If your general practitioner suggests that you might have an over or underactive thyroid, they might start talking about your endocrine system. But what exactly is the endocrine system? Many are familiar with their respiratory and nervous systems, but the endocrine system is one that isn’t often discussed unless your meeting with an endocrinologist doctor. Before meeting with Dr. Kroeker at her clinic in Austin, it’s important to have an understanding of the endocrine system and what it does. This will help you in comprehending your need for thyroid or parathyroid surgery.
A Quick Overview
At its most basic, the endocrine system is made up of all of the glands in your body that produce hormones. These hormones help to keep your body functioning properly. The hormones released by each of these glands target specific organs or parts of your body. Health issues with your endocrine system can lead to a variety of problems including weight gain, fatigue, poor stress management, and even difficulty in becoming pregnant.
The Components Of The Endocrine System
These glands are located throughout the body but are generally concentrated in the brain, neck, chest, and in the reproductive organs.
This region of the brain is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems. The hypothalamus regulates the pituitary gland and tells it to start or stop making hormones.
The pituitary gland communicates with all of the other glands in your body. Your brain sends the pituitary glands signals; the gland then tells other glands what hormones to produce and when. This gland produces a variety of vital hormones, like growth hormone and luteinizing, which manages the production of estrogen in women and testosterone in men.
If you fall ill, your body naturally fights back using the white blood cells, or T-lymphocytes, that the Thymus produces. The Thymus is essential for the development of a healthy immune system.
If you’ve ever experienced an “adrenaline rush” from a close call with a passing bicyclist or after a thrilling roller coaster, you can thank the epinephrine hormone your adrenals produced. Your adrenals control your “fight or flight” response, as well as aiding your metabolism and your sexual functions.
The pancreas is a part of the digestive system as well as the endocrine system. This organ creates enzymes that help to digest your food. It also produces the insulin and glucagon hormones that help to regulate the amount of sugar in bloodstream and cells.
Your thyroid controls your metabolism, and if this gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, or produces too much, you might experience a variety of symptoms. An overactive thyroid, called hyperthyroidism, can lead to rapid weight loss, diarrhea, and a racing heart. An underactive thyroid is called hypothyroidism, and causes slowed heart rate, constipation, and weight gain. Additionally, the thyroid can get cancers that grow into tumors on the glands.
The parathyroid is made up of four small glands that are located behind your thyroid in your throat. These glands help maintain the health of your bones by controlling the levels of calcium and phosphorous. If these glands produce too much or too little hormone, it can cause calcium imbalances that can lead to kidney stones, osteoporosis, and other illnesses.
Being familiar with your endocrine system means that you can better understand what your general practitioner means when they send you to see an endocrinologist doctor. At her Austin-based clinic, Dr. Kroeker offers thyroid and parathyroid surgery, as well as a variety of other treatment options that are designed to maintain or improve the health of your endocrine system. That includes treatments like ultrasounds, fine needle aspirations of thyroid nodules, and head and neck surgeries. Contact Dr. Kroeker today to schedule a consultation and to discuss further treatment options.