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Disorders of pituitary gland can affect hormones which regulate growth and activity of other glands in the body.
Evaluate the disorders that may result from hypopituitarism
The pituitary is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain.
Pituitary adenoma affects hormones which regulate growth and the activity of other glands in the body.There are multiple ways of treating pituitary adenomas. Surgery, medications and radiation therapy can help shrink the tumor.
Hypopituitarism is the decreased (hypo) secretion of one or more of the eight hormones normally produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. If there is decreased secretion of most pituitary hormones, the term panhypopituitarism (pan meaning "all") is used.
Most of the hormones in the anterior pituitary are each part of an axis that is regulated by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus secretes a number of releasing hormones, often according to a circadian rhythm, into blood vessels that supply the anterior pituitary.
A condition where there is over-production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland in a child before the bone growth plates close, resulting in excessive long bone growth, accompanied by muscular weakness and sexual impotence.
The pituitary is a "small, pea-sized gland" located at the base of the brain . Most of the hormones in the anterior pituitary are each part of an axis that is regulated by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus secretes a number of hormones, often according to a circadian rhythm, into blood vessels that supply the anterior pituitary; most of these are stimulatory (thyrotropin-releasing hormone, corticotropin-releasing hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone and growth hormone-releasing hormone), apart from dopamine, which suppresses prolactin production. In response to the releasing hormone rate, the anterior pituitary produces its hormones (TSH, ACTH, LH, FSH, GH) that stimulate effector hormone glands in the body, although prolactin acts directly on the breast gland. Once the effector glands produce sufficient hormones (thyroxine, cortisol, estradiol or testosterone and IGF-1), both the hypothalamus and the pituitary cells sense their abundance and reduce their secretion of stimulating hormones. The hormones of the posterior pituitary are produced in the hypothalamus and are carried by nerve endings to the posterior lobe. While their feedback system is therefore located in the hypothalamus, damage to the nerve endings would still lead to a deficiency in hormone release.
Hypopituitarism is the decreased (hypo) secretion of one or more of the eight hormones normally produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. If there is decreased secretion of most pituitary hormones, the term panhypopituitarism (pan meaning "all") is used. The signs and symptoms of hypopituitarism vary, depending on which hormones are undersecreted and on the underlying cause of the abnormality. The diagnosis of hypopituitarism is made by blood tests, but often specific scans and other investigations are needed to find the underlying cause, such as tumors of the pituitary, and to formulate plans for an ideal treatment regimen.
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) deficiency leads to adrenal insufficiency, a lack of production of glucocorticoids such as cortisol by the adrenal gland. If the problem is chronic, symptoms consist of fatigue, weight loss, failure to thrive (in children), delayed puberty (in adolescents), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), anemia and hyponatremia (low sodium levels). If the onset is abrupt, collapse, shock and vomiting may occur. ACTH deficiency is highly similar to primary Addison's disease, which is cortisol deficiency as the result of direct damage to the adrenal glands; the latter form, however, often leads to hyperpigmentation of the skin, which does not occur in ACTH deficiency.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) deficiency leads to hypothyroidism (lack of production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the thyroid). Typical symptoms are tiredness, intolerance to cold, constipation, weight gain, hair loss and slowed thinking, as well as a slowed heart rate and low blood pressure. In children, hypothyroidism leads to delayed growth and in extreme inborn forms to a syndrome called cretinism.
Growth hormone (GH) excess is rare in children and is referred to as pituitary gigantism , because the excessive growth hormone produces excessive growth of bones and the child can achieve excessive height; from 2.1 to 2.7 m (6'11" to 8'11") in stature by adulthood if left untreated. As an affected child becomes an adult, many of the adult problems can gradually develop. The distinction between gigantism (occurring in children) and acromegaly (occurring in adults) can be made by the occurrence of the adenoma in relation to the closure of the epiphyses. If elevated growth hormone levels occur before the closure of the epiphyses (i.e. in prepubertal children), then gigantism ensues. If it occurs after the closure of the epiphyses (i.e., in adults) then acromegaly ensues. Pituitary adenoma affects hormones which regulate growth and the activity of other glands in the body. However, with an abnormal growth or tumor in the master gland, the pituitary adenomas do not spread to other body parts and are not cancerous. This disease is found most likely in adults than in children, and increases during adolescent years. There are multiple ways of treating pituitary adenomas. Surgery, medications and radiation therapy can help shrink the tumor.
The diagnosis of hypopituitarism is made on blood tests. Two types of blood tests are used to confirm the presence of a hormone deficiency: basal levels, where blood samples are taken–usually in the morning–without any form of stimulation, and dynamic tests, where blood tests are taken after the injection of a stimulating substance. Measurement of ACTH and growth hormone usually requires dynamic testing, whereas the other hormones (LH/FSH, prolactin, TSH) can typically be tested with basal levels. There is no adequate direct test for ADH levels, but ADH deficiency can be confirmed indirectly; oxytocin levels are not routinely measured. Generally, the finding of a combination of a low pituitary hormone together with a low hormone from the effector gland is indicative of hypopituitarism.