Click on any of the terms below to hear the pronunciation. Information in parenthesis after the term may or may not be included in the audio.
acidosis Excessive acidity of body fluids due to the accumulation of acids, as in diabetic acidosis.
acromegaly Chronic disease of adults that results in an elongation and enlargement of the bones of the head and extremities. There can also be mood changes.
Addison's disease Disease named for Thomas Addison, a British physician, that results from a deficiency in adrenocortical hormones. There may be an increased pigmentation of the skin, generalized weakness, and weight loss.
adenocarcinoma Malignant adenoma in a glandular organ.
adenoma Neoplasm or tumor of a gland.
adrenal cortex The outer portion of the adrenal glands; secretes several families of hormones: mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, and steroid sex hormones.
adrenal feminization Development of female secondary sexual characteristics (such as breasts) in a male; often as a result of increased estrogen secretion by the adrenal cortex.
adrenal gland A pair of glands in the endocrine system located just above each kidney. This glands is composed of two sections, the cortex and the medulla, that function independently of each other. The cortex secretes steroids, such as aldosterone, cortisol, androgens, estrogens, and progestins. The medulla secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine. The adrenal glands are regulated by adrenocorticotropic hormone, which is secreted by the pituitary gland.
adrenal medulla The inner portion of the adrenal gland. It secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine.
adrenal virilism Development of male secondary sexual characteristics (such as deeper voice and facial hair) in a female; often as a result of increased androgen secretion by the adrenal cortex.
adrenalectomy Excision of the adrenal gland.
adrenaline A hormone produced by the adrenal medulla. Also known as epinephrine. Some of its actions include increasing heart rate and force of contraction, bronchodilation, and relaxation of intestinal muscles.
adrenalitis Inflammation of an adrenal gland.
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) A hormone secreted by anterior pituitary. It regulates function of the adrenal gland cortex.
adrenomegaly Enlarged adrenal gland.
adrenopathy Adrenal gland disease.
aldosterone A hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. It regulates the levels of sodium and potassium in the body and as a side effect the volume of water lost in urine.
anterior lobe The anterior portion of the pituitary gland. It secretes adrenocorticotropic hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, growth hormone, luteinizing hormone, melanocyte-stimulating hormone, prolactin, and thyroid-stimulating hormone.
antidiuretic hormone(ADH) A hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary. It promotes water reabsorption by the kidney tubules.
basal metabolic rate (BMR) Somewhat outdated test to measure the energy used when the body is in a state of rest.
blood serum test Blood test to measure the level of substances such as calcium, electrolytes, testosterone, insulin, and glucose. Used to assist in determining the function of various endocrine glands.
calcitonin A hormone secreted by the thyroid gland. It stimulates deposition of calcium into bone.
chemical thyroidectomy Large dose of radioactive iodine is given in order to kill thyroid gland cells without having to actually do surgery.
circadian rhythm The 24-hour clock that governs our periods of wakefulness and sleepiness.
cortisol A steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex. It regulates carbohydrate metabolism.
cretinism Congenital condition due to a lack of thyroid that may result in arrested physical and mental development.
Cushing's syndrome Set of symptoms named after Harvey Cushing, an American neurosurgeon that result from hypersecretion of the adrenal cortex. This may be the result of a tumor of the adrenal glands. The syndrome may present symptoms of weakness, edema, excess hair growth, skin discoloration, and osteoporosis.
diabetes insipidus (DI) Disorder caused by the inadequate secretion of a hormone by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland. There may be polyuria and polydipsia. This is more common in the young.
diabetes mellitus A series disease in which the pancreas fails to produce insulin or the insulin does not work properly. Consequently, the patient has very high blood sugar. The kidney will attempt to lower the high blood sugar level by excreting excess sugar in the urine.
diabetic retinopathy Secondary complication of diabetes that affects the blood vessels of the retina, resulting in visual changes and even blindness.
digestive enzymes In addition to hormones, the pancreas also secretes digestive enzymes to digest food in the small intestines.
dwarfism Condition of being abnormally small. It may be the result of a hereditary condition or an endocrine dysfunction.
endocrine glands A glandular system that secretes hormones directly into the bloodstream rather than into a duct. Endocrine glands are frequently referred to as ductless glands. The endocrine system includes the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, parathyroid glands, pituitary gland, pancreas (islets of Langerhans), testes, ovaries, and thymus gland.
endocrinologist Physician who specializes in the treatment of endocrine glands, including diabetes.
endocrinopathy A disease of the endocrine system.
epinephrine A hormone produced by the adrenal medulla. Also known as adrenaline. Some of its actions include increased heart rate and force of contraction, bronchodilation, and relaxation of intestinal muscles.
euthyroid Normal thyroid.
exocrine glands Glands that secrete substances into a duct. Tears and tear ducts are examples of an exocrine gland.
exophthalmos Condition in which the eyeballs protrude, such as in Graves' disease. This is generally caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormone.
fasting blood sugar (FBS) Blood test to measure the amount of sugar circulating throughout the body after a 12-hour fast.
gametes The reproductive sex cells-ova and sperm.
gigantism Excessive development of the body due to the overproduction of the growth hormone by the pituitary gland. The opposite of dwarfism.
glands The organs of the body that release secretions. Exocrine glands, like sweat glands, release their secretions into ducts. Endocrine glands, such as the thyroid gland, release their hormones directly into the blood stream.
glucagon A hormone secreted by pancreas. It stimulates the liver to release glucose into the blood.
glucocorticoids A group of hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex. They regulate carbohydrate levels in the body. Cortisol is an example of a glucocorticoid.
glucose tolerance test (GTT) Test to determine the blood sugar level. A measured dose of glucose is given to a patient either orally or intravenously. Blood samples are then drawn at certain intervals to determine the ability of the patient to utilize glucose. Used for diabetic patients to determine their insulin response to glucose.
goiter Enlargement of the thyroid gland.
gonads The organs responsible for producing sex cells. The female gonads are the ovaries and they produce ova. The male gonads are the testes and they produce sperm.
Graves' disease Condition, named for Robert Graves, an Irish physician, that results in overactivity of the thyroid gland and can result in a crisis situation. Also called hyperthyroidism.
growth hormone (GH) A hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary that stimulates growth of the body.
gynecomastia The development of breast tissue in males; may be a symptom of adrenal feminization.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis Chronic form of thyroiditis, named for a Japanese surgeon.
hormone A chemical substance secreted by an endocrine gland. It enters the blood stream and is carried to target tissue. Hormones work to control the functioning of the target tissue. Given to replace the loss of natural hormones or to treat disease by stimulating hormonal effects.
human growth hormone therapy Therapy with human growth hormone in order to stimulate skeletal growth; used to treat children with abnormally short stature.
hypercalcemia Condition of having an excessive amount of calcium in the blood.
hyperglycemia Having an excessive amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
hypersecretion Excessive hormone production by an endocrine gland.
hyperthyrodisim Condition resulting from overactivity of the thyroid gland that can result in a crisis situation. Also called Graves' disease.
hypocalcemia Condition of having a low calcium level in the blood.
hypoglycemia Condition of having a low sugar level in the blood.
hyponatremia Condition of having a low sodium level in the blood.
hyposecretion Deficient hormone production by an endocrine gland.
hypothalamus The hypothalamus is a portion of the diencephalon that lies just below the thalamus. It controls body temperature, appetite, sleep, sexual desire, and emotions such as fear. It also regulates the release of hormones from the pituitary gland and regulates the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
hypothyroidism Result of a deficiency in secretion by the thyroid gland. This results in a lowered basal metabolism rate with obesity, dry skin, slow pulse, low blood pressure, sluggishness, and goiter. Treatment is replacement with synthetic thyroid hormone.
insulin The hormone secreted by the pancreas. It regulates the level of sugar in the blood stream. The more insulin present in the blood, the lower the blood sugar will be.
insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) Also called type 1 diabetes mellitus; it develops early in life when the pancreas stops insulin production. Persons with IDDM must take daily insulin injections.
insulinoma Tumor of the islets of Langerhans cells of the pancreas that secretes an excessive amount of insulin.
iodine A mineral required by the thyroid to produce its hormones.
islets of Langerhans The regions within the pancreas that secrete insulin and glucagon.
ketoacidosis Acidosis due to an excess of ketone bodies (waste products). A serious condition that requires immediate treatment and can result in death for the diabetic patient if not reversed.
laparoscopic adrenalectomy Excision of the adrenal gland through a small incision in the abdomen and using endoscopic instruments.
melanocyte-stimulating hormone A hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary. It stimulates pigment production in the skin.
melatonin Hormone secreted by the pineal gland; plays a role in regulating the body's circadian rhythm.
mineralocorticoids A group of hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex. They regulate electrolytes and fluid volume in the body. Aldosterone is an example of a mineralocorticoid.
myxedema Condition resulting from a hypofunction of the thyroid gland. Symptoms can include anemia, slow speech, enlarged tongue and facial features, edematous skin, drowsiness, and mental apathy.
non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus Also called type 2 diabetes mellitus. It develops later in life when the pancreas produces insufficient insulin; persons may take oral hypoglycemics to stimulate insulin secretion, or may eventually have to take insulin.
norepinephrine A hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla. It is a strong vasoconstrictor.
obesity Having an abnormal amount of fat in the body.
oral hypoglycemic agent Medication taken by mouth that causes a decrease in blood sugar. This is not used for insulin-dependent patients. There is no proof that this medication will prevent the long-term complications of diabetes mellitus.
panhypopituitarinism Deficiency in all the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland; often recognized because of problems with the glands regulated by the pituitary-adrenal cortex, thyroid, ovaries, and testes.
parathyroid glands Four small glands located on the back surface of the thyroid gland. The parathyroid hormone secreted by these glands regulates the amount of calcium in the blood.
parathyroid hormone The hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands. The more hormone, the higher the calcium level in the blood and the lower the level stored in bone. A low hormone level will cause tetany.
parathyroidectomy Excision of one or more of the parathyroid glands. This is performed to halt the progress of hyperparathyroidism.
parathyroidoma A parathyroid gland tumor.
peripheral neuropathy Damage to the nerves in the lower legs and hands as a result of diabetes mellitus; symptoms include either extreme sensitivity or numbness and tingling.
pheochromocytoma Usually benign tumor of the adrenal medulla that secretes epinephrine; symptoms include anxiety, heart palpitations, dyspnea, profuse sweating, headache, and nausea.
pineal gland A gland in the endocrine system that produces a hormone called melatonin.
pituitary gland An endocrine gland located behind the optic nerve in the brain. It is also called the master gland since it controls the functions of many other endocrine glands. It is divided into two lobes: anterior and posterior. The anterior pituitary gland secretes hormones that aid in controlling growth and stimulating the thyroid gland, sexual glands, and adrenal cortex. The posterior pituitary is responsible for the antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin.
polydipsia Condition of having an excessive amount of thirst, such as in diabetes.
posterior lobe The posterior portion of the pituitary gland. It secretes antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin.
prolactin A hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary. It stimulates mild production.
protein-bound iodine test (PBI) Blood test to measure the concentration of thyroxine (T4) circulating in the bloodstream. The iodine becomes bound to the protein in the blood and can be measured. Useful in establishing thyroid function.
radioactive iodine uptake test (RAIU) Test in which radioactive iodine is take orally (PO) or intravenously (IV) and the amount that is eventually taken into the thyroid gland (the uptake) is measured to assist in determining thyroid function.
radioimmunoassay (RIA) Test used to measure the levels of hormones in the plasma of the blood.
serum glucose tests Blood test performed to assist in determining insulin levels and useful for adjusting medication dosage.
somatotropin Another name for growth hormone; a hormone that promotes growth of the body by stimulating cells to rapidly increase in size and divide.
speech-language pathologist (CCC) Evaluates and treats communication disorders.
steroid sex hormones A class of hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex. It includes aldosterone, cortisol, androgens, estrogens, and progestins.
syndrome Group of symptoms and signs that when combined present a clinical picture of a disease or condition.
T3 Abbreviation for triiodothyronine, a thyroid hormone.
T4 Abbreviation for thyroxine, a thyroid hormone.
target organs The organs that hormones act on to either increase or decrease the organ's activity level.
tetany A condition the results from a calcium deficiency in the blood. It is characterized by muscle twitches, cramps, and spasms.
thalamus The thalamus is a portion of the diencephalon. It is composed of gray matter and acts as a center for relaying impulses from the eyes, ears, and skin to the cerebrum. Pain perception is also controlled by the thalamus.
thyroid echogram Ultrasound examination of the thyroid that can assist in distinguishing a thyroid nodule from a cyst.
thyroid function tests (TFT) Blood tests used to measure the levels of T3, T4, and TSH in the bloodstream to assist in determining thyroid function.
thyroid gland This endocrine gland is located on either side of the trachea. Its shape resembles a butterfly with a large left and right lobe connected by a narrow isthmus. This gland produces the hormones thyroxine (also known as T4) and triiodothyronine (also known as T3).
thyroid replacement hormone Given to replace thyroid in patients with hypothyroidism or who have had a thyroidectomy.
thyroid scan Test in which a radioactive element is administered that localizes in the thyroid gland. The gland can then be visualized with a scanning device to detect pathology such as tumors.
thyroidectomy Removal of the entire thyroid or a portion (partial thyroidectomy) to treat a variety of conditions, including nodes, cancer, and hyperthyroidism.
thyroidotomy Incision into the thyroid gland.
thyroid-stimulating hormone A hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary. It regulates function of the thyroid gland.
thyromegaly Enlarged thyroid.
thyroparathyroidectomy Surgical removal (excision) of the thyroid parathyroid glands.
thyrotoxicosis Condition that results from overproduction of the thyroid glands. Symptoms include a rapid heart action, tremors, enlarged thyroid gland, exophthalmos, and weight loss.
thyroxine (T4) A hormone produced by the thyroid gland. It is also known as T4 and requires iodine for its production. This hormone regulates the level of cell metabolism. The greater the level of hormone in the bloodstream, the higher cell metabolism will be.
total calcium Blood test to measure the total amount of calcium to assist in detecting parathyroid and bone disorders.
triiodothyronine (T3) A hormone produced by the thyroid gland known as T3 that requires iodine for its production. This hormone regulates the level of cell metabolism. The greater the level of hormone in the blood stream, the higher cell metabolism will be.
two-hour postprandial (glucose tolerance test) Blood test to assist in evaluating glucose metabolism. The patient eats a high-carbohydrate diet and fasts overnight before the test. A blood sample is then taken 2 hours after a meal.
type 1 diabetes Also called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). It develops early in life when the pancreas stops insulin production. Therefore, persons with IDDM must take daily insulin injections.
type 2 diabetes Also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). It develops later in life when the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. Persons may take oral hypoglycemics to stimulate insulin secretion, or may eventually have to take insulin.
vasopressin Given to control diabetes insipidus and promote reabsorption of water in the kidney tubules.
von Recklinghausen's disease Excessive production of parathyroid hormone, which results in degeneration of the bones. Named for Friedrich von Recklinghausen, a German histologist.