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What is Endocrinology?
Endocrinology is the study of the endocrine system, its hormones and diseases affecting the endocrine system. It is a branch of medicine and the general science. The endocrine system is made up of few organs distributed all over the body. These organs directly release hormones into the blood.
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Different hormones act in various capacities and have different activity methods. For example, a single hormone could affect various organs while one organ could be easily affected by release of the same hormone in excess.
The Endocrine System
Endocrinology is the in-depth study of the endocrine framework. The endocrine framework is made up of a number of organs that secrete and release hormones into the blood. Hormones are synthetic mixtures or concoctions affecting different organ systems in the human body for example insulin, thyroid hormone and development hormone.
Hormones are produced in different glands. Some of them are synthesized and directly released to the bloodstream of the target organs. Such hormones are known as endocrine hormones. On the other hand, some hormones are released into ducts from which they can reach target organs. All these concepts are covered in endocrinology.
Types of Endocrine Glands and What They Secrete
- Pancreas – this is the organ responsible for the production and secretion of insulin and glucagon.
- Testes – these are responsible for the secretion of testosterone, inhibin and estrogen hormones.
- Ovaries- ovaries secret the estrogen hormone.
- Thymus – thymus secretes the thymopoietin hormone
- Thyroid gland – thyroid glands produce the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones.
- Parathyroid gland – these glands secret both the parathyroid and calcitonin hormones.
- Pituitary gland – the pituitary gland is divided into two i.e., the anterior and posterior. The posterior pituitary is responsible for secreting the vasopressin, oxytocin and antidiuretic hormones. The anterior produces prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, growth hormone, luteinizing hormone and adrenocorticotropic hormone.
- Pineal gland – pineal gland is responsible for the melatonin hormone.
- Adrenal gland – adrenal glands produce the adrenaline, adrenal androgens, noradrenaline, glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids.
- Hypothalamus – growth hormone- releasing hormone, gonadotropin- releasing hormone, thyrotropin-releasing hormone, somatostatin and corticotropin-releasing hormone are some of the hormones released by the hypothalamus.
Key point to note is that under production and over production of any of these hormones leads to a disorder. Inappropriate production of these hormones interferes with the process of homeostasis and thereby causing diseases.
Endocrine Disorders Covered in Endocrinology Assignment Help
- Graves’s Disease – this is the disorder that occurs due to overproduction of the thyroid hormone. Some common symptoms of grave’s disease are fatigue, bulging eyes, diarrhea, and not being able to withstand heat.
- Cushing’s Syndrome – this disorder occurs as a result of overproduction of the cortisol hormone by the adrenal glands. Some of its symptoms are excessive thirst, irritability, fatigue and bruising of the skin and hypertension.
- Diabetes – diabetes occurs as a result of improper metabolism of glucose that leads to an abnormality in sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are controlled by the insulin and glucagon hormones. Some of the symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination and thirst.
- Addison’s Disease – this is the disorder that occurs with the overproduction of aldosterone and cortisol hormones. Symptoms of Addison’s disease include fatigues, diarrhea, hypoglycemia, change in menstrual cycles and the bronzy appearance of the skin.
- Cretinism – this condition is caused by the underproduction of the thyroid hormone. Some of the symptoms of cretinism are dryness of hair, periorbital swelling, abnormal menstrual cycles, constipation and an intolerance to low temperatures.
- Hyperthyroidism – this disorder occurs as a result of production of the thyroid hormone in excess. Some of its symptoms are difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, fatigue, change in moods, tachycardia and an intolerance to high temperatures.
- Hashimoto’s Disease – this is a disease of the immune system. The body destroys the thyroid gland. Some of the symptoms of the Hashimoto’s disease are reduced bowel movement, fatigue and an intolerance to excess cold. In most cases, Hashimoto’s disease does not show any symptoms but manifests silently.
- Acromegaly – this disorder occurs when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone that often leads to a person having a very tall stature. Other signs are lips, nose and limbs that are bigger than normal. In some instances, these persons could possess criminal tendencies.
Causes of Endocrine Disorders in Endocrinology
- Autoimmunity – autoimmune reactions sometimes destroy the endocrine gland and thereby affecting how it functions. The symptoms are treated and necessary measures are taken to treat and significantly reduce the immune response.
- Poor diet – the endocrine gland could function abnormally as a result of disruption of the nutritional balance of the body. This imbalance can be caused by too much or too little calorie intake.
- Inactivity – staying idle without any physical activity can lead to disorders of the endocrine.
- Congenital defects – proteins are encoded by genes. Genetic defects that occur from birth can lead to abnormal expression of genes that express certain hormones. External hormones are given in order to make the person’s life as normal as possible.
- Exposure to endocrine disruptors – endocrine disruptors such as exposure to high doses of corticosteroids can interfere with the hormonal balance and cause endocrine disorders.
Feedback control of Hormone Secretion
The endocrine system is managed by feedback mechanisms whereby the production and secretion of a hormone can be turned off or on depending on the concentration of the said hormone. The turning on and off is known as stimulation and inhibition respectively.
Homeostasis in the body is maintained by these feedback mechanisms. Feedback control mechanisms can be positive or negative.
- Positive feedback control mechanism – a positive feedback is one that gives a response that increases and continues to cause the desired effect. The hormone acts in a manner to signal the endocrine system to produce and secret the hormone in larger quantities.
- Negative feedback control mechanism – negative feedback control mechanism works by maintaining hormones at a narrow range. In the negative feedback control mechanism, high amounts of hormones stop further secretion of the same hormone.
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