. Leptin produces a feeling of satiety after eating, reducing the urge for further eating.

Endocrine Glands and Their Associated Hormones

Endocrine Gland Associated Hormones Effect
Pituitary (anterior) growth hormone promotes growth of body tissues
prolactin promotes milk production
thyroid-stimulating hormone stimulates thyroid hormone release
adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulates hormone release by adrenal cortex
follicle-stimulating hormone stimulates gamete production
luteinizing hormone stimulates androgen production by gonads in males; stimulates ovulation and production of estrogen and progesterone in females
Pituitary (posterior) antidiuretic hormone stimulates water reabsorption by kidneys
oxytocin stimulates uterine contractions during childbirth
Thyroid thyroxine, triiodothyronine stimulate metabolism
calcitonin reduces blood Ca2+ levels
Parathyroid parathyroid hormone increases blood Ca2+ levels
Adrenal (cortex) aldosterone increases blood Na+ levels
cortisol, corticosterone, cortisone increase blood-glucose levels
Adrenal (medulla) epinephrine, norepinephrine stimulate fight-or-flight response
Pancreas insulin reduces blood-glucose levels
glucagon increases blood-glucose levels

Table
16. 1

Regulation of Hormone Production

Hormone production and release are primarily controlled by negative feedback, as described in the discussion on homeostasis. In this way, the concentration of hormones in blood is maintained within a narrow range. For example, the anterior pituitary signals the thyroid to release thyroid hormones. Increasing levels of these hormones in the blood then give feedback to the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary to inhibit further signaling to the thyroid gland (Figure 16.14).

Visual Connection

Visual Connection

Figure
16.14

The anterior pituitary stimulates the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Increasing levels of these hormones in the blood result in feedback to the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary to inhibit further signaling to the thyroid gland. (credit: modification of work by Mikael Häggström)

Goiter, a disease caused by iodine deficiency, results in the inability of the thyroid gland to form T3 and T4. The body typically attempts to compensate by producing greater amounts of TSH. Which of the following symptoms would you expect goiter to cause?

  1. Hypothyroidism, resulting in weight gain, cold sensitivity, and reduced mental activity.
  2. Hyperthyroidism, resulting in weight loss, profuse sweating, and increased heart rate.
  3. Hyperthyroidism, resulting in weight gain, cold sensitivity, and reduced mental activity.
  4. Hypothyroidism, resulting in weight loss, profuse sweating, and increased heart rate.

10.6: Interaction of Organ Systems

Teamwork

Every player on a softball team has a special job to perform. Each of the orange team’s players in Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\) has his part of the infield or outfield covered if the ball comes his way. Other players on the orange team cover other parts of the field or pitch or catch the ball. Playing softball clearly requires teamwork. The human body is like a softball team in that regard. All the organ systems of the human body must work together as a team to keep the body alive and well. Teamwork within the body begins with communication.

Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Softball

Communication among Organ Systems

Communication among organ systems is vital if they are to work together as a team. They must be able to respond to each other and change their responses as needed to keep the body in balance. Communication among organ systems is controlled mainly by the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system.

The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary functions. For example, the autonomic nervous system controls heart rate, blood flow, and digestion. You don’t have to tell your heart to beat faster or to consciously squeeze muscles to push food through the digestive system. In fact, you don’t have to even think about these functions at all. The autonomic nervous system orchestrates all the signals needed to control them. It sends messages between parts of the nervous system and between the nervous system and other organ systems via chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.

Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): The figure illustrates the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, brain stem, spinal cord, cerebellum, pineal gland, and cerebrum.

The endocrine system is the system of glands that secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, endocrine hormones circulate to cells everywhere in the body. The endocrine system is under the control of the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. The hypothalamus secretes hormones that travel directly to cells of the pituitary gland, which is located beneath it. The pituitary gland is the master gland of the endocrine system. Most of its hormones either turn on or turn off other endocrine glands. For example, if the pituitary gland secretes thyroid stimulating hormone, the hormone travels through the circulation to the thyroid gland, which is stimulated to secrete thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone then travels to cells throughout the body, where it increases their metabolism.

Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): The image shows a concept map of how the fight-or-flight response occurs. A treat (an attack, harmful event, or threat to survive) leads to the brain processing the signals – beginning in the amygdala, and then the hypothalamus. ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) is released by the pituitary gland. This causes cortisol and adrenaline to be released. The physical effects include heart rate increase, bladder relaxation, tunnel vision, shaking, dilated pupils, flushed face, dry mouth, slowed digestion, and hearing loss.

Examples of Organ System Interactions

An increase in cellular metabolism requires more cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is a good example of organ system interactions because it is a basic life process that occurs in all living cells.

Cellular Respiration

Cellular respiration is the intracellular process that breaks down glucose with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and energy in the form of ATP molecules. It is the process by which cells obtain usable energy to power other cellular processes. Which organ systems are involved in cellular respiration? The glucose needed for cellular respiration comes from the digestive system via the cardiovascular system. The oxygen needed for cellular respiration comes from the respiratory system also via the cardiovascular system. The carbon dioxide produced in cellular respiration leaves the body by the opposite route. In short, cellular respiration requires at a minimum the digestive, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems.

Fight-or-Flight Response

The well-known fight-or-flight response is a good example of how the nervous and endocrine systems control other organ system responses. The fight-or-flight response begins when the nervous system perceives sudden danger, as shown in Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\). The brain sends a message to the endocrine system (via the pituitary gland) for the adrenal glands to secrete their hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones flood the circulation and affect other organ systems throughout the body, including the cardiovascular, urinary, sensory, and digestive systems. Specific responses include increased heart rate, bladder relaxation, tunnel vision, and a shunting of blood away from the digestive system and toward the muscles, brain, and other vital organs needed to fight or flee.

Digesting Food

Digesting food requires teamwork between the digestive system and several other organ systems, including the nervous, cardiovascular, and muscular systems. When you eat a meal, the organs of the digestive system need more blood to perform their digestive functions. Food entering the digestive systems causes nerve impulses to be sent to the brain; in response, the brain sends messages to the cardiovascular system to increase heart rate and dilate blood vessels in the digestive organs. Food passes through the organs of the digestive tract by rhythmic contractions of smooth muscles in the walls of the organs, so the muscular system is also needed for digestion. After food is digested, nutrients from the food are absorbed into the blood of the vessels lining the small intestine. Any remaining food waste is excreted through the large intestine.

Playing Softball

The men playing softball in Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\) are using multiple organ systems in this voluntary activity. Their nervous systems are focused on observing and preparing to respond to the next play. Their other systems are being controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Organ systems they are using include the muscular, skeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. Can you explain how each of these organ systems is involved in playing softball?

Feature: Reliable Sources

Teamwork among organ systems allows the human organism to work like a finely tuned machine. Or at least it does until one of the organ systems fails. When that happens, other organ systems interacting in the same overall process will also be affected. This is especially likely if the system affected plays a controlling role in the process. An example is type 1 diabetes. This disorder occurs when the pancreas does not secrete the endocrine hormone insulin. Insulin normally is secreted in response to an increasing level of glucose in the blood, and it brings the level of glucose back to normal by stimulating body cells to take up insulin from the blood.

Learn more about type 1 diabetes. Use several reliable Internet sources to answer the following questions:

  1. What causes the endocrine system to fail to produce insulin in type 1 diabetes?
  2. Which organ systems are affected by high blood glucose levels if type 1 diabetes is not controlled? What are some of the specific effects?
  3. How can blood glucose levels be controlled in patients with type 1 diabetes?

Review

  1. What is the autonomic nervous system?
  2. How do the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system communicate with other organ systems so the systems can interact?
  3. Explain how the brain communicates with the endocrine system.
  4. What is the role of the pituitary gland in the endocrine system?
  5. Identify organ systems that play a role in cellular respiration.
  6. How does the hormone adrenaline prepare the body to fight or flee? What specific physiological changes does it bring about?
  7. Explain the role of the muscular system in the digestion of food.
  8. Describe how three different organ systems are involved when a player makes a particular play in softball, such as catching a fly ball.
  9. True or False. The autonomic nervous system controls conscious movements.
  10. True or False. Hormones travel throughout the body.
  11. True or False. The pituitary gland directly secretes thyroid hormone.
  12. What are two types of molecules that the body uses to communicate between organ systems?
  13. Explain why hormones can have such a wide variety of effects on the body.
  14. Heart rate can be affected by:
    1. Hormones
    2. Neurotransmitters
    3. The fight-or-flight response
    4. All of the above
  15. Which gland secretes the hormone cortisol?

Explore More

Without the muscles lining the GI tract, you would be unable to digest food. Watch this short animation of food moving through the GI tract. It illustrates very clearly the necessary interaction of the muscular and digestive systems in the digestive process.

Hormones – Physiopedia

A hormone is a chemical transmitter substance produced by cells of the body and transported by the bloodstream to the cells and organs on which it has a specific regulatory effect. They are an integral part of the endocrine system.

  • Hormones act as chemical messengers to body organs, stimulating certain life processes and retarding others. Growth, reproduction, control of metabolic processes, sexual attributes, and even mental conditions and personality traits are dependent on hormones[1].
  • The word “hormone” comes from a Greek word that means “to spur on.” This reflects how hormones act as catalysts for chemical changes at the cellular level that are necessary for growth, development and energy.[2]
  • A collection of glands and organs that produce and regulate hormones in the bloodstream to control many functions of the body.
  • Hormones that are made in the body’s glands work like messages. Just like with other types of communication, the proper message must reach its intended destination to be effective. For this reason, certain hormones are designed to end up only at certain cells, called target cells.
  • This system overlaps with the nervous system and exocrine system, and its responsibilities include metabolism, growth and sexual development. Most animals that have advanced physiology, such as vertebrates and crustaceans, have an endocrine system.[3]

Steroid and Peptide Hormones[edit | edit source]

Steroid and peptide hormones are two types of hormones in the body. The main differences

  • Steroid hormones: lipid-soluble and can diffuse easily into the cell membrane of the target cell to bind to the receptors inside the cytoplasm to act as second messengers
  • Peptide hormones: water-soluble and connects with receptors at the membrane as it can’t diffuse through the membrane. Since peptide hormones bind to receptors at the surface, their effect is faster than steroid hormones.[4]

Unlike exocrine glands (sweat, salivary), endocrine glands secrete their respective substances directly into the bloodstream rather than through a duct. These endocrine glands belong to the body’s control system and they produce hormones which help to regulate the functions of cells and tissues. The endocrine system involves many organ systems and hormones, many of which are still being investigated and understood. 

The major glands of the endocrine system are the listed below:

  1. Pituitary gland: Enclosed deep within the skull (the size of a pea). Hangs on a stalk at the base of the brain. It consists of an anterior portion that produces hormones and a posterior portion that has many neural links. Regarded as the master gland as it controls the functions of all the other glands (such as the adrenal, thyroid glands) in the endocrine system. The pituitary gland stimulates the adrenal gland to secrete cortisol, a steroid hormone controls a range of activities from controlling the body’s metabolism to stimulating blood pressure. The pituitary gland also secretes prolactin, which stimulates the production of milk.

2. Pineal gland: Located between the two halves of the brain. It produces melatonin which influences the body’s Circadian Rhythm (the body’s sleep/wake cycle).

3. Thyroid gland: Found at the front of the neck, low in the throat, between the windpipe. Brownish red, it has blood vessels coursing through it. It secretes hormones that are collectively called thyroid hormones. The most prominent are T3 and T4, which influence the body’s rate of metabolism.

4.Parathyroid glands: Consist of four small glands that are located behind the thyroids in the neck. They influence the calcium levels in the body by producing a hormone called Parathyroid Hormone. Sometimes, when the gland produces excess parathyroid hormones, it can have negative effects such as brittle bones and kidney stones.

5. Adrenal glands: Sit atop the kidneys and are no larger than a walnut. These glands produce over 150 hormones that regulate different functions in the body. The most well known is Adrenaline, which triggers the flight or fight response. In other words, this is a stress hormone that helps the organism to either face a dangerous situation or to avoid it altogether. It does this by:

    • Increasing blood sugar levels
    • Increasing the blood supply to the muscles, particularly to the limbs.
    • Dilating the pupils
    • Increasing the heart rate
    • Tightening the jaw muscles.

6. Pancreas: Exocrine as well as an endocrine gland (sits behind the stomach). It is roughly 6 inches long and rather flat. The pancreas has two primary roles to play:

  • Producing digestive enzymes
  • Producing hormones such as insulin and glucagon[5].

7. Gonads: The ovaries are specific to females and are located in the pelvic cavity. While the testes are specific to males. Ovaries produce estrogen that is important for reproduction and female sex characteristics. Testes produce testosterone that is responsible for male sex characteristics. Also, it results in increased muscle mass and body hair.

To a lesser degree, organs such as the heart, lungs and stomach are involved in hormone management.

The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that has a vital role in controlling many bodily functions including the release of hormones from the pituitary gland (some people don’t consider it a gland)[6]:

  • Located on the undersurface of the brain. It lies just below the thalamus and above the pituitary gland, to which it is attached by a stalk. It is an extremely complex part of the brain containing many regions with highly specialised functions. In humans, the hypothalamus is approximately the size of a pea and accounts for less than 1% of the weight of the brain.
  • One of the major functions of the hypothalamus is to maintain homeostasis, i.e. to keep the human body in a stable, constant condition.
  • Responds to a variety of signals from the internal and external environment including body temperature, hunger, feelings of being full up after eating, blood pressure and levels of hormones in the circulation.
  • Responds to stress and controls our daily bodily rhythms such as the night-time secretion of melatonin from the pineal gland and the changes in cortisol (the stress hormone) and body temperature over a 24-hour period.
  • Collects and combines all above information and puts changes in place to correct any imbalances[7].

Problems of the endocrine system[edit | edit source]

Numerous problems can occur in the endocrine system. These can be considered as excessive or deficient hormone production. Endocrine organs are also prone to tumours (adenomas) which can over produce hormones. See Metabolic/Endocrine Disorders

  • Hyperthyroidism: occurs when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than necessary. This can be caused by a range of things, including autoimmune conditions. eg. Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder and common form of hyperthyroidism.
  • Hypothyroidism: occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.
  • Cushing syndrome: occurs due to high levels of the hormone cortisol.
  • Addison disease: occurs when the adrenal glands don’t produce enough cortisol or aldosterone.
  • Diabetes
  • Estrogen dominance: changes in sleep patterns, changes in weight and appetite, higher perceived stress, slowed metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): infertility, weight gain, higher risk for diabetes, acne, abnormal hair growth
  • Low estrogen: low sex drive, reproductive problems, menstrual irregularity, changes in mood .
  • Low testosterone: erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, weight gain, fatigue, mood-related problems[8]

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with endocrine systems at certain doses. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be derailed by hormone disruptors. Specifically, endocrine disruptors may be associated with the development of learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems deformations of the body that includes breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid and other cancers; sexual development problems such as feminizing of males or masculinizing effects on females, etc. [9]

There are some 800 chemicals suspected as being capable of interfering with hormone receptors, synthesis, conversion or cell signalling during critical periods of cell and organ development. Some of these occur naturally, but many are synthetic and used in agriculture (growth promoters, pesticides and wetting agents), plasticizers, as flame-retardants in textiles, clothing and furnishings, non-stick coatings, food additives, electronics and cosmetics, personal care products and perfumes.[10]

Endocrine & Thyroid Cancer Types, Stages, and Risk Factors

Experts at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center have vast experience in diagnosing, treating, and managing every type of endocrine disease.

As our patient, you can feel certain that you’re receiving care from a team dedicated to excellence every step of the way.

About the Endocrine System

The endocrine system is a collection of glands in several areas of the body. The glands secrete hormones directly into the circulatory system for delivery to certain organs.

Hormones regulate functions like:

Cancer can affect any of the body’s tissues, including the endocrine glands.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland on the front of the throat, with two lobes connected by an isthmus.

Thyroid hormones help regulate:

  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure

Thyroid cancer is the most common type of endocrine cancer, diagnosed in about 64,000 people each year. In most cases, it’s a very treatable form of cancer.

Endocrine cancer can also affect the pancreas, which is an organ in the belly.

Cells in the pancreas have two jobs:

  • Exocrine cells aid digestion through the secretion of enzymes.
  • Endocrine cells control blood sugar levels through the release of hormones.

Cancer can affect both types of cells in the pancreas. Cancers that come from the endocrine cells are neuroendocrine tumors.

Learn more about endocrine pancreatic cancer care at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

Surgical oncologists at our Endocrine and Thyroid Cancer Treatment Program treat cancer involving the exocrine cell.

What Is Endocrine Cancer?

Cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth.

When the cells of an endocrine gland begin to change and grow out of control, tumors — both benign and malignant — can form.

Because endocrine tumors come from cells that make hormones, the tumors themselves can begin to make hormones. This upsets the delicate hormonal balance that keeps the body working properly.

Both benign and malignant tumors can be functioning or non-functioning.

  • Functioning tumors are tumors that begin making hormones on their own.
  • Non-functioning tumors are those that do not produce hormones.

Neuroendocrine tumors are endocrine tumors that also affect the nervous system.

The neuroendocrine system includes cells that have properties of both endocrine cells and nerve cells.

These cells exist in organs like the lungs and in the gastrointestinal tract. They perform many functions specific to the organ or structure in which they exist.

What Is Thyroid Cancer?

The thyroid gland absorbs iodine from the bloodstream to produce hormones that help regulate a person’s metabolism.

Some people have an underactive thyroid gland, leading to a condition called hypothyroidism. Others have an overactive thyroid, which leads to hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid cancer differs from either of these conditions.

Thyroid cancer is the result of cells that change and grow out of control. It’s the most common type of endocrine cancer, and the rate of some types of thyroid cancer is on the rise.

Tumors can grow on the thyroid and disrupt its functioning. The cancerous cells can also spread beyond the thyroid gland.

Women are more likely to have thyroid cancer than men.

Why Choose UPMC for Endocrine and Thyroid Cancer Care?

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, you’ll receive personal care in a timely fashion.

We offer:

  • Advanced testing and imaging methods.
  • Innovative surgical techniques for endocrine and thyroid cancer.
  • A multidisciplinary team specializing in coordinated cancer care.

And you have access to leading-edge endocrine cancer treatments through clinical trials.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in western Pennsylvania. This is one reason we attract leaders in cancer research and clinical practice.

If you would like to know more about endocrine and thyroid cancer care at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, call us at 412-647-2811. Or, complete an endocrine and thyroid cancer contact form.

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How is the Endocrine System Related to Diabetes?

Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder in the United States, with over 10% of Americans struggling with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. But what exactly is an endocrine disorder, and how is the endocrine system related to diabetes?

Quite simply, diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot release the normal regulatory hormones, or when the body cannot respond properly to those hormones. The result is an inability to regulate blood sugar levels, which can cause serious and wide-reaching symptoms. To understand how this happens, we first have to understand how the pancreas functions in a healthy endocrine system.

What is the Endocrine System?

The endocrine system consists of all the glands in your body that secrete hormones. This includes, among others, the pituitary gland in the brain, which regulates growth; the ovaries and testes, which control the reproduction and secondary sex characteristics; and the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar and metabolism.

How does the endocrine system work?

Although the glands and hormones that comprise the endocrine system are diverse, they share one goal: to maintain homeostasis or a stable and balanced condition inside the body. The endocrine system works together with the nervous and immune systems to sense changes in your body’s condition and return things to normal. To do this, it releases hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones travel through the bloodstream to other organs and tissues, where they influence cells to behave differently.

Understanding the endocrine system: How does the pancreas work?

It’s easiest to understand endocrine regulation through an example. Imagine you’ve just eaten an apple. By eating the apple, you’ve unknowingly caused huge physiological changes in your body. For instance, digesting the sugars from the fruit increases your body’s level of glucose, a sugar molecule that provides quick energy for cells.

Although glucose is useful, too much is harmful. Hyperglycemia, or an abnormally high concentration of glucose in the blood, causes symptoms ranging from thirst and vomiting to coma and death if left untreated. To prevent these outcomes, your body needs to store any glucose that isn’t used immediately as a longer-term form of energy. That’s where the pancreas comes in.

The pancreas senses when there is extra glucose in the blood and releases insulin, a hormone that helps cells either use up or store the energy from the apple. Once the body has extracted all the energy possible, blood glucose levels decrease, signaling the pancreas to stop releasing so much insulin. This cycle plays out every time we eat, keeping our body properly fueled.

For people with diabetes, however, this key regulatory process doesn’t work as it should.

How is the Endocrine System Related to Diabetes?

In a person with diabetes, the pancreas either cannot create any insulin or cannot create enough insulin to regulate blood sugar.  Without insulin, the body cannot use glucose as a source of energy. To replace the energy normally gained from glucose, the body must break down fat instead, causing a buildup of a toxic byproduct known as ketones. Eventually, this results in diabetic ketoacidosis—a life-threatening condition in which excess ketones make the blood too acidic.

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are caused by problems with insulin production or response and are, as a result, inextricably linked to the endocrine system. The difference is in the type and cause of the malfunction:

  • Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own endocrine system. Over time, the pancreas loses all of its insulin-producing cells, and the patient becomes fully reliant on synthetic insulin to manage their blood glucose.
  • Type 2 Diabetes develops over a longer period of time when the body becomes resistant to insulin. As this resistance builds, the pancreas must work harder and harder to meet the body’s demand for insulin until it can no longer keep up.

A patient with Type 2 diabetes may be able to help their pancreas regulate their blood sugar through exercise and diet. However, people with Type 1 diabetes are completely unable to produce insulin, so they must essentially act as their own pancreas by monitoring their blood glucose and administering enough insulin to cope with any changes.

Get Help With Diabetes

The invention of synthetic insulin has transformed diabetes from a death sentence into a completely survivable condition. With proper management, you can compensate for the endocrine dysfunction that diabetes has caused. To learn how to take control of your Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, contact us today.

What is the pituitary gland?

Our bodies are regulated by hormones which are chemicals that allow communication between different cells and parts of the body. Endocrine glands release hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones regulate many functions in our bodies, including mood, growth and development, tissue function, and metabolism. Hormones are typically produced by endocrine glands and together these glands are referred to as the endocrine system. The study of this system is called endocrinology.

The pituitary gland is sometimes referred to as the master gland and abnormalities in this gland can have a serious affect on the health of patients. The gland sits at the base of the brain and is roughly the size and shape of a bean (Figure 1). The pituitary is directly under the optic nerve which transmits information from our eyes to our brains (Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3). A pituitary adenoma can cause the gland to grow abnormally and press onto the optic nerve and onto important areas of the brain which surround the gland (Figure 4). This is why patients with pituitary adenoma often experience impaired vision and headaches. Pituitary adenomas are benign tumours and are typically slow-growing. A pituitary adenoma may be present for several years before the patient becomes aware of symptoms. Pituitary adenomas are generally not malignant tumours. Such tumours are called pituitary carcinomas and are very rare. However, pituitary adenomas can have a serious affect on a patient’s health as they can cause pressure on brain structures surrounding the gland. Some adenomas also interrupt the normal function of the pituitary gland. This can cause the gland to produce excessive amounts of active hormones which can lead to the patient being hormonally imbalanced.

The pituitary gland, also known as the hypophysis, lies immediately beneath the hypothalamus, resting in a depression of the base of the skull called the pituitary fossa, also called the Turkish saddle (sella turcica) (Figure 1).

The pituitary gland is composed of two distinctive parts:

  • The anterior pituitary or adenohypophysis is composed of cells that secrete hormones, such as growth hormone, prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) as well as luteinising hormone (LH) & follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
  • The posterior pituitary or neurohypophysis contains nerve cell axons reaching down from the hypothalamus and they release oxytocin and vasopressin.
  • The pituitary stalk connects the hypophysis to the base of the brain, to the hypothalamus.

Figure 1. Anatomy of Pituitary

The best way to see the pituitary gland is with MRI. Figure 2 and 3 shows an MRI scan of a normal pituitary from the side and from the frontal view. Please click on the figures to see an enlarged image. Figure 4 shows a large pituitary adenoma from the side.

Figure 2. Normal pituitary gland on MRI. Side view, MRI scan cut through the nose

Figure 3. Normal pituitary gland on MRI. Frontal view, cut through the two ears

Figure 4. Pituitary adenoma on schematic drawing (upper part of the figure) and on MRI, side view (lower part of the figure)

The function of the pituitary gland

The function of the pituitary gland is to release hormones to the body to regulate various functions such as growth and sexual functions. The pituitary is regulated by the hypothalamus via another set of hormones (Figure 5).

 

Figure 5. Pituitary Flow Chart

The pituitary gland produces hormones and a healthy balance of these hormones is essential for good health.

Pituitary Hormones Abbreviation Role
Growth hormone GH Growth hormone controls our rate of growth and also regulates our metabolism. Growth hormone enables the body to grow and reproduce and it is essential for good health throughout our lives. Growth hormone is also of considerable interest as a drug used in both humans and animals, and there are problems of abuse of growth hormone in sport.
Prolactin PRL Prolactin is found in both men and women. Its principal function is to initiate and sustain lactation which is the process of producing and releasing breast milk.
Adrenocorticotropic hormone ACTH ACTH stimulates the adrenal gland to produce other substances including cortisol. Cortisol controls a number of functions and is particularly important in times of illness and stress. Hormones often have a knock-on effect initiating important processes in other glands and organs.
Thyroid stimulating hormone TSH TSH stimulates the thyroid gland. Thyroid stimulating hormone tells the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones which are needed by the body. The thyroid controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes proteins, and also regulates how sensitive the body should be to other hormones.
Luteinising hormone & Follicle-stimulating hormone LH and FSH Luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone are both regulating functions of the gonads (ovary and testis). They are not necessary for life but are essential for reproduction. Together they stimulate the reproductive organs and initiate puberty which enables children to develop into sexually mature adults. In women these hormones control ovulation and are essential for a normal menstrual cycle and for fertility. In men, these hormones stimulate the testes to produce sperm.
Vasopressin AVP or ADH Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone, ADH) is one of the hormones of the posterior pituitary. This hormone has a key role in the regulation of water, glucose and salts in the blood. Its single most important effect is as an anti-diuretic hormone. It is released when the body is dehydrated and sent to the kidneys where it concentrates the urine and conserves water.
Oxytocin Oxytocin Oxytocin is a posterior pituitary hormone. Oxytocin is an important hormone and is largely associated with female reproduction. It is released in large amounts during labour. It is also important after labour in the establishment of maternal behaviour and bonding between mother and child. Oxytocin can also affect our feelings and moods and is present in both men and women.

The effects of these hormones show that the endocrine system is an information signal system like the nervous system. The endocrine system is connected to the nervous system through the pituitary gland via the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is an extremely complicated region of the brain. It releases hormones which in turn stimulate or inhibit the activity of the pituitary gland. Disease in the hypothalamus can also adversely affect the function of the pituitary gland.

Hypothalamic Hormones Abbr. Role
Growth hormone-releasing hormone GHRH GHRH is a hypothalamic peptide that stimulates both the synthesis and secretion of growth hormone.
Somatostatin SS SS inhibits growth hormone release from anterior pituitary. Analogues of somatostatin is used for the treatment of acromegaly and certain other types of tumours as well.
Corticotropin-releasing hormone CRH CRH is secreted by the hypothalamus in response to stress and it stimulates ACTH.
Thyroid stimulating hormone TRH Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulates the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone and prolactin by the anterior pituitary.
Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (also called Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)) GnRH GnRH causes the pituitary gland to make and release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones are involved in reproduction.

90,000 How to deal with hormonal imbalances?

Hormones are regulators of all biological processes in the body. Sex, character, appearance, and health status of a person depend on their ratio. In women, the hormonal background changes many times during their life, which is associated with the work of the reproductive organs. Even within 1 month hormones are constantly “playing”. This explains many of the features of female behavior, a sharp change in mood, the formation of a maternal instinct.

In the realities of our life, which is filled with stress, the availability of junk food, a sedentary lifestyle, a difficult environmental situation and other shocks, it is extremely difficult for the body to maintain the balance of hormones. Unfortunately, with a lack or excess of any hormone, it is often possible to regulate this process only with the use of hormonal medications under the supervision of an attending endocrinologist, gynecologist or urologist. However, there are certain rules, the observance of which reduces the risk of hormonal disorders.

In our body, the endocrine system is represented by a whole complex of endocrine glands. The pancreas produces insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels. The thyroid gland produces hormones that control all metabolic processes in the body. It is the thyroid gland that first suffers from unfavorable environmental factors (lack of iodine, increased background radiation, etc.). The adrenal glands are a very important organ for the regulation of blood pressure, the formation of human behavior during stressful situations, and the regulation of the production of sex hormone precursors.The ovaries in women and the testes in men play a major role in the manifestation of secondary sexual characteristics and in procreation. At the head of the entire “hormonal world” are the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which secrete active substances that regulate the activity of all endocrine glands.

How to behave in order to avoid hormonal imbalance?

You need to eat regularly and properly. Reduce the consumption of refined sugar, which is primarily found in sweets, flour products, instant foods, sugary carbonated drinks, and fast food.It is necessary to eat more often, in small portions, at approximately the same time. The basis of the diet should be foods rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, cereals, vegetable oils and always protein in the form of fish, lean meat, chicken, turkey, low-fat cottage cheese, eggs. The body definitely needs about 2 liters of clean water per day. Men and especially women need to regularly eat foods containing omega acids (fatty fish, olives, olive oil). Healthy fats are precursors of sex hormones and adrenal hormones, create a feeling of satiety, and normalize metabolism.

The body needs an active lifestyle, physical education should be regular. Simple daily walking at a fast, but comfortable pace for you is much more effective than working out in the gym 3 times a week and not exercising on other days. Physical activity improves both fitness and mood.

Adequate sleep is essential. If you go to bed no later than 23 hours and sleep at least 7-8 hours a day, then your biological rhythms will work like a clock.Many hormones are released at a strictly defined time and in the presence of certain factors (darkness, rest, etc.). Obesity, diabetes mellitus, and problems with appetite are often associated with sleep disorders.

You need to learn how to manage stressful situations. There is a direct link between stress and hormone levels. Stress leads to an increase in adrenaline and cortisol. If the level of these hormones is constantly too high, it leads to obesity, poor mood and cardiovascular problems.Listening to music, reading, handicrafts, and your favorite hobby will help reduce anxiety.

It is important to exclude from the diet energy drinks, strong tea and coffee in the afternoon, give up bad habits (smoking, alcohol abuse). Men need to remember that beer contains phytoestrogens (herbal analogs of female hormones), which can negatively affect the appearance and decrease libido. Regular sex life is important for both women and men.

These are the basic principles of maintaining balance in the body. If this does not help, you should consult an endocrinologist who will assess your hormonal levels and the need to use medicinal methods for correcting hormonal disorders.

Doctor-endocrinologist of the Medical and Sanitary Unit of the State Unitary Enterprise “Vodokanal of Saint Petersburg” Volkova O.Yu.

90,000 Su-Jok therapy in the clinics of the World of the Shushary Family, Parnas and South-West

“Medicine of the XXI century is methods and methods based on the fundamental law of Nature, evolution, the Creator, and that is why they are available, surprisingly easy to use, always effective and so effective that they allow you to return health for any ailment, regardless of the cause and localization , causing surprise and a smile “

Park Jae Woo, professor, founder of the method

Su Jok is one of the directions of acupuncture.Translated from Korean, Su – brush, Jock – foot, thus Su Jok therapy is a method of treatment using hands and feet.

The method was developed in the middle of the last century by the Korean professor Park Jae Wu on the basis of ancient Chinese and ancient Indian knowledge.

Su Jok is based on the view of the human body as a single energy structure, all processes in which are interconnected. It is believed that the disease is caused by a disturbance in the harmony of the energy body, and the manifestation of the disease on the physical level is just a symptom.Therefore, for the treatment to be effective, it is necessary to direct the healing effect directly to the energy level. Su Jok therapy allows you to effectively restore the tissues and systems of the physical body, regulates the emotional state, brings the body into energy balance and the person recovers. …

The Su Jok technique is based on the concept that there is a correspondence between the human body and its hands and feet, and the hand and foot are reduced projections of the human body.For example, the thumb corresponds to the head, the index and little fingers correspond to the hands, and the middle and ring fingers correspond to the legs. The back of the hand is the projection of the spine, the middle of the palm is the abdominal cavity, the surface of the palm under the thumb is the chest. In addition, energy flows such as meridians, chakras, etc. are projected onto the palm.

In a healthy body, all organs and the human energy system are in a balanced state. When the body is exposed to a pathogenic external, internal or psychoemotional factor, imbalance occurs in one or more organs.This condition leads to a disease, often in an acute form, and behind it – close to chronic.

Each person has their own resonant frequency. In a diseased organ or part of the body, due to a disturbance in the circulation of energy flows, a kind of “electrical short circuit” appears, generating electromagnetic waves. These waves are directed simultaneously to all correspondence systems, in which the so-called “correspondence points” are formed. Stimulation of these points is painful, but it leads to the appearance of healing electromagnetic waves, which are directed back to the affected area, eliminating disturbances at the energetic and physical levels.

Diagnostics using the Su Jok system is performed as follows.

With a special stick or needle, a sequential impact on the correspondence points is carried out. In those places where pain occurs, it is necessary to carry out certain procedures. These include:

  • mechanical massage
  • exposure to magnetic field
  • biological strength of living seeds
  • warming up with cigars and moxas
  • color therapy

In addition to the standard compliance system, which everyone can master if desired, the methods of diagnosis and treatment in Su-Jok include such as

  • 6 and 8 energies (light, heat, heat, wind, humidity, dryness, cold, darkness)
  • homo-system (for example, impact through the auricle)
  • solar and moon diamond system
  • meridian and chakra system
  • spiral energy acupuncture
  • Triorigin acupuncture as a fundamental teaching, covering not only healing processes, but also philosophical issues, the structure of the surrounding world.

The advantages of the Su Jok method are:

  • Painless – the treatment can be carried out without needles, which relieves the patient of fear and discomfort.
  • Possibility of independent use – each person can easily master the initial Su Jok (correspondence system) technique for self-treatment and restoration of the disturbed harmony of his body.
  • High efficiency. Perhaps the appearance of the first results of treatment, the weakening of the symptoms of diseases, an improvement in general well-being within a few seconds after the start of treatment.
  • Versatility. Since there are projections of all organs and parts of the body on the hands and feet, the Su Jok technique is applicable to the treatment of the whole organism.
  • Efficiency of treatment. Su Jok can become a kind of “ambulance” if a person is in a critical situation and cannot expect to receive qualified medical care in the near future.

Fields of application of Su Jok therapy

  • in neurology: – with various manifestations of spinal osteochondrosis, herniated intervertebral discs, sciatica, neuritis, intercostal neuralgia and trigeminal neuralgia, with migraine, chronic and post-traumatic headache, dizziness, vegetative-vascular dystonia and sleep disturbances.
  • in arthrology: – in the treatment of arthrosis and arthropathy
  • in rheumatology: – in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis
  • in nephrology, urology
  • in gynecology
  • in dermatology
  • in ophthalmology
  • in traumatology
  • for acute and chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract: – for gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, diseases of the liver, gall bladder and pancreas, chronic colitis
  • diseases of the respiratory system: – with bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, diseases of the upper respiratory tract
  • for diseases of the cardiovascular system: – for ischemic heart disease, hypertension, heart rhythm disturbances, the consequences of myocardial infarction
  • for diseases of the endocrine system and metabolic disorders: – for obesity, diseases of the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries, diabetes
  • for various psycho-emotional disorders: – for neuroses, depression, treatment of various addictions (addictions).Su-Jok therapy in the treatment of children
  • Sleep disturbance, regurgitation in infants, umbilical hernia (not restrained), consequences of a previous birth trauma
  • hyperactivity, restlessness, enuresis, childhood fears, stuttering, tics
  • headaches, meteorological dependence, posture disorders, osteochondrosis, learning difficulties,
  • “character traits” such as short temper, touchiness, tearfulness
  • “poor appetite”, constipation, gastritis and many somatic diseases.

Parents are actively involved in the treatment of children, for example, an acupuncture program for a small child can be performed on the mother’s arm. During the session, the doctor asks the patient in detail about his condition, the manifestations of the disease, the characteristics of the body (for example, what time he falls asleep, what he prefers in food, how he tolerates heat, cold and much more). At the end of the consultation and the treatment session, the patient receives detailed instructions in diagrams and pictures, where it is written at what time and in which area the plant seeds should be glued, the magnet, which part of the finger to paint in a certain color.Only in the union of the doctor, the patient and his parents is a quick and long-term effect achieved.

Iodine deficiency: symptoms and prevention

October 21 – World Iodine Deficiency Day.

The chief freelance endocrinologist of the Department of Health of Sevastopol, an endocrinologist of the Department of Endocrinology of the City Hospital No. 1 named afterN.I. Pirogova Olga Vladimirovna Vlasova .

Why do we need iodine?

– Iodine is an essential trace element for the functioning of the body.

Iodine is the main component of thyroid hormones, which regulates our metabolism.

The human body normally contains 15-20 mg of iodine, 70-80% of them accumulate in the thyroid gland.

How common is iodine deficiency in our country?

– Iodine deficiency is determined throughout the territory of the Russian Federation, the city of Sevastopol belongs to the region with a zone of mild iodine deficiency.

The bulk of Russians experience iodine deficiency to varying degrees, many suffer from various iodine deficiency diseases.

What causes iodine deficiency?

– For children – growth retardation and physical development, mental retardation, decreased efficiency for learning.

For adults – a decrease in attention and the ability to perceive information, memory problems, during pregnancy, it is dangerous to the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, congenital anomalies in the child.

What diseases can occur with iodine deficiency?

– Iodine deficiency leads to various diseases of the thyroid gland.

According to the WHO, thyroid diseases are the second most common endocrine disorders (after diabetes mellitus) in terms of their prevalence.

The most common: diffuse non-toxic goiter; nodular and multinodular euthyroid goiter; thyrotoxicosis; hypothyroidism; congenital hypothyroidism.

What is the role of the thyroid gland in the human body?

– The thyroid gland is a small organ weighing 15 g, located on the front of the neck, in the shape of a butterfly.

Together with other glands, it is included in the endocrine system of organs that produce biologically active substances – HORMONES.

Its main function is to maintain normal metabolism (metabolism) at the cellular level.

Thyroid hormones stimulate metabolism in all cells and regulate almost every process in the body – breathing, eating, sleeping, movement, as well as processes in internal organs – from the heartbeat to the functioning of the reproductive system, plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system.

What is the need for iodine and where can I get it?

The need for iodine at different ages is different:

  • in children under 5 years old – 90 – 110 mcg,

  • from 5 to 12 years old – 110-120 mcg,

  • in adolescents and adults – 150 μg,

  • in pregnant and lactating women – 250 μg,

  • in the elderly – 100 mcg per day.

The normal intake of iodine in the human body can be ensured by the method of mass, group and individual iodine prophylaxis.

Mass iodine prophylaxis is the most effective and economical method of replenishing iodine deficiency and is achieved by eating iodized table salt.

Thanks to universal programs for the iodization of table salt, iodine deficiency has been eliminated in many countries.

In our country, in all regions of the Russian Federation, iodine is not enough, therefore, regular constant iodine prophylaxis is necessary.

Iodized salt is a reliable and safest method of prevention – it is the same salt, but fortified with iodine.

When buying salt, you should pay attention to the expiration date; it should be packed in an opaque plastic bag or foil (there is no iodine in expired salt).

It should be stored in a closed container with a lid, it is better to add salt to ready-made food; during heat treatment, the preventive effect of iodized salt is not ensured.

With daily use of iodized salt, the body’s need for iodine is fully replenished and does not require additional intake of iodine-containing preparations. This is the easiest and cheapest way to improve the health of yourself and your children.

Individual and group iodine prophylaxis involves taking medications and food supplements of potassium iodide in physiological doses, especially in those periods when the need for iodine increases.

Risk groups for the occurrence of thyroid pathology: children and adolescents, in view of a lack of iodine in food; pregnant and breastfeeding women.

It should also be noted that thyroid diseases are much more common in women than in men. The selection of groups and control over prevention is carried out by medical specialists.

Which foods contain iodine?

Products containing high concentrations of iodine are very useful:

  • seaweed,

  • sea ​​fish,

  • seafood,

  • fish fat.