By: Michael Manion Page Views: 1353
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The glands of the body are included in what is known as the Endocrine System. This includes the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, the parathyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the ovaries and testes, the pineal gland, and the thymus gland. Of these, we will discuss the ovaries and testes separately.

The pituitary gland is a small structure attached to the base of the brain (behind the nose), where it is protected by a part of the skull called the sphenoid bone. A normal pituitary gland is about the size and shape of a kidney bean and is responsible for controlling and coordinating:

  1. Growth and development
  2. The function of various body organs (i.e. kidneys, breasts and uterus)
  3. The function of other glands (i.e. thyroid, gonads, and adrenal glands)

The pituitary gland performs these functions by releasing several signaling hormones that, in turn, control the activities of other organs.

Once again it can be stated here that the seemingly unknown factors of environmental toxins and poor nutritional factors combined with unseen radiations may trigger a gland to over or under produce. The pituitary gland then would begin to produce tumors to accommodate the effects of these. Hereditary tendencies also play a part in this production.

Pituitary tumors can vary in size and behavior. Tumors smaller than 10 mm are called microadenomas, and often secrete anterior pituitary hormones. These smaller, functional adenomas are usually detected earlier because the increased levels of hormones cause abnormal changes in the body. Approximately 50 percent of pituitary adenomas are diagnosed when they are smaller than 5 mm in size. Adenomas larger than 10 mm (the size of a dime) are called macroadenomas, and usually do not secrete hormones. These tumors are often discovered as they produce symptoms by compressing nearby brain or cranial nerve structures. Thus the person may feel unusual pressure or sensations within his or her head.

The symptoms of a pituitary tumor generally result from endocrine dysfunction. The dysfunction can be either overproduction of signaling hormones, as is the case with acromegaly (giantism) and growth hormone, or the result of underproduction of signaling hormones, as in hypothyroidism. Because of its strategic location within the skull, tumors of the pituitary can compress important brain structures as they enlarge. The most common circumstance involves compression of the optic nerves leading to a gradual loss of vision. The visual loss usually begins with a deterioration of lateral peripheral vision on both sides.