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What is Endocrinology?

Ask the Society for Endocrinology:

“Endocrinology is the study of hormones. At its simplest, a hormone is a chemical messenger
from one cell (or group of cells) to another. Hormones are released (secreted) in the body and have an effect on other parts of the body.”


Acromegaly is caused when a tumour on the pituitary gland produces too much Growth Hormone (GH). These tumours are almost always benign (i.e. not cancerous) and therefore do not spread to other areas of the body.
Acromegaly is a very rare condition.

 Addison’s Disease

Addison’s Disease is a rare, chronic condition brought about by the failure of the adrenal glands. Lifelong, continuous treatment with steroid replacement therapy is required. With the right balance of daily medication, most people with the disease are able to continue life much as it was before their illness.

There is also information available in the National Library for Health patient information leaflets.

 Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome describes the condition resulting from too much exposure to steroid hormones.

More information can be found via the Pituitary Foundation and the National Library for Health patient information leaflets

Pituitary Disorders

It is estimated that there are between 50,000 and 70,000 pituitary patients in the United Kingdom.  To meet the need for information and support, in 1994, The Pituitary Foundation was launched, with charitable status following in September 1996.  The Foundation is now a national support, information and advocacy organisation for pituitary patients, their families, friends and carers.

The Foundation operates throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The pituitary gland controls many other hormone producing glands including the thyroid and the adrenals.

Pituitary disorders include:


Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency


Cushing’s Disease

Diabetes Insipidus


Non-functioning Tumours


All of these conditions are covered by the Pituitary Foundation website that also deals with many other aspects of living with a pituitary problem.

 Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Verity is a patient group for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

More information is also available from this NHS Patient Leaflet

Thyroid Disorders – General Information

British Thyroid Foundation

Thyroid Cancers

It is a rare cancer that is most likely to affect people who are middle aged or older. However, one type of thyroid cancer (papillary) can occur in people younger than this.
With treatment, the outlook for most people with cancer of the thyroid is very good and many people are completely cured, even if the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid.


A very rare disorder in which lower than normal levels of calcium in the blood are due to insufficient levels of parathyroid hormone. It is a condition which may be inherited, associated with other disorders or it may result from neck surgery.


This is a condition in which one or more of the parathyroid glands produces too much parathyroid hormone. This results in a raised calcium level in the blood. A high calcium is often picked up on a routine blood test in someone who has no symptoms. However, in some people, the condition can cause aches and pains, digestion problems, depression and kidney stones. Treatment usually involves an operation to remove one or more of the parathyroid glands and is very successful.

Finding other patient self help groups:

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