The Encyclopedia of Endocrine Diseases and Disorders PDF
1.25 MB PDF
As an endocrinologist, I am very familiar with the importance of the endocrine glands to human functioning. These glands work continuously to maintain the health of all individuals as we move through each and every day of our lives. In fact, when one or more of the endocrine glands malfunction, the person’s entire system is often thrown into disarray. For example, if a person develops Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder that causes hypothyroidism, the person’s once-normal thyroid levels will drop. He or she may become lethargic and show a variety of symptoms. These range from annoying to severe and affect many activities of daily living. Due to lethargy, the patient’s physical activity level will usually decrease. Thus the patient may gain weight, even though he or she eats about the same amount of food as they had before becoming hypothyroid. The individual with hypothyroidism may also appear apathetic and depressed, sometimes leading the patient to seek treatment for these symptoms rather than for the underlying cause.
There are many other examples of endocrine diseases that manifest profound effects on those who live with these illnesses, especially if their endocrine disorder is not identified and treated. For example, diabetes mellitus has a major health impact on millions of people. Sadly, many people who have diabetes, and particularly Type 2 diabetes which usually can be treated with oral medications, are undiagnosed and untreated. These people risk suffering severe complications from their long-term untreated illness.
Other, less common endocrine diseases and disorders also have an impact. Some patients face cancer of their endocrine glands, such as cancer of the pancreas, thyroid, ovaries, testes, and the other organs that comprise the endocrine system. These cancers are not as commonly diagnosed as are cancers of the lung, breast, prostate, or colon. However, they are equally as devastating to those who experience them.
Some people develop very rare diseases of the endocrine system. One such disease, gigantism, causes extremely tall height due to a malfunction of the pituitary gland. Other individuals have unusually short stature, or dwarfism, often due to genetic mutations they have inherited from their parents and sometimes from deficiencies of growth hormone.
In this volume, we have attempted to cover the gamut of endocrine diseases and disorders, ranging from the more common diseases, such as thyroid disease and diabetes, to the rarer medical problems. Our goal is to provide readers with a broad overview of the endocrine system, illustrating how the endocrine glands function when they work normally as well as describing what happens when the endocrine glands malfunction and discussing what can be done in the case of the latter.
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