What are the symptoms of endocrine disorders?

The symptoms of endocrine disorders can range from mild or even nonexistent to serious and affecting your entire body and overall feeling of well-being. Specific symptoms depend on the specific part of the endocrine system affected.

Common symptoms of diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is the most common endocrine disorder and occurs when the pancreas either does not produce sufficient insulin or the body cannot use the available insulin. Symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Vision changes

Common symptoms of acromegaly

Acromegaly is a disorder in which the pituitary gland overproduces growth hormone. This leads to symptoms of overgrowth, especially of the hands and feet. Symptoms of acromegaly include:

  • Abnormally large lips, nose or tongue
  • Abnormally large or swollen hands or feet
  • Altered facial bone structure
  • Body and joint aches
  • Deep voice
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headaches
  • Overgrowth of bone and cartilage and thickening of the skin
  • Sexual dysfunction, including decreased libido
  • Sleep apnea
  • Vision impairment

Common symptoms of Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is characterized by decreased production of cortisol and aldosterone due to adrenal gland damage. Common symptoms of Addison’s disease include:

  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Hyperpigmentation of the skin (bronze appearance)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Salt cravings
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome arises from excess cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands. Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  • Buffalo hump (fat between the shoulder blades)
  • Skin discoloration such as bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Thinning and weakening of the bones (osteoporosis)
  • Frequent urination
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Obesity of the upper body
  • Rounded “moon“ face
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of Graves’ disease

Graves’ disease is a type of hyperthyroidism resulting in excessive thyroid hormone production. Common symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
  • Heat intolerance
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Thick or red skin on the shins
  • Tremors
  • Unexplained weight loss

Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or autoimmune thyroiditis, is a condition in which the thyroid is targeted by the immune system, leading to hypothyroidism and low production of thyroid hormone. Often, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is symptomless, but symptoms can include:

  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Dry hair and loss of hair
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Weight gain

Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition characterized by an overactive thyroid gland. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
  • Heat intolerance
  • Irritability and mood changes
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Tremors
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is underactive and produces too little thyroid hormone. Often, hypothyroidism can be symptomless or very mild. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Decreased sweat production
  • Dry hair
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Swollen face
  • Unexplained weight gain

Common symptoms of prolactinoma

Prolactinoma arises when a dysfunctional pituitary gland makes excess prolactin hormone, which functions in the production of breast milk. Excess prolactin can lead to symptoms such as:

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, endocrine disorders can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition including:

  • Confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment
  • Dangerously low blood pressure (extreme hypotension)
  • Dangerously slow heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Eye problems, including dryness, irritation, pressure, pain or bulging
  • Severe fatigue or weakness
  • Severe, unexplained headache
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sleep disturbances

INTRODUCTION

What are endocrine disorders?

Endocrine disorders are diseases related to the endocrine glands of the body. The endocrine system produces hormones, which are chemical signals sent out, or secreted, through the bloodstream. Hormones help the body regulate processes, such as appetite, breathing, growth, fluid balance, feminization and virilization, and weight control.... Read more about endocrine disordersintroduction

CAUSES

What causes endocrine disorders?

Endocrine disorders arise because of problems with the glands of the endocrine system. Of the many potential endocrine disorders, some of the most common relate to problems with the pancreas or with the pituitary, thyroid, or adrenal glands.

Causes of endocrine disorders

A number of factors are believed to cause endocrine disorders. Types and causes of endocrine disorde... Read more about endocrine disorderscauses

TREATMENTS

How are endocrine disorders treated?

In many cases, endocrine disorders may be symptomless or mild enough to not require treatment. Symptoms can arise from excess hormone production or a hormone deficiency. When symptoms of endocrine disorders are bothersome, they can generally be treated by correcting the hormone imbalance. This is often done by means of synthetic hormone administration. In cases such as prolactinoma, where a non... Read more about endocrine disorderstreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Diabetes and the Endocrine System


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