The Endocrine (Hormone) System
The endocrine system is a complex collection of hormone-producing glands that control basic body functions such as metabolism, growth and sexual development.
The amount of hormones produced by each gland is carefully balanced. Too much or too little of a certain hormone can have effects throughout the body and cause various endocrine disorders. Many of the hormones produced by the endocrine glands interact with each other to maintain this delicate balance.
The endocrine system consists of the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, pancreas, adrenal cortex, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, and reproductive organs.
The endocrine glands secrete the hormones they produce directly into the bloodstream. On the other hand, the exocrine glands actually secrete their substances through ducts to particular areas of the body. Examples of exocrine glands include the salivary glands and the sweat glands. Most endocrine glands are controlled by trophic (stimulating) hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, in turn, is controlled by hormones secreted by the hypothalamus in the brain.
When should I see an Endocrinologist?
Your primary care provider may refer you to an Endocrinologist if you are diagnosed with a hormonal condition such as diabetes, thyroid disease or growth problems. The science of hormonal diseases and conditions is constantly changing. An Endocrinologist stays current with these changes and can offer the latest treatments to their patients.
At CHI Health Clinic, our team of board-certified Endocriniologists are internal medicine specialists that have completed advanced training in hormonal diseases and are certified in Endocrinology, Diabetes, & Metabolism.
Reproductive Endocrinology is a sub-specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Reproductive Endocrinologists receive board certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Your Endocrinologist does not replace your primary care provider and will communicate regularly with your primary care clinician.
Common endocrine disease and conditions include
- Cushing’s syndrome (an adrenal gland disorder that causes excessive levels of the cortisol hormone)
- Graves’ disease (a thyroid gland disorder that causes excessive levels of the thyroid hormone)
- Acromegaly (a pituitary gland disorder that causes overproduction of growth hormone)
- Addison’s disease (decreased production of adrenal gland hormones)
- Diabetes mellitus (a decrease in the hormone insulin that affects the way your body uses the energy in food)
- Graves’ disease (excessive levels of the thyroid hormone)
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune disease resulting in low production of thyroid hormone)
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Prolactinoma ( pituitary gland tumor that causes overproduction of the hormone prolactin)
These conditions often have many symptoms, affect multiple parts of the body, and can range in severity from mild to very severe. Treatments depend on the specific disorder but often focus on adjusting hormone balance using synthetic hormones.
For More Information
If you would like more information about treatment options that are available to you, please use the contact us form or call us at (800) 253-4368.