Glucose is the simple carbohydrate that is used for energy production. It can be consumed directly or more complex carbohydrates can be broken down into glucose. While other nutrients play different roles in the body, both fats and proteins can also be converted into simple carbohydrates if it is needed for energy. Glucose is transported through the bloodstream to every cell. This ensures that the cells have a constant supply for energy production. Without glucose and energy production, cells will not function properly and eventually die. Fortunately, the human body has several reserves to maintain a constant supply of glucose to the cells. In this way, the blood glucose/sugar levels are normally maintained within a narrow range. However, any rise or drop in the glucose levels above or below the normal range can have serious effects.
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The thyroid gland is one of the important glands in the human body. Sitting in your neck, this butterfly-shaped gland primarily controls your body’s metabolism. Through the actions of its two hormones, the thyroid gland can speed up your metabolism or slow it down. This means that your cells will produce more energy or less. It also affects your body’s growth rate and has a host of other effects on the body. There are minor changes in thyroid activity occurring throughout the day but we never give our thyroid gland much thought until it become dysfunctional. With minor problems, there may be little to no symptoms. But once the thyroid activity is significantly affected, the symptoms become obvious, causes significant discomfort and can have severe consequences.
Diabetes mellitus is a global problem largely associated with diet and lifestyle, although genetic factors are just as important. With some 26 million American living with diabetes, it has become one of the major chronic diseases of today along with coronary artery disease and high blood cholesterol. The even more concerning factor is that there are some 79 million Americans with prediabetes, and it is not just the middle aged or elderly. Studies have revealed that approximately 35% of Americans older than 20 years of age (just over 1 out of 3 people) are suffering with prediabetes and many do not even know that they have the condition. Eventually these people will become diabetic without quick intervention.
With summer around the corner and erratic weather conditions becoming somewhat of the norm, heat waves are a more common occurrence these days. While it may seem like a good idea to spend the day outdoors, you may be at risk of heat-related illnesses. Your body has several ways to keep cool in order to prevent overheating, but sometimes this is not enough. When dealing with hot weather that you are not acclimatized to, try not to do what you normally would on a hot summer’s day. The reality is that a little too much of ‘fun in the sun’ can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Hunger is one sensation that we all understand from the time of birth. It compels us to find food and eat it, or as is the case with infants, to alert caregivers about the desire to feed. What we all expect is to feel satisfied after eating which means that the sensation of hunger subsides. Both satiety and hunger are at two ends of the spectrum governed by specific centers in the brain. However, there are instances where a person may continue to feel hungry after eating. Or at times hunger starts after eating. This is not considered to be normal.
So why would a person feel hungry after eating? It is often not serious. Eating a little more or having another meal may do the trick. But there are also instances where hunger can be a sign of certain diseases. If the feeling of hunger after eating recurs frequently or leads to changes in appetite then it needs to be investigated further. Naturally a person may start to eat more on a daily basis and would even gain weight. However, in some diseases the constant hunger and increased appetite may not lead to weight gain. In fact a person may be losing weight instead.
Glucose is the basic fuel used by the cells of the body to produce energy. Although the body stores some glucose as glycogen and can use fat and even protein for energy production, we largely depend on a constant glucose supply from food. As the blood glucose levels drop to lower levels, a person feels tired, irritable, sleepy and has difficulty concentrating.
Normally the body keeps the glucose levels in the blood within a narrow range. This ensures that blood glucose levels does not drop to dangerously low levels in a healthy person. But even at lower levels within the normal range, a person may experience symptoms that we tend to attribute to hunger and low blood glucose levels.
Definition and Meaning of Addison Disease
Addison disease is the term for primary adrenocortical insufficiency. This means that functions of the outer portion of the adrenal gland known as the cortex is impaired. The impairment is not a consequence of any other disease and is therefore referred to as primary adrenocortical insufficiency. The adrenal cortex is mainly responsible for the production and secretion of two types of hormones – mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. Small amounts of male hormones (androgens) are also produced in the adrenal cortex. Addison disease means that the production of these hormones are impaired. The effects and symptoms of Addison disease is therefore due to lower than normal levels of mineralcorticoids and glucocorticoids as well as androgens to some extent.
Lithium-induced goiter is a condition where the thyroid gland enlarges in patients using lithium. Due to the location of the thyroid gland, it causes a swelling in the neck. The condition is caused by the use of lithium in the treatment of bipolar disorder. However, there are other more common causes of goiter that are not associated with lithium. Although patients who are more likely to experience this condution have a history of iodine deficiency or existing thyroid disease, a goiter can occur even with adequate iodine intake and normal thyroid function and structure.
Somatostatinomas are rare tumors of the pancreatic cells that secrete the hormone somatostatin. The pancreas is not the only location where somatostatin is produced but larger somatostatinomas are most likely to occur in the pancreas. Since this hormone has a suppressive action on most other hormones, a somatostatinoma tends to present with symptoms associated with the inhibition of these hormones. Somatostatinomas are malignant meaning that it is cancerous but is curable if the tumor can be surgically removed before the cancer has spread to other organs.
Overall somatostatinomas are very rare. It occurs in only about 1 in 40 million people in the United States. The prevalence is equal in both men and women. Somatostatinomas are more frequently detected in the 40 to 60 year age group although some of the conditions it is associated with, like multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 and neurofibromatosis, often start earlier in life. Since somatostatinomas are slow growing tumors, this may account for its diagnosis later in life.
What is a prolactinoma?
A prolactinoma is a tumor that secretes prolactin, the hormone that is responsible for stimulating milk production. Normally prolactin is secreted in controlled amounts by the pituitary gland, the master gland that sits at the base of the brain and controls most other glands in the body. A prolactinoma arises when a tumor grows in the portion of the pituitary gland that has prolactin-secreting cells. It is a benign tumor meaning that it is non-cancerous. A prolactinoma can be very effectively treated with medication in most cases but sometimes surgery and even radiation therapy may be necessary.
How common are prolactinomas?
The exact incidence of a prolactinoma is not known as not all patients seek medical treatment or have surgery to remove the tumor. Therefore it is difficult to estimate how common prolactinomas are in the general population. Prolactinomas can occur in both males and females. Larger prolactinomas are seen in males while most females have smaller tumors. There are many different types of benign growths that can arise in the pituitary gland, known as putuitary adenomas, and a prolactinoma accounts for about 30% of akk pituitary adenomas.
What is glucose intolerance?
Glucose intolerance is a broad term encompassing several conditions that leads to abnormally high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). It is often confused with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), one of the conditions listed under the term glucose intolerance. Sometimes glucose intolerance is also mistaken for a digestive disorder where glucose in not digested or absorbed, like with lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. However, glucose intolerance actually means conditions where the body is not processing glucose as it should leading to elevated glucose levels in the blood.
What is calciphylaxis?
Calciphylaxis is a condition where there is abnormal deposition of calcium in the body primarily affecting certain small blood vessels and leading to skin damage. It is also referred to as vascular calcification as the blood vessel becomes hardened due to the calcium deposition. The main blood vessels affected in calciphylaxis are the tiny arterioles supplying blood to the subcutaneous fat and the skin above it. It can be life threatening and most deaths arise from complications rather than from calciphylaxis itself. Although the skin is primarily affected in calciphylaxis, the same process can occur in the tiny arterioles of internal organs. The consequences of internal organ involvement can be life-threatening even without an infection.
What is an insulinoma?
An insulinoma is a rare tumor of the pancreas leading to an excess of insulin. The pancreas makes several enzymes and hormones, including the hormone insulin. In case of an insulinoma, the pancreas makes too much of insulin which can upset the normal metabolism. Insulin controls blood sugar (glucose) levels by moving blood sugar into cells. Hormone-producing tumors of the pancreas are also known as pancreatic endocrine tumors.
Under normal conditions, the pancreas stops making insulin once blood sugar becomes low. Blood sugar again rises slowly and comes to a normal level. However, in case of an insulinoma the pancreas keeps making insulin, which keeps moving sugar into the cells. Due to this, blood sugar levels drop to dangerously low levels. This can result in mild to severe symptoms ranging from anxiety and hunger to seizures, coma or death.
What is Luteinizing Hormone Deficiency?
A deficiency of luteinizing hormone has pronounced effects on human reproduction. In order to understand the consequences of a deficiency of luteinizing hormone, it is important to first understand the effect of this hormone in the human body. Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a hormone produced by pituitary gland. Luteinizing hormone is important for reproduction in both males and females. In women, luteinizing hormone maintains the menstrual cycle and ovulation (release of an egg cell from the ovary). In men, luteinizing hormone stimulates the production of another hormone called testosterone. Testosterone is important for sperm production.
A pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor of the tissues of the adrenal gland. These glands sit at the top of each kidney and secrete catecholamine hormones, which regulate heart rate, body metabolism, and blood pressure. A tumor in or around the adrenal gland would result in excessive secretion of the two major catecholamine hormones from the adrenal gland – noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and adrenaline (epinephrine). This can disturb metabolism and can raise the blood pressure and the heart rate. If undetected or left untreated, a pheochromocytoma can lead to life-threatening hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart beat irregularities.
What is an adrenal adenoma?
An adrenal adenoma is a benign mass in the adrenal gland that sits on top of the kidney. Adrenal adenomas are largely non-functional meaning that it occupies space but does not secrete hormones. However, sometimes benign masses in the adrenal glands can be functional thereby causing high levels of some of the adrenal hormones. Although the exact cause of an adrenal adenoma is unknown in most cases, it is often associated with inherited endocrine diseases. Large tumors and functional adrenal adenomas need to be surgically removed and often does not recur.
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