Diseases Diseases

What You Must Know About Pituitary Gland Diseases

Introduction

Various functions of human body are controlled by hormones and enzymes. Nowadays, hormonal diseases have attracted the attention of scientists, doctors and general public, pituitary gland diseases being the most prominent ones. This article covers important information on the pituitary gland, its hormones and important diseases or disorders associated with it.

History

The Gland:
Pituitary gland, also known as the “master gland” or “hypophysis” is an important endocrine gland which controls important body functions and regulates other organs, glands as well as ducts of our body. It weighs approximately 0.5gm and is of the same size and shape of a pea. The gland remains suspended from the base of brain and is seated in a small cavity or sella turcica which is enveloped in double membranes. Hypophysis is divided into anterior plus posterior lobes.


Important Hormones Secreted:
Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), Prolactin (PRL), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH), Anti-diuretic Hormone (ADH) or Vasopressin and Oxytocin are major hormones secreted by it.

Reason Behind Occurrence Of Pituitary Gland Diseases:
Most pituitary gland diseases occur due to deficiency or over-secretion of a particular hormone, failure of gland and nutritional deficiency.
Common Pituitary Gland Diseases:
1) Pituitary tumors: Most of them are benign and may result in headaches, tissue damage, visual disturbances and hormonal imbalance with time.

2) Hypo-pituitarism: It may occur because of shocks, irregular blood supply, tumor formation, infection, radiation or side effects of a surgery. It causes decreased hormonal production.

3) Gigantism and Acromegaly: They’re commonest of all pituitary gland diseases. Excessive production of HGH results in abnormal enlargement of body parts and overall height (condition known as gigantism) whereas deficiency may cause Acromegaly or dwarf like condition. Disturbed levels of HGH are a result of tumor formation during prenatal stages.

4) ESS: Also called Empty Sella Syndrome, it is an inborn disorder in which sella or the surrounding layer overgrows and applies pressure on the gland thus making it shrink and reducing hormonal production.

Features

Rare Pituitary Gland Diseases:
1) Cushing’s syndrome: This is a condition caused by excessive secretion of ACTH and occurs in infants. It causes obesity, thinning of skin, formation of pink streaks or rashes on abdomen, weak muscles, high BP, high blood sugar level and osteoporosis.

2) Nelson’s syndrome: It takes place after the development of Cushing’s syndrome, in response to the removal of the twin adrenal glands. Darkening of the skin in response to increased synthesis of Melanocyte is the prime symptom of this disorder.

3) Sheehan’s syndrome: Increase in overall size of the gland during pregnancy, often a result of complications leads to extremely low blood pressure thereby causing Sheehan’s syndrome and other pituitary gland diseases.

4) Kallman’s syndrome: This disorder is caused by sudden deficiency of gonadotropin releasing hormone or GnRH which facilitates the formation of LH and FSH. Calculated symptoms are delayed puberty (or complete absence sometimes), impotency and lack of smelling sense.

5) Diabetes Insipidus: Loss of excess water through urine due to lack of vasopressin hormone.

Tips and comments

These were some important pituitary gland diseases. You can find detailed information on each one of them by consulting a doctor or referring to online websites and medical journals.

By Smita, published at 03/29/2012
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