Diseases Diseases

Diseases Affecting The Endocrine System

Published at 07/15/2011 21:26:45

If you ask a person what are the important system of the human body, you’ll hear them utter: respiratory system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system or urinary system. You’ll never hear them say: The endocrine system. This system can be considered as the framework of the house. No matter how beautiful and strong looking the house may look, it cannot exist without a good framework. While the endocrine system is considered as the “accessory” of the human body, an alteration in its function can greatly affect the other systems and seize it from working efficiently. The following article is all about diseases affecting the endocrine system.

  • Diabetes Insipidus

It is a disorder characterized by a person producing a tremendous amount of urine due to absolute and partial deficiency of vasopressin (ADH). This hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is responsible in controlling the amount of fluid that the kidneys reabsorb into the circulatory system and the fluid which the kidneys pass out of the body in the form of urine. Genetics, infection and tumor are thought to destroy the ability of the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland to secrete ADH causing the kidneys to exhibit excessive diuresis.

Signs and symptoms

Excessive urination is experienced and the patient drinks copious amounts of water.  Lethargy, body malaise and other signs and symptoms of electrolyte imbalances are manifested due to excessive amount of fluid loss in the body.


A hormonal replacement therapy is administered. A synthetic vasopressin is administered intramuscularly to restore the amount of fluid loss and regularize the volume of urine to normal. Vasopressin can also be administered nasally.

  • Syndrome of inappropriate ADH secretion (SIADH)

This is the exact opposite of diabetes insipidus. Fluid retention occurs due to hypersecretion of the vasopressin which increases the water reabsoprtion of the kidneys.

Signs and symptoms

There’s a manifestation of water intoxication characterized by nausea and vomiting, mental confusion, muscular cramps and hyponatremia (low sodium levels).


Restriction of fluid intake is a must. Administration of NaCl and diuretic drugs is done to promote the release of fluid retention and inhibit the oversecretion of the vasopressin.

  • Hyperthyroidism

It is a disorder caused by overproduction of thyroid hormones. Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones are responsible for regulating the metabolism of the body. Too much intake of iodine, tumors, excessive intake of thyroid hormone medication, inflammation of the thyroid due to viral infection and Graves disease (an autoimmune disorder causing the overactvity of the gland) causes the overproduction of the thyroid gland.

Signs and symptoms

They will experience irritability, restlessness, increased appetite, frequent bowel movements, weight loss, profuse sweating, high blood pressure, heat intolerance and nervousness.


Administration of anti thyroid medication is a must to prevent the overproduction of the T3 and T4. Radioactive iodine may also be given to destroy the thyroid and avoid overproduction of hormones. A surgery called thyroidectomy may also be done by the physician for a partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland.

  • Hypothyroidism

It is a disorder characterized by underproduction of thyroid hormones. Inflammation of the thyroid gland, postpartum throiditis (hypothyroidism developed after pregnancy),viral thyroiditis, surgical removal of the gland, excessive intake of radioactive iodine and congenital defects lead to the disorder.

Signs and symptoms

The patient will experience excessive weight gain, depression, weakness,  cold intolerance, dry and brittle hair, low blood pressure, constipation, fatigability, joint pain and  puffiness of the hands, face and feet.


Replacement of the deficient thyroid hormone is a must. Levothyroxine is given to relieve symptoms and bring the level of TSH to a normal level. Frequent rest periods and a high fiber diet are recommended.

  • Diabetes Mellitus

It is chronic disease characterized by an abnormal increase in the blood sugar level due to relative insufficiency or lack of insulin which results to excessive breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein. There are two types of the disease which is Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is acquired at a very young age due genetic factors and an autoimmune disorder while the type 2 is usually acquired due to poor diet and lifestyle.

Signs and symptoms

The patient manifests the universal 3 P’s of diabetes mellitus which is polyphagia (voracious appetite), polyphagia (drinks copious amount of water), polydipsia (excessive urination). Patients who are suffering from type 1 DM are relatively thin while people who are diagnosed with the other type of DM are usually overweight or obese.


The treatment depends on the type of diabetes mellitus. Patients who are identified as type 1 diabetics are required to take insulin to replace the ability of the beta cells in the pancreas to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetics should modify their diet and have a strict exercise regimen to control their weight. Administration of oral hypoglycemic drugs is given to stimulate the release of insulin in the pancreas or retard the release of glucose from the liver. Sulfonylureas may also be given to stimulate the beta cells to produce insulin.

Tips and comments:

There are lots of diseases affecting the endocrine system. It is advisable for you take extra care of your whole body and not only the systems which are usually deemed to be important. Awareness of the endocrine system, its disease and treatment is imperative to prevent any disorders and complications from arising.