Hypothalamus is the head of all endocrine glands. It coordinates the functions of all endocrine glands in the body. The endocrine glands secrete their hormones (chemical messengers) directly into the blood. The hypothalamus controls a variety of body functions and hormones. Damage to the hypothalamus, whether at birth or acquired, will lead to significant health issues. Such as:
- Diabetes insipidus: A condition associated with passing large amounts of urine, but blood sugars are normal. A chemical called vasopressin is released from the hypothalamus. This vasopressin regulates the water reabsorption in the kidneys. In the absence of vasopressin, the reabsorption process does not take place, thus inducing rapid water loss from the body.
- Insomnia: A part of the hypothalamus sets our sleep-wake cycle.
- Fluctuations in body temperature
- Hypothalamic obesity: Damage to the hypothalamus can affect the centers of appetite regulation, which results in uninhibited eating disorders. Obesity can lead to various conditions like:
- Sleep apnea
- Mood disorder
- Hypopituitarism: It occurs when the pituitary glands do not produce sufficient hormones due to loss of control by the hypothalamus. Various hormones generated by the hypothalamus directly affect those created by the pituitary gland. Hypopituitarism can lead to:
- Sex gland deficiency: This can lead to:
What is the hypothalamus?
Hypothalamus is a coordinating center of the endocrine system. The hypothalamus is responsible for balancing the body’s internal function. It helps to regulate:
- Appetite and weight
- Body temperature
- Emotions, behavior, and memory
- Production of breast milk
- Salt and water balance
- Sex drive
- Sleep-wake cycle and the body clock
Damage to the hypothalamus or the hypothalamic function, whether congenital or acquired, may cause significant health issues.
What are the causes of hypothalamic dysfunction?
There are several causes of hypothalamic dysfunction, which include:
- Head injury
- Anorexia (eating disorders)
- Extreme weight loss
- Aneurysm (a weak area in the wall of the blood vessel that causes its bulging)
- Pituitary apoplexy (rare, serious condition of the pituitary gland)
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the area between the brain and the meninges)
- Prader-Willi syndrome (a congenital disorder that results in uninhibited eating)
- Kallmann syndrome (a condition characterized by delayed or absent puberty and an impaired sense of smell)
- Infections due to certain immune system disorders
What are the symptoms of hypothalamic dysfunction?
The symptoms of hypothalamic dysfunction depend on the part of the hypothalamus affected and the types of hormones involved. The symptoms that could indicate a hypothalamic dysfunction include:
- Lack of interest in activities (anhedonia)
- Loss of vision
- Unusually high or low blood pressure
- Frequent thirst
- Body temperature fluctuations
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Changes in appetite
- Short stature
- Delayed onset of puberty
- Frequent urination
- Inability to feed the baby
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism (constipation, puffy face, weight gain, mood swings)
How to treat hypothalamic dysfunction?
Hypothalamic dysfunction management involves:
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University of Florida Health. Hypothalamic Dysfunction. https://ufhealth.org/hypothalamic-dysfunction
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Sleep Disorders: Myths and Facts About Obstructive Sleep ApneaIs it just snoring, or is it something more serious? We set the record straight on some myths and facts surrounding obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep ApneaSleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea, obstructive apnea (OSA), and a mixture of central and obstructive apnea. Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to activate the muscles of breathing during sleep. OSA is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep. OSA is diagnosed and evaluated through patient history, physical examination and polysomnography. There are many complications related to obstructive sleep apnea. Treatments are surgical and non-surgical.
Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and MoreLearn about the different types of sleep/wake disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Explore the symptoms, causes, tests and treatments of sleep disorders.
What Are the Three Types of Sleep Apnea?Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can potentially lead to serious health complications. In sleep apnea, the person may stop breathing for some time during sleep. The three kinds of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and mixed sleep apnea.
What Are the Four Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can potentially lead to serious systemic health complications. It is a condition that causes a person to intermittently stop breathing during sleep. Warning signs of sleep apnea include snoring, nighttime gasping, intermittent pauses during sleep, and daytime sleepiness.
What Is the Role of the Hypothalamus?The hypothalamus is a part of the midbrain. An important function of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine (hormonal) system through the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is considered the regulator of all hormonal functions in the body.