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Endocrine & Diabetes Care

Endocrinology is a medical specialty that focuses on the endocrine system, the network of glands that produces hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the blood stream, monitoring the body’s internal environment and serving as a communication system between glands, organs, and cells. Hormones work together to regulate a wide variety of body functions, including respiration, metabolism, sensory perception, movement, growth, puberty, and reproduction.

Endocrine Conditions

The endocrine system maintains homeostasis, or balance, in the body. This is achieved through complex feedback loops in which the secretion of a hormone is turned on or off, depending on its concentration.

Our bodies make more than 50 different hormones, some of which affect the production of other hormones. If the production of a particular hormone is consistently high or low, it can impact growth and puberty in children and result in serious metabolic issues for people of all ages. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by:

  • Issues with the endocrine’s feedback system which maintains hormone balance
  • A genetic disorder
  • Infection or disease
  • Injury to an endocrine gland
  • Growths or cancers

Conditions Treated

Community Memorial Healthcare endocrinologists see patients at our Health Centers across west Ventura County. They treat all endocrine conditions, such as:

  • Acromegaly
  • Adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease)
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Endocrine cancers
  • Hashimoto thyroiditis
  • Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Low testosterone
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia I and II
  • Osteoporosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Precocious puberty
  • Prolactinoma

The Endocrine Glands

Hypothalamus: Located in the brain, right above the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus serves as the link between the endocrine and nervous system. Its job is to maintain the body’s internal chemical balance, or homeostasis, by producing a variety of hormones that stop or start hormone production in other glands.

Pituitary: Known as the master control gland, the pituitary works with the hypothalamus to regulate the function of other glands and makes hormones involved in growth, the function of the ovaries and testes, breast milk production, and water absorption in the blood.

Parathyroid Glands: These four tiny glands surrounding the thyroid gland in the neck control the body’s calcium levels.

Pancreas: Located deep inside your abdomen between your stomach and spine, the pancreas is connected to a part of the small intestine called the duodenum. The pancreas is part of both the endocrine and digestive systems. Its endocrine function is to produce the hormones insulin and glucagon, which work together to regulate sugar levels. Its digestive function is to secrete enzymes that help break down the sugars, fats, and starches in your food.

Thyroid: The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that consists of two lobes on either side of your trachea. The thyroid produces play a role in regulating your metabolic rate, heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, bone maintenance, and even your mood.

Adrenal Glands: The two adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys. The adrenals produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, control your blood pressure, and help your body react to stress.

Pineal Gland: Located deep inside the brain, the pineal gland produces melatonin. This hormone controls the sleep/wake cycle (circadian rhythm), and is involved in regulating certain reproductive hormones.

Ovaries: The ovaries have two functions. During a woman’s fertile years, they produce an egg cell, roughly every month, to enable reproduction. The ovaries also secrete estrogen, progesterone, and small amounts of testosterone. These hormones work together to control reproductive development and fertility, trigger the menstrual cycle, and help prepare the body for pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Testes: These two grape-sized organs are located outside the body, in a pouch behind the penis. They secrete the hormone testosterone, which triggers puberty in boys and maintains libido, muscle strength, and bone density in adult men.