Our body contains many hormones, which basically function as control and/or communication mechanisms between different parts of the body. They are responsible for controlling physiological activities such as growth, metabolism, stress response, bone growth, temperature, hunger, and thirst, amongst others.
Endocrinologists specialize in the study of hormones of the human body, the various conditions affecting them and the glands that secrete them. Pediatric endocrinologists examine the hormonal imbalances in children.
The major endocrine glands are:
- Pituitary Gland: A bean-sized gland located at the base of the skull, it controls the various functions such as temperature, growth, production of testosterone or estrogen, etc
- Thyroid Gland: This is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. It regulates metabolism, energy and mental growth and development.
- Hypothalamus: This gland deals with the hunger and thirst levels, sleep cycles and other autonomous nervous system functions, aside from regulating the body temperature.
- Parathyroid Gland: The four parathyroid glands in the body control the levels of calcium in the body.
- Pineal Glands: This gland produces melatonin, a derivative of serotonin, which modulates the sleep/ wake patterns and seasonal functions.
- Adrenal Glands: These are present on top of the kidneys and release rhe hormones to control stress response and metabolism. They secrete a hormone called aldosterone which affects the kidney function.
- Pancreas: This is an endocrine gland that produces insulin, as well as an organ that aids in digestion.
- Gonads: These are the reproductive glands (ovaries in women and testes in men) that secrete the female sex hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone; and male hormones, testosterone, and androsterone.
TREATMENT FACILITIES AT KINGSWAY HOSPITALS:
- Osteoporosis: This describes a bone disease where the body loses too much bone and/or produces too little quantities of bone. Therefore, it becomes too weak and is at an increased risk of getting fractured. This is treated by administering medications such as biophosphonates, calcitonin and parathyroid hormones, which stimulate bone formation and increase bone mineral density. Kyphoplasty is a novel treatment for this condition. Through this minimally invasive procedure, a small balloon is inserted into the collapsed bone to restore its shape and filled with a substance that hardens and helps expand the bone.
- Diabetes: Some of the common symptoms indicating this disease are frequent thirst, hunger, and urination, sudden vision problems, unexplained weight loss, weakness and numbness in the hands or feet. This is treated through Insulin Therapy and/or oral medications.
- Hyperparathyroidism: This is a condition caused due to excessive production of parathyroid hormone which results in weakening of bones due to calcium loss. The only treatment for this is surgery to remove the enlarged glands.
- Obesity: This is a chronic disease caused due to a variety of factors including environmental factors, eating disorders, metabolism, genetics, and certain medical conditions. Non-surgical treatment measures include behavior modification therapy and exercise. In extreme cases, surgical procedures such as bariatric surgery may also be resorted to.
- Thyroid Disorders: This includes hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and goiter. This can be treated through antithyroid medications, radioactive iodine in case of hyperthyroidism, levothyroxine in case of hypothyroidism and total thyroidectomy for cancer.
- Rheumatic Disorders: These include a range of conditions such as Gout, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Vasculitis and Spondyloarthritis. The treatment includes Drug Therapy, exercise and some medications which can help alleviate the symptoms.
- Adrenal Disorders: Common disorders are Cushing’s Syndrome, Pheochromocytoma and Adrenal Insufficiency. These can be treated through surgery, medical therapy, chemotherapy, etc.