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Underneath the pineal gland and the size of an almond in humans, sits the hypothalamus, which is actually part of the brain and nervous system as well as being a secretor of endocrine hormones.
The hypothalamus is the means by which we respond to everything going on around us and inside of us and manage to remain healthy through the appropriate influences and controls on the rest of the endocrine system.
The hypothalamus issues various instructions in the form of release hormones to the pituitary gland. It is the hypothalamus that really knows how our bodies are performing in our environment.
The hypothalamus like any organ can suffer damage or disease. When the hypothalamus fails to produce enough releasing hormones then this may be referred to as 'hypothalamic hypofunction'. This type of condition can affect the thyroid gland and thyroid hormones and the adrenal gland and adrenal hormones. If disease or damage causes an excess of hypothalamic release hormones then it is referred to as 'hypothalamic hyperfunction'. These types of conditions need to be investigated, diagnosed and treated by the appropriate medical specialists.
In the cases of hypothalamic hypofunction or hyperfunction then it is generally the specific endocrine glands that end up being either under-stimulated or over-stimulated that identified first through a mixture of laboratory tests and presenting symptoms associated with the specific gland(s). Often it takes considerable investigation on the part of an appropriately qualified medical specialist to determine that the hypothalamus is the cause of the problem(s). Any treatment required will depend on the specific nature of the hypothalamus issue.