The endocrine system
This chapter focuses on the clinical pointers and indicate the possibility of an underlying endocrine abnormality. The hypothalamuses contain many vital centres for functions such as appetite, thirst, thermal regulation and sleep/waking. It also plays a role in circadian rhythm, the menstrual cycle, stress and mood. The posterior pituitary acts as a storage organ for antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin, which are synthesised in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei in the anterior hypothalamus and pass to the posterior pituitary via an axon within the pituitary stalk. Endocrine abnormalities result from either a primary or secondary abnormality, causing either excess or deficiency of pituitary hormone. Clinical assessment of thyroid disease involves an assessment of the gland itself, related structures in the neck and ‘thyroid status’. The thyroid gland consists of two lobes, joined by the isthmus just below the cricoid cartilage.