Module 7: Endocrinology

Endocrinology studies deal with the secretion and effects of hormones as well as the regulation of energy metabolism, body weight maintenance and reproduction throughout the life-cycle of men and women. Sex differences exist in important endocrine systems such as the insulin metabolism, the bone metabolism, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, thyroid hormones as well as in adipocytes metabolism.
This module focuses on major endocrine diseases like type II diabetes mellitus, obesity, thyroid dysfunction as well as osteoporosis and its related complications, a major burden of postmenopausal females but also an increasing often undetected health problem of males.
Gender differences in incidence and prevalence of Diabetes mellitus are small and in part controversial. However, pre-diabetes is characterized by a higher prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance in women and a greater prevalence of increased fasting glucose levels in men. Diabetes carries a greater risk for coronary artery disease in women than in men and is also associated with a greater risk of mortality after myocardial infarction.
In patients with the metabolic syndrome inflammatory markers have a strong impact on prognosis in women. Thyroid diseases and antithyroid antibodies are more common in women than in men. However male sex is a risk factor for thyroid cancer.

Author: Dr.med. Ute Seeland
Experts: Prof. Dr.med. Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, Prof. Dr.med. Schumm Draeger