Endocrinology is the study of medicine that relates to the endocrine system, which is the system that controls hormones essential for our every-day survival and which control our temperature, sleep, mood, stress, growth and more.
What are Endocrine Disorders?
Common endocrine disorders include diabetes mellitus, acromegaly (overproduction of growth hormone), Addison’s disease (decreased production of hormones by the adrenal glands), Cushing’s syndrome (high cortisol levels for extended periods of time), Graves’ disease (type of hyperthyroidism resulting in excessive thyroid hormone production), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune disease resulting in hypothyroidism and low production of thyroid hormone), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), and prolactinoma (overproduction of prolactin by the pituitary gland). These disorders often have widespread symptoms, affect multiple parts of the body, and can range in severity from mild to very severe. Treatments depend on the specific disorder but often focus on adjusting hormone balance using synthetic hormones.
While most endocrine disorders are mild and slow to progress, certain endocrine disorders can lead to complications over time as unbalanced hormonal signaling affects normal body processes. In cases of Addison’s disease and hypothyroidism in particular, acute attacks or crises can have serious complications. Diabetes can also have potentially life-threatening complications. Complications of untreated or poorly controlled endocrine disorders can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you