The endocrine system delivers hormones throughout the body via a complex network of glands including the pituitary gland, ovaries, testes, thyroid and adrenal glands. An endocrine disorder is caused by a disruption in one of these glands. Blood sugar, obesity, sex hormones, blood pressure and bone health are all regulated by the endocrine system. As such, endocrine disorders take many forms.
According to the American Thyroid Association, hypothyroidism affects as many as one in 10 women over the age of 65. Hormone imbalances can also cause many health conditions. For example, issues with growth hormones can lead to stress and lethargy. People who do not create a normal amount of sex hormones may experience infertility or problems achieving pregnancy.
According to Cedars-Sinai, symptoms of an endocrine disorder can take months or years to become evident. Endocrine diseases can cause hypertension, obesity, lipid disorders, infertility and more. Proper function of the pituitary gland is vital because it regulates the other glands in the body. Cushing’s disease is a rare but serious endocrine disorder characterized by the presence of a non-cancerous pituitary tumor. This leads to an excess secretion of cortisol in the body.
Perhaps the most common endocrine disease is diabetes. With diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar. People with Type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections. Other common endocrine disorders are linked to the thyroid. These types of disease are associated with energy issues, weight management, emotions, body temperature and more. If the thyroid is overactive, it’s called hyperthyroidism. According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperthyroidism is associated with difficulty concentrating, restlessness, nervousness, increased appetite and weight loss. An underactive thyroid is called hypothyroidism. This condition is linked to depression, heavy periods, weakness, weight gain, constipation, and thin or brittle hair and nails.
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