The hypothalamus, located below the thalamus is a part of the brain, the size of a pearl, that contains quite a number of nuclei and carries out various functions. Its chief function is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system through the hypophysis (commonly known as the pituitary gland), especially in response to stress. It is responsible for metabolic processes and other activities of the autonomic nervous system. It controls sleep, circadian cycles, thirst, hunger, fatigue and even body temperature. There are quite a number of hypothalamus diseases that tend to affect the chief functions of the hypothalamus. Below are some causes of the hypothalamus diseases, the symptoms, preventive measures and even treatment for such diseases.
About Hypothalamus Diseases
There are quite a number of causes of hypothalamus diseases. There is Anorexia nervosa, which is an eating disorder that makes a person lose weight not recommended for his/her height and age. It makes a person have a phobia for weight gain, even if he/she is underweight. This person would try to shade of any weight considered extra by dieting or exercising a lot. Another cause is bulimia, where a person eats a lot especially high-calorie foods until he/she feels loss of control, therefore tries to prevent gain of weight by using laxative, diuretics (water pills) or even vomiting. Other causes of hypothalamus diseases include: bleeding, developing growths or tumors, genetic disorders, infections, inflammation, head trauma, radiation, Malnutrition, surgery and even having too much iron in the body.
There are some common types of hypothalamus diseases; tumors (the most common being craniopharyngiomas that occurs in children). Craniopharyngioma is a tumor that develops near the pituitary gland and commonly affects under age children, below 10 years. Other hypothalamus diseases include low adrenal function, hypothyroidism (condition in which the thyroid gland is not able to make enough thyroid hormones) and Kallmann’s syndrome ( a type of hypothalamus diseases that usually occurs in men). Common types of hypothyroidism include chronic thyroiditis, sub acute thyroiditis, silent thyroiditis and neonatal hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of the hypothalamus diseases are usually due to lack of some hormones in the body. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are: constipation, having a depressed mood, changes in one’s menstrual cycle, unexpected weight gain, change in skin or hair color, and loss of muscle and body hair especially in men, impotence, having a hoarse voice, lack of ability to tolerate cold and even fatigue. When suffering from low adrenal function, one feels some sort of dizziness and even being weak many at times. Kallmann’s syndrome involves having a reduced function of sexual hormones, condition known as hypogonadism, or even not being able to smell. Symptoms associated with bulimia are compulsive exercise, vomiting regularly or even suddenly eating large amount of food. As for Craniopharyngioma, symptoms are: pituitary glands are damaged leading to hormonal imbalance leading to lots of thirst, excess urine or even stunted growth; damage of optic nerve leading to poss growth; damage of optic nerve leading to possible permanent vision problems; intracranial pressure (brain pressure) leading to nausea, vomiting, imbalance and even headaches. Other lesser symptoms are emotional problems, migraine, epilepsy, concentration disorders, obesity and even problems with the body temperature.
Some additional information
As for treatment of these hypothalamus diseases, it all depends with the disease one is suffering from. As for hormonal defects, the missing hormones can be replaced. The common used medication for this is Levothyroxine, so as to bring the hormonal levels back to normal range. When taking such medication, one should not stop even after feeling better, just like directed by the doctor. In short, this medication should be taken for the rest of one’s life. Tumors of the brain can be removed by surgery or exposure to some radiation to either reduce the tumors or completely remove them. Good nutrition is required for the pituitary so as to be treated. These include use of bee pollen, alfalfa, kelp, even minerals like potassium and magnesium.
There are also risk factors, even after treatment that one should careful look at. At times, if tumors are not completely removed, this condition may in future recur. In childhood, there is the risk factor of early or delayed puberty onset. Other complications may include infertility, miscarriage during pregnancy, increase risk of infection or even heart diseases, high cholesterol, vision problems, inability to tackle stress. At times, too much treatment of thyroid hormones might expose one to risk of heart attack, even thinning of the bones. Even though hypothyroidism can be treated, there is no prevention for hypothyroidism.
Hypothalamus diseases can be prevented if one maintains a healthy living through eating a balanced diet, not losing weight too abrupt, or even exercising too hard. It’s advisable to seek medical attention if you notice the above symptoms, because the earlier the treatment the better. Many of the causes of hypothalamus diseases can be treated.