5 Most Common Endocrine Disorders

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Sarah Lewis, PharmD on September 5, 2021
  • Man sitting on floor, head turned, arms supporting body, illustration overlay of heart and blood supply.
    Your Endocrine System
    Your endocrine system is a group of glands that secrete hormones into the blood. These hormones travel to other organs and tissues to regulate your body’s functions. Your endocrine system influences your growth and development, mood, sexual function, reproduction, and metabolism. When something goes wrong with your endocrine system, your whole body can suffer. Here’s a look at five common endocrine disorders and how they can affect you.
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    1. Diabetes
    Diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder in the United States. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, but one-third are unaware they have it. The pancreas is the endocrine gland responsible for making the hormone insulin. Insulin helps your body’s cells take in glucose for energy. When you have diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin. As a result, glucose stays in your blood instead of helping your cells.
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    2. Thyroid Disorders
    Thyroid disorders follow closely behind diabetes in the United States. About 20 million Americans have some type of thyroid disorder. Your thyroid gland makes hormones that tell your body’s systems how fast work. When you have too much thyroid hormone, your systems work in overdrive. When you have too little, your body becomes sluggish. Women are more likely than men to suffer from thyroid disorders. And hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels) is more common than hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels).
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    3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects approximately five million women in the United States. Women with PCOS can have enlarged ovaries containing many small cysts. This interferes with regular menstruation and fertility. PCOS can also cause high levels of androgens (male hormones). Excess androgens can bring about hair growth, weight gain, and acne. Like other endocrine disorders, treatment involves balancing hormones.
  • USA, New Jersey, Mature man thinking
    4. Low Testosterone
    Hypogonadism is the medical term for low testosterone. It’s difficult to determine exactly how many men have low testosterone based on studies published so far. Most estimates put it in the millions, with older men being more likely to have it. Men with low testosterone suffer from decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, shrinking testes, and hair loss. They may also have less energy, depression, muscle weakness, and sleep problems.
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    5. Osteoporosis
    Osteoporosis is thinning of the bones and loss of bone mass. Women are at higher risk than men. The risk increases with age, as estrogen levels decline. But other endocrine disorders can contribute to osteoporosis. This includes high levels of thyroid hormone, parathyroid hormone, and cortisol. These conditions disrupt the normal balance of bone rebuilding and remodeling. In men, low testosterone levels can increase the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.
5 Most Common Endocrine Disorders

About The Author

Sarah Lewis is a pharmacist and a medical writer with over 25 years of experience in various areas of pharmacy practice. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from West Virginia University and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She completed Pharmacy Practice Residency training at the University of Pittsburgh/VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. 
  1. General Information/Press Room. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/media-main/about-hypothyroidism/ 
  2. Low Testosterone Medscape CME Expert Column Series. Issue 1: Testosterone Deficiency in Men: Common and Under-recognized. Medscape CME & Education. http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/746602 
  3. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html
  4. Osteoporosis. Society for Endocrinology. http://www.yourhormones.info/endocrine_conditions/osteoporosis.aspx 
  5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Fact Sheet. Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.html 

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Last Review Date: 2021 Sep 5
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.