Endocrine Community
Get answers. Share advice. Learn More

Endocrinology Definitions

Adenoma:
A begin tumor of an endocrine gland, such as a parathyroid adenoma. More about this.
Adrenaline:
The hormone secreted by the central part (medulla) of the adrenal gland.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer:
A rare type of thyroid cancer that spreads rapidly. This is the least common but most deadly of all thyroid cancers. More about this.
Antithyroid Drugs:
Medications that slow down the thyroid gland's ability to produce thyroid hormone. There are several different types, but most interfere with the thyroid's ability to synthesize hormone. More about this.
Benign:
Non-cancerous.
Beta Blocking Drug:
Medications that help block the symptoms (palpitations, tremor) caused by excess thyroid hormone. More about this.
Calcitonin:
A hormone produced by medullary thyroid cancer. Its measurements in the blood is a sensitive test for early diagnosis, as well as detecting recurrance following an operation for medullary thyroid cancer. More about this.
Cold Nodule:
A lump in the thyroid gland that does not take up iodine on a scan as well as the surrounding thyroid tissue. More about this.
Cancers show on a scan as cold nodules but most cold nodules are not cancer. More about this.
Compensatory Goiter:
Thyroid enlargement due to inefficient thyroid tissue that compensates for its inefficiency by enlarging. More about this.
De Quervain's Thyroiditis:
Inflammation of the thyroid gland causing enlargement and pain. It often causes fever and symptoms of hyperthyroidism. More about this.
Desiccated Thyroid:
A crude preparation made of animal thyroid glands. It was the first available source of thyroid hormone (thyroxine). Because of poor absorption and impurities it is no longer used.
Diffuse Goiter:
Generalized enlargement of the entire thyroid gland with a smooth surface.
Exophthalmos:
Protrusion of the eyes in Graves' Disease. More about this.
Follicular Thyroid Cancer:
The second most common form of thyroid cancer. Usually curable by thyroid surgery. More about this.
Goiter:
Enlargement of the thyroid gland for any reason. It may be generalized enlargement (diffuse) or asymmetric (nodular). More about this.
Graves' Disease:
Hyperthyroidism caused by an overactive diffuse goiter often associated with exophthalmos. Described by Dr. Robert Graves. More about this.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:
Inflammation of the thyroid gland described by Dr. Hashimoto. Typically causes a goiter and results in hypothyroidism. More about this.
Hormone:
A chemical produced by an endocrine gland and released into the blood. It travels to other organs of the body where it produces its effect. More about this.
Hot Nodule:
A lump in the thyroid gland that concentrates iodine on a scan more than the normal surrounding thyroid tissue More about this. Hot nodules are very rarely cancerous. More about this.
Hyperthyroidism:
Symptoms of increased metabolism due to excess thyroid hormone in the blood. It may be due to an abnormal thyroid gland or from taking thyroid medication. More about this. (over 10 pages on this).
Hypothyroidism:
Symptoms of decreased metabolism due to a deficiency of thyroid hormone in the blood. Inderal: A beta-blocking drug. More about this. (several pages on this)
Hyperparathyroidism:
Overproduction of parathyroid hormone (PTH) by a diseased parathyroid gland. More about this. The excess PTH causes the calcium to be too high, leading to kidney stones, osteoporosis, and several nevous system complaints. More about this.
Iodine:
A non-metallic element found in food. It is necessary for normal thyroid function. More about this.
Iodine-Induced Goiter:
A goiter caused by excess iodine or by a sensitivity to iodine. More about this.
Isthmus:
A small piece of thyroid tissue that connects the right and left lobes of the thyroid gland. More about this.
Larynx:
The top of the trachea containing the vocal cords. The "voice box".
Lithium:
A metal, the salt of which is used in treating depression. It sometimes interferes with thyroid function and can cause goiter.
Lugole's Solution:
A liquid medication containing iodine.
Malignant:
Cancerous.
Medulla:
The central part of a gland, such as the adrenal medulla. More about this.
Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma:
A rare form of thyroid cancer that produces an abnormal hormone (calcitonin). This form of thyroid cancer is often hereditary. More about this.
Metabolism:
The use of calories and oxygen to produce energy.
Methimazole:
An antithyroid medication used to treat hyperthyroidism. More about this.
Multi-Nodular Goiter:
Enlarged thyroid gland with two or more nodules. More about this.
Myxedema:
Severe hypothyroidism.
Neoplasm:
A tumor. An abnormal growth. May be benign or malignant.
Nodular Goiter:
Enlarged thyroid gland with one or more nodules. More about this.
Nodule:
A lump or growth of tissue within the thyroid gland. More about this.
Osteoporosis:
The process by which too much calcium is lost from the bones which causes the bones to become brittle. Associated with aging, but made much worse by hyperparathyroidism. More about this.
Palpitation:
The sensation of feeling your heart beat. It may be too fast, irregular, or just more forceful. More about this.
Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma:
The most common form of thyroid cancer; usually curable by surgery. More about this.
Parathyroid Glands:
Four small glands located in the neck, near the thyroid gland. They produce parathormone which controls calcium metabolism. More about this. Production of too much parathyroid hormone causes primary hyperparathyroidism and osteoporosis More about this
Pheochromocytoma:
A tumor of the adrenal medulla which secretes adrenaline. More about this.
Pituitary Gland:
A small gland the size of a peanut that is located behind the eyes of the base of the brain. It secretes hormones that control other glands (thyroid, adrenal, testicles and ovaries) as well as growth. More about this.
It secretes TSH which helps control thyroid function. More about this.
Parathyroid Hormone (PTH):
Hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands. Circulates in the blood stream to cause absorption of calcium from our diets, and out of bones. More about this.
Propylthiouracil (PTU):
An antithyroid medication which prevents thyroid cells from producing thyroid hormone. Used to control hyperthyroidism. More about this.
Radioactive Iodine:
An isotope of iodine used in the diagnosis More about this, and treatment of the thyroid lesions and thyroid cancers. More about this.
Scan:
A term which generically means a "picture" of some part of the body.
Silent Thyroiditis:
A self limited thyroiditis that resembles Hashimoto's thyroiditis on biopsy but De Quervain's thyroiditis on scan. More about this.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH):
A hormone produced by the pituitary that stimulates the thyroid gland. Its measurement is a very sensitive test of thyroid status. More about this.
Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG):
A protein in the blood that binds with thyroxine (T4). More about this.
Thyroglobulin:
A protein in the thyroid gland, a small amount of which gets into the blood. Its level is followed after thyroid surgery to detect recurrence of thyroid cancer.
Thyroidectomy:
An operation removing all or part of the thyroid gland. More about this.
Thyroiditis:
Inflammation of the thyroid gland. More about this.
Thyroxine (T4):
The primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland. More about this. It is available as medication.
Toxic Goiter:
An enlarged thyroid gland that produces too much thyroid hormone.
Trachea:
The windpipe. It should me in the middle of the neck but can be pushed to the side by a large goiter, especially a substernal goiter. More about this.
TRH Test:
A very sensitive test for abnormal thyroid function. More about this.
Triiodothyronine (T3):
The second hormone produced by the thyroid gland. It is more potent than thyroxine (T4). More about this.
Tumor:
A mass of tissue. It may be benign or malignant.
Ultrasound:
A type of scan which uses sound waves which pass into the body, reflecting back to produce pictures. More about this.
SHOW MAIN MENU
SHOW SUB MENU