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The endocrine system is composed of the glands that secrete hormones which regulate different body processes and functioning of many body organs. This system controls mood, growth, metabolism, sexual development and reproduction. There are many disorders of the endocrine system that mainly result from abnormal production of hormones. Here we will discuss different disorders of the endocrine system.

What is the Endocrine System?

As already mentioned above, the main components of the endocrine system are the glands and hormones they release. Hormones are chemical messengers of the body that transmit signals from one part of the body to another. Each hormone influences specific set of cells that are programmed to respond to signals of that hormone. Levels of hormones can be affected by stress, infection and changes in the balance of fluid and minerals in blood.

Endocrine glands are organs that release hormones in the bloodstream. The main endocrine glands are the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pineal gland, pancreas, ovaries and testes. These glands release over 20 major hormones which regulate different body systems.

Endocrine System Disorders

Disorders of the endocrine system occur when there is either excess secretion of a hormone or deficiency of a hormone. Here we will list some of the common endocrine disorders that may affect children and adults.

Adrenal Insufficiency

This condition develops when the adrenal glands release insufficient amount of adrenal corticosteroid hormones. This disorder is also known as Addison’s disease. It causes fatigue, weakness, abdominal pain, nausea and skin changes.

Cushing Syndrome

Cushing syndrome is caused by excess glucocortiocid hormones in the body. It may occur due to intake of synthetic corticosteroid drugs or tumors on the pituitary gland or adrenals. Symptoms of Cushing syndrome include obesity, growth failure, muscle weakness, elevated blood pressure, easy-bruising and depression.


Diabetes is a common endocrine system disorder that develops when the pancreas secretes insufficient amount of insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when the body does not respond to insulin normally (type 2 diabetes). Diabetes causes increased appetite, excessive thirst, increased urination and weight loss. Complications of this disease include kidney problems, blindness, nerve damage, coronary heart disease and stroke.


It develops when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormones. The disorder causes weight loss, irritability, tremor, increased perspiration, diarrhea, fast heart rate, increased blood pressure, protruding eyes and goiter. Hyperthyroidism can be due to an autoimmune illness known as Grave’s disease.


This disorder of the endocrine system develops when the thyroid fails to release enough thyroid hormones. The symptoms are fatigue, slow heart rate, dry skin, weight gain, constipation, poor growth and delayed puberty.

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