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What are endocrine disorders?

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Quick Answer

Endocrine disorders involve glands that make and release hormones, according to WebMD. These diseases affect endocrine glands such as the pancreas and thyroid. Other endocrine glands include the ovaries in women and testes in men, the pituitary gland, the thymus and the hypothalamus.

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Full Answer

The adrenal glands and the pineal gland are also glands that produce hormones, explains WebMD. Diseases of the endocrine system develop because the gland is producing the wrong amount of hormone. Endocrine diseases are also caused by tumors. These tumors can force the gland to make more or less hormone than it should. The body mistakes the endocrine gland for a foreign object and directs the immune system to attack it.

One of the most common endocrine diseases is diabetes, notes WebMD. With diabetes, the insulin produced by the pancreas is either nonexistent, as in Type I diabetes, or is not being used properly by the body, as in Type 2 diabetes, says Mayo Clinic.

Other endocrine disorders affect the adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys, states WebMD. When the adrenal glands produce too little cortisol or aldosterone, the patient can experience tiredness, changes to the skin, dehydration and upset stomach. Gigantism is caused when the pituitary gland secretes too much growth hormone, and hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone.

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