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What Are Common Problems with the Endocrine System?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Feb 12, 2024
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Problems with the endocrine system affect the production and utilization of the various hormones of the body. Some of the most commonly diagnosed endocrine disorders include diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and hypothyroidism. Additional problems with the endocrine system may include osteoporosis, growth disorders, or hypoglycemia. Grave's disease, Cushing's syndrome, and Addison's disease also affect the normal hormonal balance of the body. Any questions or concerns about possible problems with the endocrine system in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Diabetes and hypothyroidism are among the most frequently diagnosed problems with the endocrine system. When the body does not produce enough of a hormone known as insulin or if this hormone is not utilized properly by the body, blood sugar levels may become unstable, leading to a condition known as diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes may include frequent urination, fatigue, or excessive thirst. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone and is frequently caused by an iodine deficiency. Possible hypothyroidism symptoms include weight gain, depression, and an intolerance to cold temperatures.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder that causes multiple cysts to develop in one or both ovaries and can cause pelvic pain and menstrual irregularities. Growth disorders may occur when the pituitary gland does not function properly, potentially leading to stunted growth or delayed puberty. Hypoglycemia is a medical term used to describe low blood sugar levels and if left untreated may eventually lead to diabetes.

Grave's disease and Cushing's syndrome are among the possible problems with the endocrine system. Caused by an overactive thyroid gland, Grave's disease may cause skin disorders, weight loss, or visual disturbances. Cushing's syndrome is caused by a prolonged elevation of a hormone known as cortisol. Weight gain, increased body hair, and lowered libido are potential symptoms of this disorder.

Addison's disease is an endocrine disorder that results from insufficient production of adrenal hormones. Muscle pain, weight loss, and salt cravings are common symptoms of Addison's disease. Changes in the pigment of the skin, low blood pressure, and high potassium levels are also commonly found among those with this disorder. Without proper treatment, Addison's disease can become fatal. Any signs or symptoms that may indicate the development of problems with the endocrine system should be evaluated by a doctor in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan based on specific needs.

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