An endocrine disorder results from the improper function of the endocrine system, which includes the glands that secrete hormones, the receptors that respond to hormones and the organs that are directly impacted by hormones. At any one of these points, dysfunction can occur and cause wide-ranging effects on the body.
Some of the most common types of endocrine disorders include:
- Addison’s disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Graves’ disease
- Hashimoto thyroiditis
- Cancers of the endocrine glands
What Causes an Endocrine Disorder?
An endocrine disorder is most often the result of a hormone imbalance, a condition characterized by a gland producing too much or too little of a hormone. This imbalance can be caused by:
Issues with the endocrine’s feedback system—its main job is to keep hormones in the body perfectly balanced but it can malfunction and cause an imbalance
Endocrine disorders can also occur as a result of nodules or tumors developing in the endocrine system. While it’s rare for an endocrine nodule or lump to be cancerous or spread to another part of the body, it can disrupt the endocrine system’s hormone production.
What Are the Symptoms of an Endocrine Disorder?
While each endocrine disorder has its own set of symptoms, some of the most common symptoms found among many of them include:
- Mood swings
- Unintended weight fluctuations
- Changes in blood glucose levels or cholesterol levels
How Is an Endocrine Disorder Diagnosed?
Diagnosing an endocrine disorder is a complex process, as the endocrine system is an interconnected structure that regulates many different bodily functions, like growth, metabolism and reproduction.
If your physician suspects you may have an endocrine disease, you may be referred to an endocrinologist. This specialist will likely order specific testing to confirm a diagnosis, such as:
- Blood testing
- Fine needle aspiration
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan Positron emission test (PET) scan
How Is an Endocrine Disorder Treated?
Tampa General Hospital’s team of skilled endocrinologists and supportive care specialists deliver world-class treatment for endocrine disorders. Treatment varies widely depending on the type of disorder you have, as each one uniquely disrupts the endocrine system. Treatment may involve:
- Medication to rebalance hormones and treat symptoms
- Chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for patients with cancerous tumors of the endocrine gland
- Surgery to remove a tumor on a gland that is affecting hormone production