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Polyglandular Syndromes Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Polyglandular syndromes involve groups of symptoms and signs of disordered function related to one another by through the fact that they all come from a common disorder affecting many endocrine glands. These are referred to as "associated endocrinopathies" and they are considered to be autoimmune syndromes.

Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs.

The clinical appearance of patients with polyglandular deficiency syndromes is the sum of each of the individual deficiencies. There is no specific sequence for appearance of individual glandular damage.

The endocrine system is composed of the following glands are: pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, thymus, ovaries or testes, and adrenals.

While there are several different classifications systems and these will likely change as we gain more knowledge, here is one way to classify three syndromes of associated endocrinopathies defined as the polyglandular syndromes, as follows:

Type I Syndrome

This is an infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any special species of Candida, chiefly Candida albicans, and associated endocrinopathies (for example, Addison's disease and hypoparathyroidism).

Type II Syndrome

These diseases begin in early childhood. Patients initially develop candidiasis and hypoparathyroidism, but more than half of the patients also develop Addison's disease.

Type III Syndrome

Associated disorders include ovarian failure, alopecia, malabsorption, and chronic hepatitis. Patients have organ-specific autoantibodies and defects in cell-mediated immunity. The origin of this disease is unknown.

Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Often patients are unable to tolerate the toxic side effects of these drugs.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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