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Endocrinology Vienna Comprehensive diagnosis and treatment in the practice of Prof. Dr. Bernhard Ludvik in Vienna

What are hormones and what are their roles?

Hormones are messenger substances that are released into the circulation by endocrine glands or cells. They develop their effect on the target organs by regulating various body functions.

What are the main endocrine diseases?

In addition to diabetes mellitus due to a reduced secretion of insulin by the pancreas and thyroid diseases, other hormonal glands can also be affected. Diseases of the pituitary gland, which controls many other glands, can lead to an overproduction or deficiency of hormones. Overproduction of cortisol results in Cushing’s syndrome, which is characterized by trunk obesity, weight gain, full moon face, bluish stripes in the abdominal area and increased hairiness. Overproduction of aldosterone in the adrenal glands (primary hyperaldosteronism) leads to high blood pressure.

In acromegaly, too much growth hormone is produced, which leads to giant stature in children and growth of the noses, fingers, toes and chin in adults. In addition, the tongue enlarges and the field of vision can narrow. With increased production of adrenaline and noradrenaline from the adrenal glands in pheochromocytoma, there are critical increases in blood pressure, headaches, a high pulse and cardiac arrhythmias. Pituitary prolactinoma is a benign tumor that produces too much prolactin, which can lead to milk flow from the mammary glands, infertility, and visual field restrictions.

If the production of cortisol (Addison’s disease) is reduced, symptoms are fatigue, low blood pressure and a lack of sodium in the blood, and eventually hypoglycaemia. In polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cysts appear in the ovaries, the effect of insulin is also weakened (insulin resistance), male hormones are increased, which leads to increased body hair. PCOS is a common cause of an unfulfilled desire to have children (infertility).

How are hormonal diseases diagnosed?

The diagnosis of hormonal / endocrine diseases is carried out by determining hormones or their breakdown products from blood and urine. Sometimes tests lasting several hours are used in which hormones such produced in the hypothalamus are injected.

How are hormonal disorders treated?

If the cause of the overproduction is an adenoma (benign tumor), the respective removal is indicated. In the case of prolactinoma, drug therapy with cabergoline can also be employed, under which the tumor becomes smaller or disappears completely. If hormones fail, they must be replaced either in the form of tablets (Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism) or injections (growth hormone deficiency). Special drugs are used for PCOS or the overproduction of aldosterone in the adrenal glands.

Hormonal diseases / endocrinology

  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Acromegaly
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Prolactinoma
  • Addison’s disease
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

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