Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases
What is Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders?
The system in which the endocrine glands are located is called the endocrine system, and the branch of science that studies the disorders occurring in these glands is known as endocrinology. The internal glands within the endocrine system are organs responsible for synthesizing and secreting hormones. These hormones produced by the glands have various functions in the body. Apart from contributing to reproduction, development, growth, and metabolism, hormones also control our responses.
The endocrine glands, or secretory glands, are located in various parts of the body, including the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries in females, testes in males, adrenal glands, parathyroid glands, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus. Problems occurring in these glands can lead to many different diseases. Endocrinologists, experts in this field, diagnose and treat disorders originating from these glands.
What Conditions Does the Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders Unit Address?
The endocrinology and metabolic disorders unit is focused on the treatment of hormone and metabolic disorders. The following are the diseases included in this unit:
The most common disease among endocrinology and metabolic disorders is diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas, the gland responsible for producing insulin, either fails to produce enough insulin or when the produced insulin cannot be effectively utilized. This disease is among those that can last a lifetime.
Individuals with diabetes have excessive sugar in their blood. After regular measurements of fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels, patients diagnosed with diabetes are typically classified as "Type 1" or "Type 2". Once the type of disease is determined, treatment with medication or insulin is initiated under medical supervision to prevent the occurrence of more severe damage in the body.
Obesity, also commonly known as overweight, is a widespread disease globally. This diagnosis is given to individuals with excessive fat content based on body mass index. Various factors contribute to obesity, such as irregular and unhealthy eating habits, genetic issues, insulin resistance, thyroid and adrenal gland diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome, and hypothalamus disorders. Following endocrine-related obesity diagnosis, doctors begin a treatment process with the supervision of a specialized dietitian.
The thyroid gland, a major factor in the body's metabolism, can disrupt organ function if not properly produced and stored.
Excessive secretion of thyroid hormones can lead to symptoms such as palpitations, irritability, significant weight loss, increased sweating, trembling hands, hair loss, and thin, moist skin. Insufficient thyroid function can cause fatigue, sleepiness, intolerance to cold, constipation, depression, joint pain, dry skin, low libido, and irregular menstruation.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to serious health issues affecting the heart, brain, and kidneys. Hypertension damages the blood vessels that supply these organs, potentially resulting in heart attacks, kidney failure, and strokes.
Millions of couples worldwide struggle with infertility. Various treatment methods are explored during this process. Proper treatment options, including those related to endocrine disorders, can help individuals achieve parenthood. The endocrinology and metabolic disorders unit addresses problems such as menstrual irregularities, menopause, sexual dysfunction, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
One of the hormones in the body is the growth hormone, which affects growth and development in both children and adults. Disorders affecting the growth hormone are treated. Correcting the growth hormone levels ensures that children grow at a normal rate compared to their peers and promotes balanced growth. This condition applies to adolescents and adults and can have psychological impacts later in life.
Excessive Hair Growth (Hirsutism)
Excessive hair growth, known as hirsutism, has various causes. One of them is the increased presence of male hormones in females. This hormonal disorder can be treated with medication, addressing symptoms such as voice deepening, irregular menstruation, male-pattern hair loss, and enlarged Adam's apple. Excessive hair growth can also occur in women who rapidly gain weight after menopause or childbirth. This condition can be related to adrenal gland or ovarian tumors and might be a side effect of certain medications.
Osteomalacia and Rickets
Osteomalacia affects adults, while rickets affects children. These are bone softening diseases. Hormonal imbalances, along with insufficient or deficient vitamin D, can cause these conditions. Aging and menopause also contribute to these diseases. Vitamin D supplementation can help prevent these conditions, but medical supervision is necessary.
Adrenal Gland Disorders
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. When cortisol is overproduced or taken externally, it leads to a condition known as "Cushing's syndrome." Although more common in females, this disease is rare. Symptoms include weight gain, skin stretch marks, kidney stones, fat accumulation in the neck area, increased facial hair in women, and elevated blood sugar levels. Surgical or medical treatment is used to manage this condition. Other disorders of the adrenal glands, such as adrenal masses and adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease), are also addressed and treated within the realm of endocrinology and metabolic disorders.