Broadly speaking, gland-related disorders fall into two categories:
- The gland secretes too much or too little of a hormone
- The gland has benign or malignant tumors
Well-known endocrine disorders include:
Diabetes mellitus (including type 1, type 2 and gestational) is the most common endocrine disorder and caused by the body not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body being resistant to insulin, or both.
Hyperthyroidism, where too much of the thyroid hormone is produced, can lead to increased heart rate, weight loss, sweating, and nervousness. The most common cause is Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disorder.
Hypothyroidism, where too little of the thyroid hormone is produced, can lead to depression, constipation, fatigue and dry skin. In children, an underactive gland can result in delayed development.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a major cause of infertility, is often linked to overproduction of androgen hormones. This interferes with the development and release of a woman’s eggs.