Endocrine Disorders: What Are Its Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention

Endocrine Disorders: What Are Its Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention

The endocrine system is a collection of glands that regulate several vital body functions. This includes the ability of the body to convert energy into nutrients and tissues. It also controls heartbeats and tissue growth. Improper functioning of the endocrine system can cause an endocrine disorder, which leads to hormonal imbalances in the body that can occur at any time and negatively impact many health conditions.

According to the NCBI study, the prevalence of endocrine disorders in adults in the U.S. is estimated at least 5%. Diabetes mellitus, osteopenia, hypothyroidism, and mild to moderate hypovitaminosis D are common endocrine disorders in adults.  

What Are Endocrine Disorders?

All glands and organs that regulate the release of hormones into the bloodstream constitute the endocrine system. Hormonal imbalance can lead to various endocrine disorders. 

The hormones in the human body are mainly categorized as low molecular hormones, steroids, and protein hormones. These hormones stimulate the transport of glucose, amino acids, and ions across the body. They inhibit cellular enzymes and also influence the cell’s genetic information.

An elevated or depressed hormone level may be due to the following:

  • Feedback system failure.
  • Dysfunction of the endocrine glands or organs.
  • Degradation or inactivation of the hormones by antibodies at the target cells.
  • Failure of the target cells to respond.

All these occur when there is an alteration in the normal functioning of the endocrine glands and organs. This condition is called an endocrine disorder.

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Types of Endocrine Disorders

As mentioned earlier, the hormonal imbalance leads to an endocrine disorder, and when hormonal imbalance occurs, it has negative impacts on the overall body. Here at Far North Surgery, we have a solution for different types of metabolic and endocrine disorders, including:

1. Hyperaldosteronism

A disease where one or both adrenal glands creates too much aldosterone (a hormone that stimulates the absorption of sodium by the kidneys and helps to regulate water and salt balance in the body). Excess aldosterone production leads to high blood pressure and low potassium levels in the blood.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of adrenal glands’ genetic disorders. A person with this disease lacks one enzyme. Adrenal glands use to produce hormones that help the immune system, maintain blood pressure, and regulate metabolism, along with helping your body respond to stressful situations.

2. Adrenal Insufficiency

Adrenal glands are responsible for producing several hormones, most importantly cortisol, because it performs different tasks like water retention, potassium secretion, and conservation. They are located at the top of the kidneys. The insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce steroid hormones.

3. Osteoporosis

It is a bone disorder that occurs when bone mass and a bone mineral density decrease, and in some cases, the quality and structure of the bone change. In osteoporosis, the wrist, hip, spine, and skeleton parts are more prone to fractures.

Common Types of Endocrine Disorders

  • Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison’s Disease): the body's adrenal glands produce too little cortisol and aldosterone.
  • Diabetes: A chronic condition when the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin to regulate blood glucose levels.
  • Grave’s Disease (Hyperthyroidism): An immune system disorder that affects the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Hashimoto’s Disease (Hypothyroidism): A condition that causes an underactive thyroid gland.
  • Gigantism (Acromegaly): The condition where the overproduction of growth hormones by the pituitary gland increases the bones’ size.
  • Cushing’s Disease: Overuse of steroids causes a benign pituitary gland tumor leading to ACTH imbalance, which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (Pcos): The disorder affects women with high levels of androgens and small cysts on their ovaries. It can cause irregular or missed periods, hair growth, and infertility.

Causes of Endocrine Disorder

There are various causes of endocrine disorders. 

  • Hormonal Imbalance: Too much or too little hormone production from the glands leads to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Infection or Disease:  A benign growth in any gland.
  • Genetic Disorder: A genetic factor that stops the cells from properly functioning.

Significant Endocrine Disorders Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms of an endocrine disorder include the following:

  • Changing blood glucose level
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Persistent headache
  • Hair loss
  • Changes in voice
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Blood stains in urine and stool.
  • Changes in bowel movement

Risk Factors Associated with Endocrine Disorder

Endocrine disorders, if untreated, can lead to life-threatening conditions. The patient must receive immediate medical attention if the symptoms persist for more than three days. Some of the risk factors associated with endocrine disorders include:

  • A low heart rate may lead to heart failure
  • Fatigue
  • Myopathy (weakening of muscle fibers leading to neuromuscular disorder)
  • Encephalopathy (an acute confusional state and delirium.)
  • Coma
  • Paralysis
  • Stroke
  • Impairment neurologic system 

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Prevention of Endocrine Disorders

There are several ways to maintain a healthy endocrine system.

  • Nutrition: What and when you eat matters. Try to eat healthy food at regular times and avoid late-night snacks and junk food.
  • Exercise: A healthy body can help you resist diseases; regular exercise can strengthen your body system and facilitate normal functioning.
  • Avoid Endocrine Disruptors:  These chemicals interrupt the endocrine glands' normal functioning. Avoid packed and processed food that are the primary sources of endocrine disruptors.
  • Monitoring and Medical Assistance: regular check-ups and advice from an expert doctor can help you track the performance of your endocrine system and maintain its healthy functioning.

Endocrine Disorders Treatment and Surgery

Early diagnosis help prevents or treats these conditions. In addition, understanding the relationship between the nervous and endocrine systems can improve treating these conditions. Every endocrine disorder has its unique treatment options.

  • Medication can help restore hormonal balance.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation help treat cancer.
  • Endocrine surgery removes the whole or part of the diseased gland or organ.

The different types of endocrine surgery are: 

  • Adrenal Surgery: Surgical removal of both adrenal glands
  • Pancreatic Surgery: Surgical removal of the diseased part of the pancreas.
  • Thyroid Lobectomy: Surgical removal of the thyroid lobe
  • Parathyroid Surgery: helps control Parathyroid diseases.  

Need Help with Endocrine Disorder? Contact Far North Surgery

If you are looking for an endocrine surgeon in Anchorage, AK, our team can provide the latest treatment methods for cancer and other endocrine disorders at an affordable range. Our staff members are trained and highly equipped to care for you or your loved ones throughout and after the surgery.

Dr. Madhu Prasad is one of the finest general surgeons and surgical oncologists in Anchorage, Alaska. He holds the experience of over 30 years in providing world-class surgical procedures to his patients. They collaborate with other specialists to offer top-grade medical care to all our patients. Using minimally invasive surgery; our team focuses on providing our patients with faster recovery and lower pain levels.

Contact us to schedule your appointment today!

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