Video: Anatomical terminology for healthcare professionals | Episode 10 | Endocrine system
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Black eyeliner, studded belts, a piercing that seemed cool at the time, lashing out at the world on MySpace and MSN Messenger – what do all these things have in common? Our teenage years. Who knew all of those adolescent hormones rushing through our bodies would make us do such crazy things. Whether you hated your parents for three years straight or had an identity crisis at the age of sixteen, the truth is adolescence is hard. However, learning about the hormones responsible for all this madness doesn't have to be.
Welcome to episode ten of the Kenhub series, Anatomical Terminology for Healthcare Professionals – finding balance with endocrine system terminology.
Now, if you've watched any of the videos in this series, you'll know by now that our goal is to help you learn how to understand anatomical terminology rather than just memorizing it. We've been showing you how terms are made by breaking every term down into familiar word parts – prefixes, roots, and suffixes. So, the next time you see a new, scary-looking term, you'll know how to deal with it.
We'll be focusing on the terminology of the endocrine system in this video, but if you want to learn more about the anatomy of the organs and structures we'll encounter today, you can head over to kenhub.com, where you'll find hundreds of detailed anatomical articles as well as beautiful illustrations to help you improve your learning.
If you've ever studied the endocrine system, you'll know there are two main elements to it – the endocrine glands and the hormones they secrete. So, let's learn the roots associated with them beginning first with 'endocrine-' or 'endocrin/o-' with the O at the end, which is the root for endocrine system or endocrine glands. It comes from the Greek 'endon' which means within and 'krinein' to secrete. It is used in words like endocrinologist – a medical specialist concerned with the endocrine system.
'Aden-' or 'aden/o-' with the O at the end is a general root referring to glands and is used in terms like adenectomy which is surgical excision of a gland. The root associated with hormones is simply 'hormon-' or 'hormon/o-' with the O at the end. You'll see it used, for example, in hormonagogue – an agent that increases the production of a hormone.
Speaking of secretion of hormones, we have the root 'crin-' or 'crin/o-' with the O at the end which means just that – secrete. An example of it in use could be the term crinogenic which refers to an agent which stimulates the gland into secretion.
Let's take a look now at some terminology related to some of the individual endocrine organs starting with the pituitary gland. First thing to note is that the pituitary also gets called the hypophysis. Since this gland has two names, it also has two roots associated with it, and good news, they’re both really straightforward. The root 'pituit-' can be used in terms like hyperpituitatirism, which refers to pathological increased activity of the pituitary gland. The root 'hypophys-', of course, means hypophysis and you'll see it in terms like hypophysectomy which is the removal of the pituitary gland.
Let's talk a little bit about the hormones related to the pituitary gland. Let's begin with the term which describes many of the hormones produced by the anterior pituitary which are known as tropic hormones. These are hormones which influence the action of another gland. For example, we have follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, often simply abbreviated to FSH and LH, and both of which affect the functions of the testes and ovaries. We also have thyroid-stimulating hormone and adrenocorticotropic hormone, which affect the thyroid and adrenal glands, respectively. Keep in mind that we're going to look at all these glands individually over the course of this tutorial.
Looking quickly at the posterior pituitary gland, it produces non-tropic hormones such as antidiuretic hormone which is involved in water retention and oxytocin which influences uterine contractions and lactation. So, what happens when things don't go right with the pituitary?
Due to the wider rate of hormones the pituitary secretes, it can affect many processes in your body. One hormone of interest is growth hormone and excessive secretion of it can cause acromegaly which is enlargement of the limbs. Overproduction of the hormone in children can cause increased growth of long bones and lead to gigantism, which refers to abnormal height. On the other end of the scale, we, of course, have dwarfism.
Now moving on, we have the roots 'thyr-' or 'thyr/o-' with the O at the end, and 'thyroid-' or 'thyroid/o-' with the O at the end which are associated with the thyroid gland. For example, thyromegaly means enlargement of the thyroid gland, also known as goiter.
Now when it comes to medical conditions, the thyroid gland is particularly fascinating. For example, we have Graves’ disease which is an autoimmune disorder that causes overactivity of the thyroid gland that, in turn, can cause inflammation of various tissues around the body resulting in conditions like exophthalmos. What is that? You might be asking right now. Well, we'll break it down for you. In Greek, 'ex' stands for external, 'enophthalmos' for eye. Combine the two and we get bulging of the eyeballs out of their sockets.
Congenital hypothyroidism is a disease which results in stunted physical and mental development due to the lack of thyroid gland secretion or absence of the gland itself from birth. A similar disorder known as myxedema can be acquired in adulthood as a result of reduced thyroid activity or removal of the thyroid gland. It causes deposit of mucin in the skin causing then swelling which is hinted in the name of this disorder.
The next pair of glands we're looking at are the suprarenal or adrenal glands and their two roots – 'adren-' or 'adren/o-' with the O at the end and 'adrenal-' or 'adrenal/o-' with the O at the end. They are formed by the Latin prefix 'ad-' for near and 'ren-' or 'ren/o-' with the O at the end which means kidney, indicating their location on top of the kidneys. The adrenal gland can also sometimes be called epinephros which also means near the kidney, but in Greek. This explains why the primary hormones of this gland are either known as adrenaline and noradrenaline or, alternatively, epinephrine or norepinephrine. Epinephrine or adrenaline and norepinephrine or noradrenaline are produced in the inner portion of the adrenals called the medulla, so, the substances pertaining to the medullum could be referred to as adrenomedullary.
Similarly, we also have the root 'adrenocortic-' or 'adrenocortic/o-' with the O at the end associated with the outer portion of the adrenals known as the cortex. For example, adrenocorticotropic hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and acts to stimulate the adrenal cortex in secreting cortisol. You'll find that in terminology, it is all connected and the same word parts tend to pop up, so once you learn a word part once, you can use it again and again and again.
Now it's time to take a look at some medical conditions associated with adrenal glands. Let's start with adrenal virilism. It refers to the development of secondary male sexual characteristics in females or abnormally premature development in males. It is caused by excessive production of androgenic or male hormones by the adrenal glands, which normally only produce it in small amounts.
Now it's time to take a look at the pancreas, or more specifically, the endocrine part of the pancreas, which is known as the pancreatic islets or islets of Langerhans. The root we have associated with them is 'insul-' or 'insul/o-' with the O at the end and is actually a good description of the endocrine tissue arrangement because it arises from the Latin word 'insula' which means island. For example, insular means pertaining to the pancreatic islets. This, of course, also used in relation to insulin – a hormone produced by the endocrine pancreas which regulates our blood sugar levels.
Speaking of blood sugar, it's important for us to also be aware of these root words 'gluco-' and 'glyco-' which both come from the Greek words for sweet. You'll see them in terms like glucagon – the name of another hormone produced at the endocrine pancreas which increases blood sugar levels.
Now it is time for us to address some medical conditions associated with the endocrine pancreas. Firstly, we have hypoglycemia which is a term for low blood sugar or blood glucose which is, of course, regulated by the hormone secreted by the pancreatic islets. It is also sometimes referred to as glucopenia. Hyperglycemia, in contrast, means high blood sugar.
Now, of course, we can't talk about the endocrine pancreas and not mention diabetes mellitus. It is a condition where due to ceased production of insulin or inability by cells to react to insulin, glucose is no longer absorbed by cells around the body. The word diabetes comes from the Greek 'diabetes' which means to pass through and 'mellitus' means sweetened by honey in Latin, referring to excess glucose in blood and urine of diabetic patients. But did you know that not all types of diabetes are related to blood sugar? For example, diabetes insipidus refers to a disorder of fluid imbalance, excessive urination, and thirst caused by abnormalities in the pituitary gland.
To finish our round up of endocrine organs, let's briefly discuss some terminology of the gonads which, of course, the testes in males and the ovaries in women. The root here is unsurprisingly 'gonad-' or 'gonad/o-' with the O at the end and you'll see it in terms like gonadoblastoma which refers to a benign tumor made up of gonadal elements.
If you watched our episode on the urogenital systems, you will remember that the root words associated with the ovaries are 'ovari-' or 'ovari/o-' with the O at the end or 'oophor-' or 'oophor/o-' with the O at the end while those associated with the testes are 'testiculo-', 'orchi-' or 'orchi/o-' with the O at the end, or 'orchid-' or 'orchid/o-' with the O at the end. Now, in terms of gonadal hormones, the key term here is actually androgen which comes from the root word 'andr-' or 'andr/o-' with the O at the end which means male in Greek. But don't let the name fool you. Both men's and women's gonads produce androgens. The principal types of androgens are testosterone and androstenedione which, again, are found in both males and females.
Androgens are, of course, present in much higher levels in men and play an important role in male secondary sex characteristics and reproductive activity. In both sexes, one of the purposes of androgens is to be converted into hormones known as estrogens. These, of course, are found at much higher levels in females and control the menstrual cycle and development of the female secondary sexual characteristics.
Let's quickly talk about some hormone medical conditions related to the gonads. The first is gynecomastia. The prefix 'gynec-' or 'gynec/o-' with the O at the end comes from the Greek 'gyne' for woman and mastia from 'mastos' for breasts. Surprisingly, this disorder refers to a male condition resulting in the development of breast tissue either due to elevated estrogen or decreased testosterone secretion.
Imbalance of reproductive hormones in females can result in our final condition of interest today which is known as polycystic ovary syndrome. It refers to the presence of numerous immature follicles in the ovaries which resembles cysts due to suppressed ovulation.
And that marks the end of all the terminology we wanted to teach you in this video. Now, why don't you put all this fresh knowledge to the test and try to figure out what the following terms mean.