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Endocrine Disorders

Endocrine Disorders

The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce and release hormones that help control many important body functions, such as the ability of the body to convert calories into energy that powers cells and organs. The endocrine system regulates your heart rate, bone and tissue growth, and even your ability to conceive. It is crucial to determine whether you develop diabetes, thyroid disease, growth disorders, sexual dysfunction, and other hormone-related disorders.

The Endocrine System’s Glands
Each endocrine gland releases specific hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones travel through your bloodstream to other cells, which help control or coordinate various body processes.

Endocrine glands include the following:

The adrenal glands are two glands located on top of the kidneys that produce the hormone cortisol.
The hypothalamus is a lower middle brain region that tells the pituitary gland when to release hormones.
Ovaries: Female reproductive organs that produce sex hormones and release eggs.
Islet cells in the pancreas: Pancreatic islet cells regulate the release of the hormones insulin and glucagon.
Four tiny glands in the neck that play a role in bone development are parathyroid glands.
Pineal gland: A gland located near the brain’s centre that is thought to be related to sleep patterns.
Pituitary gland: A gland located behind the sinuses at the base of the brain. It is commonly referred to as the “master gland” because it influences many other glands, particularly the thyroid. Pituitary gland dysfunction can affect bone growth, menstrual cycles, and breast milk production.
The male reproductive glands that produce sperm and sex hormones are the testes.
Thymus: A gland in the upper chest that aids in developing the body’s immune system early.
Thyroid gland: A butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that regulates metabolism.

Even minor disruptions in the function of one or more of these glands can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones in your body and result in an endocrine disorder, also known as an endocrine disease.

Endocrine Disorders and Their Causes
Endocrine disorders are typically classified into two types:

A hormone imbalance is an endocrine disease that occurs when a gland produces too much or too little of an endocrine hormone.
Endocrine disease is caused by the formation of lesions (such as nodules or tumours) in the endocrine system, which can affect hormone levels or not.

The endocrine feedback system aids in regulating hormone levels in the bloodstream. If your body produces too much or too little of a certain hormone, the feedback system alerts the appropriate gland or glands to address the issue. A hormone imbalance can occur if this feedback system has difficulty maintaining the proper level of hormones in the bloodstream or if your body does not properly clear them out of the bloodstream.

Increased or decreased endocrine hormone levels can be caused by:

Disease caused by an issue with the endocrine feedback system
Failure of one gland to stimulate the release of hormones from another gland (for example, a problem with the hypothalamus can disrupt hormone production in the pituitary gland)
Multiple endocrine neoplasias (MEN) or congenital hypothyroidism are examples of genetic disorders.
An endocrine gland injury
Endocrine gland cancer
The majority of endocrine tumours and nodules (lumps) are benign. They rarely spread to other parts of the body. A tumour or nodule on the gland, on the other hand, may interfere with hormone production.

Endocrine Disorder Types
There are numerous types of endocrine disorders. Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder in the United States.

Other endocrine disorders are as follows:

They impaired adrenal function. The adrenal gland produces insufficient amounts of the hormone cortisol and, in some cases, aldosterone. Fatigue, stomach upset, dehydration, and skin changes are some symptoms. Adrenal insufficiency is a type of Addison’s disease.

Cushing’s syndrome. The overproduction of a pituitary gland hormone causes an overactive pituitary gland. Cushing’s syndrome, a similar condition, can occur in people who take high doses of corticosteroid medications, particularly children.
Acromegaly (gigantism) and other growth hormone issues. A child’s bones and body parts may grow abnormally fast if the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. If a child’s growth hormone levels are too low, they may stop growing in height.

Hyperthyroidism. Thyroid hormone production is excessive, resulting in weight loss, rapid heart rate, sweating, and nervousness. Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disorder, is the most common cause of an overactive thyroid.


Hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone production is insufficient, resulting in fatigue, constipation, dry skin, and depression. In children, an underactive gland can cause developmental delays. Some hypothyroidisms are present from birth.

Hypopituitarism. The pituitary gland produces few or no hormones. A variety of diseases can cause it. Women suffering from this condition may experience a cessation of menstruation.

Multiple endocrine neoplasia types (MEN I and MEN II) exist. These uncommon genetic disorders are passed down through families. They cause tumours of the parathyroid, adrenal, and thyroid glands, resulting in hormone overproduction.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (PCOS). Androgen overproduction interferes with egg development and release from the female ovaries. PCOS is the most common cause of infertility.

Puberty at a young age. Atypically early puberty occurs when glands instruct the body to release sex hormones too early in life.

Endocrine Disorder Testing
If you have an endocrine disorder, your doctor might refer you to an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in endocrine problems.

The symptoms of an endocrine disorder differ greatly and are determined by the specific gland involved. The majority of people with endocrine disease, on the other hand, complain of fatigue and weakness.

Blood and urine tests to measure hormone levels can assist doctors in determining whether you have an endocrine disorder. Imaging tests may be performed to assist in locating or pinpointing a nodule or tumour.

Endocrine disorders can be difficult to treat because a change in one hormone level can cause an imbalance in another. Your doctor or specialist may order routine blood work to check for problems or determine if your medication or treatment plan needs to be adjusted.

Endocrinology is the branch of medicine that focuses on endocrine glands and hormones in the body. Hormones regulate many bodily functions; however, a hormone imbalance can have various effects on the body. The Diabetes Center & Endocrinology Clinic at UI Health offers comprehensive services and treatments for patients that suffer from hormonal imbalances and endocrine disorders. We provide treatment options for many types of metabolic and endocrine disorders, including:
Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, produce various hormones. Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient amounts of steroid hormones — primarily cortisol, which regulates sodium conservation, potassium secretion, and water retention.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of inherited genetic disorders that affect the adrenal glands. A person with CAH lacks one of the enzymes the adrenal glands use to produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, the immune system, blood pressure, and other essential functions.
Hyperaldosteronism is a disease where the adrenal glands make too much aldosterone. This hormone stimulates the absorption of sodium by the kidneys and helps to regulate water and salt balance in the body. Too much aldosterone is produced, to hypertension (high blood pressure) and low blood potassium levels.
Osteoporosis is the deterioration of bone tissue and reduction of bone strength, making bones fragile. Osteoporosis makes the wrist, hip, spine and other parts of the skeleton vulnerable to fractures. Falls in people with osteoporosis can lead to serious health consequences.
Pituitary Disorders
Pituitary tumours are abnormal growths that develop in your pituitary gland. Some pituitary tumours result in too many hormones regulating important bodily functions; others can cause the pituitary gland to produce lower levels of hormones. Most pituitary tumours are noncancerous (benign) growths (adenomas). Adenomas remain in your pituitary gland or surrounding tissues and don’t spread to other body parts.
Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in the front of the neck. This gland produces thyroid hormones that primarily influence the body’s metabolism and protein synthesis. Abnormal cell growth in the thyroid gland can lead to thyroid cancer. The thyroid also can be affected by a variety of diseases, including:
Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland that can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally. Individuals are hypothyroid if they have too little thyroid hormone in the blood. Common causes are autoimmune disease, surgical thyroid removal, and radiation treatment.
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. When the thyroid gland is overactive, the body’s processes speed up. Individuals may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

Endocrine Disorders

Evaluate responses to nursing interventions for clients with endocrine disorders.

You are working as a nurse supervisor. You are finding a lot of new nurses are unfamiliar with certain endocrine disorders. You have decided to put together a guide for these nurses to educate them on different endocrine diseases and provide them with ways to provide quality multidimensional care.

Compare and contrast two endocrine disorders within the guide. Include the following information:

Identify and compare the causes and diagnostic tests.
Identify and compare the signs and symptoms of the disorder.
Describe the nurses’ role in caring for a patient that suffers from this disorder to include the multidimensional aspects of nursing care.
Identify how you will evaluate responses to the interventions taken for each disorder.

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