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Endocrine Disease Signs and Symptoms Medical Terminology

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Health Literacy & Signs and Symptom of Endocrine Disorders

Knowledge and understanding of the medical terminology pertaining to some of the more common signs and symptoms of endocrine disease is an important aspect of health literacy. It can also aid in recognizing the need for professional evaluation and treatment. Prompt actions based on a recognized need can prevent undesirable consequences and promote better health care outcomes. The medical terms listed below are oftentimes associated with specific endocrine disorders. To augment your learning experience you can hear the medical pronunciation of the terms in bold font by clicking the play button below.

Medical Terminology

Buffalo hump (dorsocervical fat pad) It is the accumulation of fat on the endocrine diseaseback of the neck at the base seen with Cushing’s syndrome.

Central adiposity – It is fat distributed primarily in the abdomen. Cushing’s syndrome is a cause.

Exophthalmus – It is bulging eyeballs associated with Graves’ disease.
Kussmaul breathing – It is the abnormally deep and rapid breathing characteristic of diabetic ketoacidosis. You can also occur with other forms of acidosis.

Moon facies – It is roundness of the face due to increased fat distribution in the lateral parts. It is one of the classic signs of Cushing’s syndrome. 

Myxedema – It is a condition of dry, waxy swelling of the skin and other tissues associated with hypothyroidism.  In contrast to peripheral edema from heart failure and other causes of fluid retention, this type of swelling is nonpitting.   Individuals with myxedema have striking facial changes with swollen lips and a thickened nose.  The use of the term is sometimes interchangeable with hypothyroidism. 

Polydipsia – It is increased thirst associated with diabetes mellitus when the blood sugar is poorly controlled. The cause increased urinary excretion of sugar which carries water with it. 

Polyuria – It is excessive urination. The increase is in both the frequency and volume of urination. Diabetes mellitus with poor glycemic control is a cause.
Striae – Are the purple lines in the skin resembling stretch marks. They are one of the skin manifestations Cushing’s syndrome.

Tetany It is the abnormal muscle flexion at the wrist or ankle joints with associated twitching, cramping, spasm and/or an involuntary series of contractions. It is due to increased excitability of the nerves and muscles resulting from low blood calcium.  

Thyrotoxicosis – It is the condition resulting from excessive production of thyroid hormone. Many of the signs and symptoms are those of an increased rate of metabolism caused by the increased amounts of hormone.  They include nervousness, insomnia, tremors, emotional instability, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, frequent bowel movements, weight loss, increased appetite, palpitations, rapid heart rate, arrhythmias, heart enlargement and at times overt heart failure. Signs and symptoms in the eyes include a characteristics stare, infrequent blinking, and lid lag when looking down. Eye signs and symptoms of thyrotoxicosis are not the same as the bulging eyes (proptosis) seen with Graves’ disease. Some, many, most, or none of the above symptoms might be present in individuals with excessive production of thyroid hormone.


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