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Its better to know your endocrine system: Expert.

Muscat: Endocrinology is fast emerging as one of the super speciality fields all across the world as it can help treat hormonal disorders among people.

Endocrine system is a complex network consisting of integrated hormone-producing glands and organs. It produces and releases different types of hormones to maintain and control key functions throughout the body, including growth and development, metabolism, and tissue function. A hormone imbalance can have a drastic impact on body function. Endocrinology is the medical super speciality dealing with the endocrine system, the specific secretions of the endocrine glands called hormones and the diseases involving them.

''Hormones are substances that help us control the activities in our body. As we know, different types of hormones control reproduction, metabolism (food burning and waste elimination), and growth and development," said Dr. Ajith Kumar (MBBS, MD, DNB, DM), senior specialist and endocrinologist at KIMS Oman Hospital.

"Technically, hormones control the way we respond to our surroundings, and one hormone may have several effects on different target organs. Glands that make up the endocrine system include thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes, adrenal, pituitary and hypothalamus,'' he said.

Broadly speaking, endocrine disorders may be subdivided into three groups. They include endocrine gland hyposecretion (leading to hormone deficiency), endocrine gland hypersecretion (leading to hormone excess) and tumours (benign or malignant) of endocrine glands.

Common endocrine disorders include diabetes mellitus, a major health problem affecting millions of people throughout the world. A majority of diabetic patients have Type 2 Diabetes and the usual causes are obesity, physical inactivity, and hereditary factors. Early and continued treatment of diabetes mellitus is important in preventing complications.

''Obesity is an important public health problem, causing major complications including diabetes. Management by the endocrinologist is important in detecting any correctable causes, and in guiding therapy including surgical correction,'' said Dr. Ajith.

Thyroid disorders are extremely common throughout the world. The disorders include Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Goitre, Thyroiditis, Cretinism (Congenital hypothyroidism), thyroid cancer etc. Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, excess sleep, hair loss, weight gain, high cholesterol levels, irregular periods in women etc. Correction of hypothyroidism is important, especially during pregnancy. Hyperthyroidism leads to weight loss, fatigue, poor sleep etc.

Correction of hyperthyroidism is important in the prevention of its complications. Goitre simply means thyroid swelling, and the causes range from hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism to thyroid cancer. The cause of goitre will be generally evident following the investigations ordered by an endocrinologist. Cretinism (Congenital hypothyroidism) is the commonest preventable cause of mental retardation. An endocrinologist is the ideal doctor to manage calcium homeostasis disorders and metabolic bone diseases.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Sep 6, 2012
Words:457
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