Endocrinology is the study of medicine which deals with endocrine disorders. Endocrines are the glands which secrete and control hormones. Hormones are produced by endocrine glands and sent into bloodstream to various organs of body and regulate the activity of those organ or tissues. Hormones are essential for various activities like digestion, metabolism, growth, reproduction, sensory perception, movement etc.
Endocrine disorders are majorly of three types:
- Endocrine glands hypersecretion: When a gland secretes hormone more than desired requirement.
- Endocrine glands hyposecretion: When a gland secretes hormone less than desired requirement.
- Tumors: tumors are development of lesions which can be benign or malignant and can affect hormonal secretion.
There are various endocrine glands situated in different parts of body and secrete hormone for different kinds of activities. Every hormone has a normal range for its production as per age and sex of an individual, when it secretes in excess or less it leads to hormonal imbalance and a consultation of endocrinologist is needed.
- Adrenal gland: Situated on top of both kidneys and secretes hormone Cortisol which is a steroid hormone helpful in metabolism of fat, protein, carbohydrate and glucose. It also decreases formation of bones.
- Hypocortisolism: when the level of cortisol is less than normal in blood
- Hypercortisolism or Cushing’s syndrome: when the level of cortisol is more than normal in blood
- Hypothalamus: It is located in the lower part of the brain, below the thalamus and controls the pituitary gland. It secretes neurohormones which controls secretion of pituitary glands. Hypothalamus regulates the body’s system like blood pressure, body temperature, electrolyte balance, weight etc.
- Ovary: It is present in females and produces sex hormones. It produces Estrogen and Progesterone. Imbalance in these two hormones leads to menstrual cycle disorders, infertility, hirsutism and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Testes: It is male reproductive organ produces sperm and male sex hormone testosterone.
- Pancreas: The Islet cells of Pancreas regulate the release of insulin and glucagon. Imbalance in these hormone leads to type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- Pituitary gland: The Pituitary gland is also referred to as the master gland as it affects and controls the secretion of various other endocrine glands. An imbalance in the secretion of the pituitary gland affects growth of bone, menstrual cycle and breast milk secretion.
- Thyroid gland: It is a butterfly shaped gland which is present in anterior part of neck. Imbalance in the secretion leads to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and goiter.
- Parathyroid glands: These are four tiny glands in located behind thyroid gland. These glands play a vital role in calcium metabolism and bone formation.
- Pineal glands: These glands are present in the brain and control sleep patterns.
- Thymus: It is present in the chest and develops the immune system in earlier age of life.
Major Hormonal Disorders:
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Hypothyroidism / Hyperthyroidism
- Growth defects
- Excessive hair one the face and body
- Various metabolic disorders