The Endocrine System – Hormones

The Endocrine System, HGH, Testosterone and other Hormones

The endocrine system is a complex network comprised of integrated hormone-producing glands and organs. Its function, like that of the nervous system, is communication throughout the body. The endocrine system produces and releases different types of hormones to maintain and control a number of important functions of the body, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual and reproductive function, organ and tissue function.

A hormone imbalance (either too much or too little hormone production) can have drastic effects on body function and a person’s health. The main purpose of the endocrine system is extracellular (outside the cell) communication; while the nervous system communicates using neurons and electricity, the endocrine or hormonal system uses chemicals, called hormones to communicate between cells and regulate body functions. Hormones use a negative feedback system so that when too much of one hormone is produced another hormone is secreted to counter it. In this way a person’s body maintains the delicate balance of proper hormone levels.

Components of the endocrine system include hormone-producing glands, such as the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, adrenals, testes and ovaries and organs such as the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Each of the glands and organs in the endocrine system produces different types of hormones that perform different functions. A number of different conditions can affect the way the endocrine system functions. Some of these conditions are natural and our endocrine system functions differently when we age and go through menopause or andropause in men.

There can be a genetic, or hereditary component to the way an individual’s endocrine system works as well. However, a number of external substances can also affect endocrine function. These substances, called environmental endocrine disruptors (EEDs), consist of commercial synthetic chemicals and, although the full effect of their introduction into our environment is unknown, have been linked to birth defects, immune system disorders, neurological changes, and more.

Types of Hormones and What They Do

In order to regulate the myriad functions required for normal bodily function, the glands and organs that comprise the endocrine system create many types of hormones, each with a specific function. Included in the different types of hormones your endocrine system produces are the following:

Vasopressin – Created by the hypothalamus, vasopressin prompts the pituitary gland to release a hormone that helps maintain blood pressure and water and electrolyte balance.

Human Growth Hormone — Growth hormone, HGH or GH is one of the types of hormones produced by the pituitary gland  and one of the most important glands in the endocrine system.  Growth Hormone (GH) stimulates growth during childhood and also stimulates cell reproduction and repair which helps adults maintain energy,  muscle and bone mass.

Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen and Oxytocin – are the sex and reproductive hormones responsible for sexual health as well as gender characteristics, muscle, heart, brain and bone health.

Calcitonin — Calcitonin, produced by the thyroid gland, aids in bone construction.

Insulin – Insulin regulates glucose, or sugar intake, by helping it move from the blood into cells. It is one of the types of hormones produced by the pancreas.

Adrenaline – Produced within the adrenal glands (small glands located at the top of each kidney), adrenaline works with noradrenaline to produce the “fight or flight” response by increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain and muscles, dilating the pupils, and suppressing bodily functions not useful in an emergency situation (such as digestion).

Noradrenaline — Noradrenaline works with adrenaline to help the endocrine system produce the “flight or flight” response; in an emergency situation, it boosts the oxygen supply to the brain and the supply of glucose to the muscles.

The endocrine system is one of the body’s main systems for communicating, controlling and coordinating the body’s work. It works with the nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys, gut, liver, pancreas and fat to help maintain and control the following:

  • Body energy levels
  • Sexual Reproduction
  • Growth and Development
  • Internal Balance of Body Systems, called Homeostasis
  • Immuno Responses to Stress and Injury

The endocrine system accomplishes these tasks via a network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete certain types of hormones. Hormones are special chemicals that move into body fluid after they are made by one cell or a group of cells. Different types of hormones cause different effects on other cells or tissues of the body using receptor cells that accept the “signals” of their respective hormone “messengers”.

Endocrine glands and endocrine-related organs are like factories. They produce and store hormones and release them as needed. When the body needs these substances, the bloodstream carries the proper types of hormones to specific targets. These targets may be organs, tissues, or cells. To function normally, the body needs glands that work correctly, a blood supply that works well to move hormones through the body to their target points, receptor places on the target cells for the hormones to do their work, and a system for controlling how hormones are produced and used.

Hormone Imbalance

Each of the many types of hormones fulfills a specific function by signaling a different message to the cells, tissues, or organs involved. A hormone imbalance, a situation in which there is too much or too little of a specific hormone, can result in a number of different endocrine system disorders, some more serious than others.

Diabetes – Diabetes is one of the more serious results of hormone imbalance in that, if it is left undiagnosed and/or untreated, it can result in blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and death. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas either produces too little insulin or does not effectively use the insulin it does produce. Insulin is the hormone that helps the body process sugar in the bloodstream.

Growth Disorders — Your pituitary gland, also referred to as the “Master Gland” of the endocrine system, produces growth hormone (GH) which, in the proper levels, stimulates and regulates growth throughout the body. A growth hormone imbalance can, in the event of too much growth hormone, cause gigantism in children and acromegaly in adults; a hormone imbalance in which the endocrine system produces too little GH can result in growth hormone deficiency (GHD), which can lead to stunted growth in children and symptoms such as decreased muscle and bone mass in adults.

Other Disorders – There are more than 6,000 known endocrine system disorders caused by hormone imbalance; for information about these rare, or “orphan,” diseases, please visit our resources page for rare conditions. A dangerous and potentially fatal hormone imbalance can also be caused by steroid abuse which has become a growing problem among body-builders, athletes and some high school-aged youth. The use of anabolic steroids–which should only be taken under the direction of a health professional–is increasing among both men and women. At that time of development the endocrine system is working to bring about a number of changes, both physical and mental, and young athletes may be tempted to use steroids to increase their athletic ability and body image.

Male Menopause – True Medical Condition

MALE MENOPAUSE

Published on July 27, 2010 in THE PALM BEACH POST

Middle-aged? Tired? Not Interested in sex? Male Menopause?

Is male menopause a true medical condition? or just a good punch line when you’re 50-something and not feeling quite yourself?
You know, “Oh, that male menopause must have kicked in”?

Could your doctor really diagnose male menopause, or is it merely a phrase that Oprah or GQ use to hook you? My middle-aged male editor wanted to know. No punch lines here, my friend, er, boss. There is such a thing as male menopause (though technically the name is all wrong – but we’ll get to that). Is every man destined for the same hot flashes and mood swings they dread to see in the women they love? That’s another story.

But the hormonal change is real and so are a multitude of symptoms that can accompany it – from a loss in libido or erectile dysfunction to fatigue or depression. And, yes, sometimes even night sweats. Every woman who lives long enough will experience menopause – a (permanent) pause in her menstrual cycle that signals the end to the steady stream of the hormone estrogen her body makes. Hence the name menopause. Normally, this happens between the ages of 45 and 50. And the dramatic drop in hormones can trigger all sorts of physical and psychological changes.

Conversely, the hormone faucet in men never turns off. But the flow of testosterone does begin to gradually decrease at a rate of about 1 percent a year beginning at age 30. And for some men, the result over the years can be simply unpleasant or potentially life-changing.

While some call it male menopause, doctors often call these age-related hormone changes in men “andropause” – from the word androgen, a term to describe hormones such as testosterone.

How common is Male Menopause?
It’s unclear how many men develop andropause. A study of more than 3,000 European men published in the June 17 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine suggests the number is only perhaps 2 percent of the population. Anecdotally, some doctors say that number seems low.

“It’s certainly higher than that one study would suggest,” said Dr. Lawrence Hakim, chairman of the Department of Urology at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston . It may be a matter of definition, Hakim and others suggest.

Diagnosis a challenge

There is no single way to test for andropause, explains Dr. Robert Tan, author of The Andropause Mystery and founder of the OPAL Medical Clinic, which specializes in men’s health and aging. A lab test is needed to figure out how much testosterone a man produces, plus a look at his overall health.

How low is low testosterone? It depends who you ask. Studies have defined low testosterone in men as 250 nanograms per deciliter, while others cite 300. Men in their 20s and 30s typically have testosterone levels in the 600 range. But a low number by itself is not enough. “Every man is different,” said Dr. Erik Castle, a urologist with the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “You may have a 70-year-old who is healthy, never smoked, eats right, has low testosterone, but is fine. You have another, maybe he didn’t live so cleanly and now is unhealthy and not feeling well.” For that guy, Castle says, you have to look closer.

What are you looking for in low Testosterone Symptoms?
Erectile dysfunction. Reduced sex drive. Fewer morning erections.

Doctors also often look for fatigue, problems walking long distances, bending or stooping. And even if you have low testosterone and you’re tired, your problem could be something else entirely – diabetes, thyroid issues, a side effect from medication or alcohol abuse.

Hormone therapy poses risks
Doctors once addressed andropause only when a man complained that his sex life was suffering, Mayo Clinic’s Castle said.
“But over the last 10 years, the emerging evidence is that this may not just be a quality of life issue because they can’t get erections,” Castle said, “Now we think it could be a health issue as well.” He said men with truly low testosterone levels can have lower bone density, and may be at greater risk of diabetes or coronary artery disease.

Now men and their doctors can consider replenishing the testosterone if those health risks are in play. But proceed with caution.

Google “male menopause” and you may be steered to a screen full of “health centers” touting hormone therapy for a myriad of ills.

“You really want to seek out a center where you can work with a urologist, an endocrinologist,” Hakim of Cleveland Clinic said. “It’s part of the bigger picture. These places tend to focus on one thing – not the big picture.”

And, just as women must consider the risks of hormone therapy, so should men, advises the Mayo Clinic.

In its primer on male menopause, the clinic notes “Testosterone therapy has various risks.”

Such therapy could contribute to sleep apnea, put you at greater risk for heart disease, cause skin problems or stimulate the growth of existing prostate cancer.

Tan, the author who first published on the topic a decade ago, says he can’t help but notice how the public awareness of andropause has grown.

“There has been more interest, scientific work and certainly more patients coming forth with symptoms and treated successfully.”

By Sonja Isger
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Source: THE PALM BEACH POST July 27, 2010

When MALE MENOPAUSE
kicks in …

Some men have lower than normal testosterone without signs or symptoms. But others may experience:

CHANGES IN SEXUAL FUNCTION.
This can mean less desire, fewer spontaneous erections, erectile dysfunction.

CHANGES IN SLEEP PATTERNS, for example insomnia.

PHYSICAL CHANGES.
More fat, less muscle bulk and strength, swollen or tender breasts, hair loss, less energy or hot flashes.

EMOTIONAL CHANGES.
Feeling sad or depressed, difficulty concentrating or remembering things.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

To learn more about Testosterone in Men, Male Hormone Replacement Therapy to Treat Low T in Men, Testosterone Prescriptions for Injectable Testosterone, Growth Hormone Prescriptions and Injectable HGH, Somatropin for Injection, HGH Replacement, Human Growth Hormone and Male Menopause – Andropause and Hypogonadism, and to review the symptoms of Male Menopause caused by Low Testosterone Levels, visit the following Testosterone Information Links to review Testosterone Replacement Treatments and Therapies.


Low Testosterone

Low Testosterone Could Kill You?


Low Levels of Male Hormone May be More Dangerous Than Previously Thought. Too low of a level could kill you.

By SUPINDA BUNYAVANICH, M.D., ABC News Medical Unit

Low Testosterone in Men

Low testosterone may lead to a greater risk of death, according to a study presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Toronto.

Men with low testosterone had a 33 percent greater death risk over their next 18 years of life compared with men who had higher testosterone, according to the study conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor and colleagues at the University of California at San Diego.

“It’s very exciting and potentially a groundbreaking study,” said Barrett-Connor. “But it needs to be confirmed.”

The study tracked nearly 800 men, 50 to 91 years old, living in California. Their testosterone level was measured at the beginning of the study, and their health was then tracked over the next 20 years.

How Low Is Low?

Testosterone normally declines as men get older. However, a clear definition of “low” testosterone does not yet exist.

“No one knows what low really is,” said Dr. Joel Finkelstein, endocrinologist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. “The study authors defined it at 250 [nanograms per deciliter], which is a definition, but no one has figured out what low is.”

Barrett-Connor and her colleagues found that nearly 30 percent of the men they studied met their criterion score of 250 or lower for low testosterone.

They noted that many men with this definition of low testosterone were “healthy men in the community who would not know that they had low testosterone.”

Men With Hot Flashes

Symptoms of low testosterone depend on how low the level is. At the lowest levels, men will have hot flashes, much like those experienced by women during menopause.

“At levels not quite that low, men have decreases in their libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and physiological changes many will not immediately recognize,” Finkelstein said, adding that these could include loss of strength, decrease in bone density and decreased muscle mass.

To learn more about low testosterone, low testosterone symptoms, andropause or menopause in men and low testosterone treatment, visit: Low Testosterone

Testosterone Therapy for Men and Testosterone Replacement with Injections for Men are becoming the new way to combat andropause known as male menopause and some symptoms of menopause in women. Testosterone can help increase sex drive, performance and libido. Testosterone is also known to help relieve symptoms due to hormone deficiency like depression, insomnia or other sleep problems, weight gain, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction and muscle loss. To learn more about male hormone replacement therapy visit: Testosterone Therapy for Men Testosterone Therapy for Men

Testosterone Therapy for Women Testosterone Therapy for Women

Low Testosterone Levels in Men can cause erectile dysfunction, loss of sex drive and desire. Learn how to increase Testosterone Levels using Male Hormone Replacement Therapy with Testosterone Injections, a Bio-Identical Hormone Treatment Product for Low T Therapy used by Testosterone Doctors and Clinics – Male Hormone Replacement Testosterone Therapy for Low T

Learn How Testosterone Treatment can Help: Testosterone Treatment for Men

Screening plan to tackle male menopause

Tackling Male Menopause

Doctors have drawn up plans to screen older men for the male menopause, amid concerns that as many as one in five of the over-65′s may be affected. The existence of a male equivalent to the menopause is still controversial, but most experts agree that some men experience a crash in testosterone and hgh growth hormone that can leave them tired, depressed and lacking in libido.

The so-called “andropause” has also been linked to diabetes, obesity, erectile dysfunction, and in some cases can be treated with testosterone injections and human growth hormone replacement injections. Medical associations, including the European Association of Urology have issued guidelines recommending that men with type 2 diabetes and symptoms of testosterone deficiency be tested.

The screening is going to pick up a lot of men with low testosterone who previously would have been sat at home without their doctor investigating. Once a hormone deficiency has been detected, a man can seek out the proper medical treatment for replacing the androgen deficiency.

To learn more about the various hormone replacement therapy options for men, visit some of the leading authorities in the treatment of male hormone deficiency – Male Hormone Therapy for Androgen Deficiency or Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Men