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These endocrine disorders may not be as common as diabetes or brittle bones. However, they can significantly impair your quality of life. Learn more here.
Endocrine disorders are a group of conditions that cause too high or too low hormones in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine glands. There are eight major endocrine glands in the body.
These glands have widespread functions and affect virtually every bodily process. For example, growth, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and mood.
This article takes a closer look at the lesser-known endocrine disorders. Also, you will learn where to seek help.
Synonyms: Primary adrenal insufficiency, hypoadrenalism
Addison’s disease is a rare endocrine disorder that affects your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce two essential hormones - cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol and aldosterone regulate glucose metabolism, blood pressure, immune functions, and electrolyte balance.
In people with Addison’s disease, the immune cells damage the adrenal glands. As a result, the glands do not produce enough cortisol or aldosterone.
Reduced cortisol and/or aldosterone production causes several symptoms, including:
- Extreme tiredness
- Loss of weight and appetite
- Low blood pressure and low blood glucose
- Salt craving
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in the muscles or joints
- Depression and irritability
- Impaired sexual function in women
Diagnosis involves evaluation of the signs and symptoms and blood tests. The blood tests help to determine levels of cortisol. Besides, the doctor may order a CT scan to visualize your adrenal glands.
Once they confirm the diagnosis, they will ask you to take hormonal medication to restore normal hormone levels.
Grave’s disease causes overactive thyroid and overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). It is an autoimmune disorder. The immune cells damage the thyroid gland and cause it to produce more thyroid hormones.
Though it can affect persons of any age or sex, the risk is higher among women younger than 40 years.
Common signs and symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased irritability
- Unintentional weight loss
- Sleep problems
- Enlarged thyroid
- Shaking of hands and fingers
- Extreme fatigue
Diagnosis begins with the evaluation of the signs and symptoms. If your doctor suspects Grave’s disease, they may ask you to have blood tests. The blood tests help to determine levels of thyroid hormones, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and the pituitary hormone.
In some cases, such as pregnancy, the doctor may order imaging tests to check the size of your thyroid. These include an ultrasound scan, a CT scan, or an MRI scan.
Treatment usually involves medications to reduce thyroid production. Besides, surgery to remove the entire thyroid gland or a part of it may be an option.
Synonym: Hashimoto’s disease
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis causes an underactive thyroid gland, which is called hypothyroidism. It is an autoimmune disorder. The immune cells attack the healthy tissues in your thyroid. As a result, your thyroid fails to produce enough thyroid hormones.
The signs and symptoms are often mild during the early stages. However, they become noticeable as the disease progresses and may include:
- Unintentional weight gain
- Pain in the muscles and joints
- Loss of hair
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Slow heartbeat
When you visit your doctor for the diagnosis, they will first evaluate your signs and symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, they may order:
- Blood tests to measure the levels of thyroid and pituitary hormones in the blood.
- An antibody test that reveals if you have antibodies in your blood.
Treatment involves the use of a synthetic thyroid hormone.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Having a well-balanced endocrine system is crucial to your health. Even a slight change in the balance of your endocrine system can have a profound effect on how your organs function.
Thus, it is important to talk to an endocrinologist immediately if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above. Early treatment not only reduces the risk of complications but also enhances the treatment outcomes.
Looking for quality care at an affordable cost? Consider talking to the best endocrinologist in India.
To search for Endocrinologist healthcare providers worldwide, please use the Mya Care search engine.
About the Author:
Shailesh Sharma is a registered pharmacist and medical content writer from Nepal. He enjoys digging into latest findings of research and strongly believes in evidence-based health information. He graduated from Pokhara University School of Health and Allied Sciences and was engaged in clinical pharmacy and academia in various regions of Nepal for almost 9 years. Shailesh also serves as Project Manager of Graduate Pharmacists’ Association, Nepal (GPAN).