The three main types of diabetes—type 1, type 2 and gestational—are all defined as metabolic disorders that affect the way the body metabolizes, or uses, digested food to make glucose, the main source of fuel for the body. Hypoglycemia, characterized by a blood sugar (glucose) level that is too low to fuel the body’s normal functioning, may be a condition by itself, a complication of diabetes or another disorder.
Diabetes is characterized by a failure to secrete enough insulin to compensate for the degree of insulin resistance. Because insulin is needed by the body to convert glucose into energy, these failures result in abnormally high levels of glucose accumulating in the blood. Diabetes may also be a result of other conditions, such as genetic syndromes, chemicals, drugs, pancreatitis, infections, viruses or other illnesses.
Persons are diagnosed with diabetes if their blood glucose levels are:
How is diabetes treated?
Patients with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin. Patients with type 2 diabetes can use a combination of weight reduction and changing their diet along with pills, injectable medicines or insulin.
The thyroid gland, an endocrine gland located in the neck just below the Adam's apple, produces hormones that play a key role in regulating blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, metabolism and the reaction of the body to other hormones. The two main hormones produced by the thyroid are thyroxine and triiodothyronine. It also produces calcitonin, which stimulates bone cells to add calcium to bone and regulate calcium metabolism.
The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland located just off the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. Known as the “master gland,” it secretes hormones that regulate the functions of other glands, as well as growth and several body functions. Overactivity and underactivity of the pituitary gland can cause a range of conditions, including those that affect sexual development, thyroid function, growth, skin pigmentation and adrenocortical function.
There is no obvious cause for pituitary tumors. Some might be caused by stimulation from the hypothalamus, which signals the pituitary gland to make hormones.
Adrenal glands are small, triangular glands located on top of both kidneys that interact with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain. The hormones secreted by the adrenal glands affect metabolism, chemicals in the blood and certain body characteristics.
When adrenal glands produce too much or too little of these hormones, they cause a shift, which can have a negative effect on an individual’s health, including his or her ability to cope with physical and emotional stress.
The parathyroid glands, small endocrine glands located in the neck, produce the parathyroid hormone and regulate calcium and phosphorous in the blood, blood clotting and neuromuscular excitation (causing a muscle to contract).
Metabolic bone diseases are disorders of bone strength usually caused by abnormalities of minerals (such as calcium or phosphorus), vitamin D, bone mass or bone structure, with osteoporosis being the most common. When untreated, osteoporosis can lead to fragility fractures, bone deformities and serious disability.
Both men and women have gonads. In males, they are the testes, or testicles, the male sex glands that are part of the male reproductive system. They are located behind the penis in a pouch of skin called the scrotum.
Gonadal disorders stem primarily from hormone dysfunctions; the ovaries and testes produce many of the same hormones, but in different amounts.