The hypothalamus is an area of the brain that produces hormones that control:
- Body temperature
- Release of hormones from many glands, especially the pituitary gland
- Sex drive
- Heart rate
Hypothalamic dysfunction can occur as a result of diseases, including:
Genetic causes (often present at birth or during childhood)
- Injury – as a result of trauma, surgery or radiation
- Infection or inflammation
SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHALMIC DISEASE
Because the hypothalamus controls so many different functions, hypothalamic disease can have many different symptoms, depending on the cause. The most common symptoms are:
- Increased appetite and rapid weight gain
- Extreme thirst and frequent urination (diabetes insipidus)
- Low body temperature
- Slow heart rate
Hadley ME, Levine JE. Endocrinology. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall; 2007:111-133.
Coll AP, Farooqi IS, O'Rahilly S. The hormonal control of food intake. Cell. 2007;129(2):251-262.
Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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