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Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is an area of the brain that produces hormones that control:

  • Body temperature
  • Hunger
  • Mood
  • Release of hormones from many glands, especially the pituitary gland
  • Sex drive
  • Sleep
  • Thirst
  • Heart rate

Information

HYPOTHALMIC DISEASE

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

References

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.

Updated: 11/7/2013

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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