Sure Signs Your Endocrine System Isn't as Strong as it Should Be

·3 min read

The endocrine system isn't talked about often and many people have never heard of it, but we rely on it for several vital functions that affect our mood, growth, metabolism, development and sexual health. The endocrine system includes eight major glands and when hormone levels are too high or low, your overall well-being can be greatly affected. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Kanchana Viswanathan, M.D, FACE with Dignity Health St. Mary who shares what to know about the endocrine system and symptoms to pay attention to that indicate you could have a disorder. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Why Your Endocrine System is Important

Dr. Viswanathan tells us, "Endocrine System comprises multiple hormone producing glands secreting a variety of hormones -like Insulin  (yes -insulin is a hormone ) secreted from pancreas, thyroid hormone from thyroid gland , steroid hormones like cortisol from adrenal gland sex hormones -estrogen, testosterone from ovaries and testicles. There are also major hormone producing glands like the pituitary and parathyroid glands. These hormones have effects on multiple cells throughout the body. Hence any dysfunction of the endocrine system causes symptoms affecting the entire body." 

 

2

Common Signs of Endocrine Imbalance

Tired Of Work. Fatigued black businessman taking off glasses, massaging nose, working in cafe
Tired Of Work. Fatigued black businessman taking off glasses, massaging nose, working in cafe

Dr. Viswanathan says, "Common signs of endocrine imbalance include: "Fatigue, unintentional weight loss or weight gain,blood pressure changes , changes in heart rhythm, irregular periods in women, infertility, erectile dysfunction and infertility in men."

3

Diabetes

doctor with glucometer and insulin pen device talking to male patient at medical office in hospital
doctor with glucometer and insulin pen device talking to male patient at medical office in hospital

According to Dr. Viswanathan, "Endocrine hormones like insulin and thyroid hormone  affect multiple levels of metabolism. Insulin is an essential hormone to metabolize carbohydrates and provide the energy for cellular activities and storage of food for later use. Insulin secretion abnormalities lead to diabetes and signs of diabetes can be fatigue, weight loss, excessive thirst and urination."

4

Thyroid Hormone Deficiency

weight gain
weight gain

Dr. Viswanathan explains, "Thyroid hormone deficiency (Hypothyroidism) can slow down metabolism and cause weight gain. Thyroid hormone also affects heart rhythm and heart muscle function."

5

Excess Thyroid Hormone (Hyperthyroidism)

Woman suffering from chest pain
Woman suffering from chest pain

Dr. Viswanathan shares, "Excess thyroid hormone (Hyperthyroidism) can increase heart rate. A hyperthyroid state can cause arrythmias (abnormal heart rhythm) including atrial fibrillation."

6

Cortisol Imbalance

Nurse taking the blood pressure of elderly man
Nurse taking the blood pressure of elderly man

Dr. Viswanathan says, "Adrenal gland makes steroids like cortisol which is a stress hormone and a deficiency of cortisol (Adrenal Insufficiency) will lead to excessive fatigue , weight loss and low blood pressure. Excess cortisol (Cushing's) causes fatigue along with weight gain, high blood pressure and high blood sugar (diabetes).

7

Estrogen Imbalance

Sad blond woman watching through a window with a serious expression resting her chin on her hands as she leans on a wooden railing
Sad blond woman watching through a window with a serious expression resting her chin on her hands as she leans on a wooden railing

Dr. Viswanathan states, "Sex steroids (Estrogen) disorder in women can lead to irregular cycles, infertility. A common ovarian hormonal disorder is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). 

8

Low Testosterone

testosterone hormone test result with blood sample tube
testosterone hormone test result with blood sample tube

"Low testosterone in men (Hypogonadism ) causes fatigue, erectile dysfunction and decrease in muscle mass," Dr. Viswanathan says. 

9

Don't Ignore the Signs

Dr. Viswanathan advises, "If one experiences any of the symptoms -best option is to see your primary care physician for the appropriate lab work. Many of the hormone disorders like diabetes and thyroid can be confirmed with simple lab tests. Based on the physical exam and labs the physician can initiate treatment and if needed refer to an endocrinologist."