Hormones play an essential role in the health of an individual and whenever hormonal imbalance occurs, it can cause various other pathological conditions. Hormones have significant roles to play in the human body and production of the right amount of hormones in the body can lead to the development of various diseases. Both overproduction and underproduction of any hormone are dangerous for the human body.
There are various causes of hormonal imbalance such as improper diet, use of drugs, lifestyle factors, environmental factors, and psychological factors. A stressful or depressed person is more likely to have fluctuated levels of hormones. Hormonal imbalance is often accompanied by a wide range of symptoms such as changes in menstruation, acne, excessive hair growth, fever, fatigue, weight gain, and water retention.
There are multiple numbers of diseases that can result due to hormonal imbalance and some of them are as follows:
1. Thyroid disorders
The thyroid is a gland which is located at the base of the neck and is responsible for secreting hormones that help to regulate the metabolism in the body. Metabolism is a way in which an individual uses energy. There are two main hormones that are produced by thyroid gland - thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T3 is a more active form of the hormone. Any fluctuations in the production of these hormones cause thyroid disorders. Primarily, there are two thyroid disorders:
- Hyperthyroidism - It is a thyroid disorder which occurs when the thyroid gland produces more than the required amount of thyroid hormones. In other words, it is defined as an overproduction of hormones by the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism affects an individual in many ways and is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms such as weight loss, irregular heartbeat, increased sweating, tremors, and fatigue. It is also a common cause of a disease known as a grave’s disease.
- Hypothyroidism - It is a thyroid disorder which occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient amount of hormone required by the human body to function normally. Hypothyroidism is defined as an underproduction of hormones by the thyroid gland. It is accompanied by symptoms like changes in menstrual cycle, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, constipation, and muscle pain.
Hypogonadism is a serious disorder which is associated with a lack of hormone, testosterone. Hypogonadism is a medical term which is characterized by a very low testosterone level in the body. Testosterone is a male sex hormone which plays a major role in the lives of men. It is important for maintaining masculine traits, muscles, bones, and mood. Along with this, testosterone is also important for a man to have an erection and experience sexual desires. Testosterone is produced by testes. Hypogonadism is of two types:
- Primary hypogonadism - In this, the lack of testosterone occurs due to the failure of testes to produce testosterone.
- Secondary hypogonadism - In this, the lack of testosterone occurs due to problems with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
Lack of testosterone can be responsible for various sexual impairments in men. It is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms such as impaired erectile function, decreased libido, a decrease in vitality, and many more.
3. Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a serious metabolic condition which is characterized by hyperglycemia. In simple terms, diabetes mellitus is a medical condition in which the blood glucose level in the body becomes too high and start to affect the important systems in the body, resulting in an impaired body functions. Insulin is an important hormone that regulates the glucose level in the blood and any fluctuations in the production of this hormone increases glucose level and risk of diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone which is made by beta cells in the pancreas. Whenever an individual eats, insulin is released into the bloodstream and helps to move the glucose we get from food to the cells in the body. But when the pancreas fail to produce sufficient amount of insulin, the glucose is unable to reach the cells in the body and as a result, the glucose gets build up in the blood. Diabetes mellitus is a condition which is associated with many complications such as problems with vision, diabetic neuropathy, and diabetic nephropathy.
4. Cushing’s syndrome
Cushing syndrome is one of the hormonal disorder which occur due to prolonged exposure of the body’s tissues to a high level of hormone, known as cortisol. Cushing syndrome is a rare condition. Cushing syndrome is characterized by a wide range of symptoms such as pink color marks on the areas like abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms, and breasts.
In women, Cushing syndrome causes excessive hair growth on the face, neck, chest, abdomen, and thighs. Other symptoms of Cushing syndrome may include fatigue, high blood pressure, high glucose level, increased thirst, and anxiety.
Cortisol is made by adrenal glands and it is one of the important hormones in the body as it allows us to respond to the stressful conditions. But when there is an excess production of this hormone without any need of it, it starts to cause problems and lead to the development of Cushing syndrome. Cortisol is vital for various functions such as it helps to maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function, it reduces the inflammatory response on the immune system, helps in regulating the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.