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Endocrine system functions and diseases

The endocrine system comprises many glands which perform a variety of functions and are in charge of different processes. This is achieved by hormones these glands produce and release into the blood. Without these hormones our body would not be able to grow, develop and obtain energy from food we consume. Since there are many different glands in our body, it is logical that impairment of each of them leads to different disorders and the number of these can also be quite high.

The Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is in charge of different hormones including growth hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, prolactin, luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone, and melanostimulating hormone. These hormones control other endocrine glands in the body (the thyroid gland, the sex glands and the adrenal gland) and may cause dysfunction of these glands even though there is no structural or other abnormality associated with the function of the mentioned glands.

The Thyroid Gland

There are three diseases affecting the function of the thyroid gland, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and goiter. The problem is either located in the very gland and caused by certain illnesses such as Graves disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis or originates from the pituitary gland, the gland that normally controls the function of the thyroid gland.

The Pancreas

The pancreas is a gland with two functions, exocrine and endocrine. Endocrine function of the gland is to control the level of glucose in the body which is achieved by proper production of insulin. Apart from that pancreas also produces glucagon, another hormone of great importance for metabolism of sugar. If the production of insulin is jeopardized, a person develops diabetes, one of commonly reported endocrine disorders.

The Adrenal Gland

This gland produces many hormones some of which also act as neurotransmitters. As for this gland, there are two frequently reported disorders known under the names Cushing's disease and Addison's disease. Cushing's disease develops as a consequence of excess of cortisol in the blood. This hormone is produced by the cortex of the adrenal gland. Addison's diseases occur if the cortex of the gland does not produce any of the hormones it is supposed to synthesize. This is a rather serious condition which, if left untreated, may be even fatal.

Other Problems regarding  the Endocrine System

Apart from the mentioned, there are several more disorders related to inadequate production of certain hormones. For instance, the lack of growth hormone leads to improper development and growth while excess of the hormone is a contributor to gigantism or acromegaly. Inadequate production of sex hormones affect genders differently and may cause a range of disorders starting with polycystic ovary syndrome and problems with menstrual cycle in women to infertility and other issues in men.

All in all, the endocrine system is quite complex and even the minor disturbance may cause many detrimental effects on the body. Fortunately, many of these disorders are treatable and some completely curable, particularly if diagnosed on time.

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