Hormones perform many functions and coordinate countless activities in the body. From maintaining homeostasis to getting ready for pregnancy, hormones are crucial for life. Anatomically, most of the body’s hormones are produced in endocrine glands; hence, if these glands were to somehow malfunction, many life-threatening illnesses may arise.
Addison’s Disease is primarily caused when the adrenal glands fail to produce sufficient cortisol and aldosterone. These two hormones are very important in regulating body functions. Symptoms of Addison’s Disease include weakness, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, low blood pressure, dizziness after standing and depression. However, the symptoms can vary based on the individual and other underlying conditions. In very rare cases, the adrenal glands can outright fail, leading to a condition called Addisonian Crisis. This is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. Signs and symptoms include confusion, pain in the lower back, extreme abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea and consequent dehydration.
The disease was named after Robert J Graves, an American doctor who first described the disease in a patient in 1835. The disease essentially caused the thyroid gland to produce excess quantities of the thyroid hormone. Consequently, Graves’ Disease is also an underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. Moreover, for unknown reasons, this disease is more likely to affect women than men. Symptoms of Graves Disease can often be confused with other prominent illnesses. However, some of the most common signs and symptoms include weight loss, anxiety, tremors, insomnia, restlessness, heat intolerance, sweating, heart palpitations, chest pain, muscle weakness, goitre, bulging prominent eyes and problems with vision.
Gigantism is almost always caused due to the excessive production of the growth hormone by a tumour in the pituitary gland. The condition is characterized by the unusually large stature of the child. Moreover, the disease is rather hard for parents to identify as the symptoms may appear like normal growth spurts in childhood. Common signs and symptoms of the disease include very large hands and feet, unusually thick fingers and toes, a prominent forehead and jaw, large heads and flat noses. Sometimes, a tumour may grow large enough to press on the nerves in the brain, triggering headaches and vision problems. Other symptoms of gigantism include general weakness, deafness, delayed puberty and excessive sweating.
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