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Polyglandular Syndromes

Polyglandular Syndromes are a collection of autoimmune diseases which affect one or more of the endocrine glands—the parts of the body that regulate, produce, and control hormones. The endocrine glands include the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries or testes, and many others. The body’s immune system causes the breaking down and destruction of part of all of the endocrine glands affected; once one endocrine gland is damaged or affected, often others follow. There has been a hereditary link found to Polyglandular Syndrome but doctors believe it can be triggered by infection or limited blood supply to the endocrine gland.

There are three types of Polyglandular Syndromes, type one, two, and three; they are characterized by the age at which the disease develops as well as which endocrine gland is affected. Type one Polyglandular Syndrome is developed in childhood and affects the adrenal and parathyroid glands. Type two Polyglandular Syndrome is developed in adults around age thirty and affects the thyroid, adrenal, and pancreas glands. Type three Polyglandular Syndrome is developed in adulthood and affects the thyroid gland, but not the adrenal gland.

Symptoms of Polyglandular Syndromes

The symptoms of Polyglandular Syndromes depend on the type one is suffering from. Type one Polyglandular Syndrome can cause chronic or frequent yeast infections, gallstones, hepatitis, premature baldness, and trouble absorbing food. Type two Polyglandular Syndrome can cause an underactive adrenal gland and underactive pancreas which leads to low production of insulin. This can cause diabetes. Type three Polyglandular Syndrome can also cause diabetes along with an underactive thyroid and hair loss.

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