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  • Assessment of the Endocrine System

  • Endocrine systemEndocrine system (ES) the nervous system and the interconnected network of glandsA key feature of all endocrine glands (EG) is the secretion of hormonesHormones are biochemicals that exert their effect on target tissuesTarget tissues (TT) usually located some distance from the endocrine gland, with no direct physical connection between EG and TT

  • Endocrine systemFor this reason EG are called ductless glands and must use circulatory system to transport secreted hormones to the TTEG include the following:Pituitary glandAdrenal glandsThyroid glandIslet cells of the pancreasParathyroid glandsGonads

  • Endocrine systemThe endocrine system works with the nervous system to regulate overall physiologic function neuroendocrine regulationThe ES keeps the constant normal balance (homeostasis) of the organs and systems in response to environmental changes

  • Endocrine systemHormones:steroid - hydrocortisonepeptide (protein) - insulinamine epinephrineNegative feedback control mechanismsIn the healthy physiologic state, hormone concentration in the bloodstream is maintained at a relatively constant levelWhen the hormone concentration rises, further production of that hormone is inhibited When the hormone concentration falls, the rate of production of that hormone increases

  • Assessment. HistoryDemographic dataage and gender (some disorders are age related: hyperosmolar states, loss of ovarian function, decreased thyroid and parathyroid function; and gender related sexual effects of hyperpituitarism and hypopituitarism)

  • Assessment. HistoryPersonal and family historyfamily history of obesity, grows or development difficulties, diabetes mellitus, infertility, or thyroid disordersassess the client of the following: endocrine dysfunction; signs or symptoms that could indicate an endocrine disorder; hospitalisationspast and current medications (hydrocortisone, levothyroxine, oral contraceptives, antihypertensive drugs)

  • Assessment. HistoryDiet historyNutritional changes and GI tract disturbances may reflect a variety of endocrine problems (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain)Changes in food and fluid intake (diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus)Rapid changes in weight without accompanying changes in diet (diabetes mellitus, thyroid disfunction)

  • Assessment. HistorySocioeconomic statusare the clients resources adequate to maintain the healthy diet, purchase needed medicationsCurrent health problemsdid the clients symptoms occur gradually, or was the onset sudden?has the client been treated for this problem in the past?How have the current symptoms interfered with activities of daily living?

  • Assessment. Historyenergy levels (changes in energy levels are associated with a number of endocrine problems: thyroid, adrenal glands)eliminationurine amount and frequency. Does he or she urinate frequently in large amounts? Does the client wake during the night to urinate (nocturia), or does he or she experience pain on urinaton (dysuria)?information about the frequency of bowel movements and their consistency and color

  • Assessment. Historysex and reproduction. Women are asked about any changes in the menstrual cycle (increased flow, duration, frequency of menses; pain or excessive cramping; or a recent change in the regularity of menses). Men are asked whether they have experienced impotence. Both have to be asked about changes in libido or any fertility problems

  • Assessment. HistoryPhysical appearance. The client is asked about changes in the following:hair texture and distributionfacial contoursvoice qualitybody proportionssecondary sexual characteristics

  • Physical AssessmentInspectionuse a head-to-toe approachobserve a general clients appearance, height, weight, fat distribution, muscle mass in relation to agehead: prominent forehead, jaw; round or puffy face; dull or flat face expression; exophtalmos (protrunding eyeballs and retracting upper lids)

  • Physical AssessmentInspectionlower half of the neck visible enlargement of the thyroid gland (N isthmus can be observed during the swallowing)jugular vein dilation can indicate fluid overloadskin color, areas of hypo- or hyperpigmentation; fungal skin infections, slow wound healing, petechiae (adrenocortical hyperfunction); skin infections, foot ulcers, slow wound healing (diabetes mellitus)

  • Physical AssessmentVitiligo (patchy areas of depigmentation with increased pigmentation at the edges) primary hypofunction of the adrenal glands. Most often occur on the face, neck and extremities. Mucous membranes can exhibit a large areas of pigmentationNecessary to document the location, distribution, color, size of all skin discolorations and lesionfingernails malformation, thickness, or brittleness (thyroid gland difficulties)

  • Physical Assessmentthe extremities and the base of the spine are assessed for edema (disturbance in fluid and electrolyte balance)trunkabnormalities in chest size and simmetrytruncal obesity, supraclavicular fat pads and a buffalo hump adrenocortical excesssecondary sexual characteristics breasts of both men and women for size, symmetry, pigmentation and discharge

  • Physical AssessmentStriae (usually reddish purple stretch marks) on the breasts or abdomen are often seen with adrenocortical excesshair distribution hirsutism (abnormal grows of body hair, especially on the face, chest, and the linea alba of the abdomen of women), excessive hair loss, or change in hair texturegenitalia (hypogonadism)

  • Physical AssessmentPalpationThyroid gland (size, symmetry, general shape, presence of nodules or other irregularities)the nurse palpates the thyroid gland standing either behind (may be easier) or in front of the clientoffering the client sips of water to promote swallowing during the examination helps palpate the thyroid gland

  • Physical Assessmentthe client is asked to sit and to lower the chinusing the posterior approach, the thumbs of both hands are placed on the back of the clients neck, with the fingers curved around to the front of the neck on either side of the tracheathe client is asked to swallow, and the nurse locates the isthmus of the thyroid and feels it rising. The anterior surface of the thyroid lobe is also identified

  • Physical Assessmentto examine the right lobe, the nurse:turns the clients head to the rightdisplaces the thyroid cartilage to the right with the fingers of the left handpalpates the right lobe with the right handthis procedure is reversed for examination of the left lobe

  • Physical AssessmentAuscultationthe nurse auscultates the clients chest to establish baseline vital signs and to determine irregularities in cardiac rate and rhythmthe nurse documents any difference in clients blood pressure and pulse in the lying, standing, or sitting positions (orthostatic vital signs) many endocrine disorders can cause dehydration and volume depletion

  • Physical AssessmentAuscultationif an enlarged thyroid gland is palpated, the area of enlargement is auscultaded for bruits (hypertrophy causes an increase in vascular flow)

  • Diagnostic AssessmentLaboratory testsBest practice for endocrine testingexplain the procedure to the clientemphasize the importance of taking a medication prescribed for the test on time. Tell the client to set an alarm if the medication is to be taken during the nightinstruct the client to begin the urine collection (whether for 2, 4, 8, 12 or 24 hours) by emptying his or her bladder. Tell the client NOT to save the urine specimen that begins the collection. The timing for the urine collection begins after this specimen. To end the collection, the client empties his or her bladder at the end of the timed period and adds that urine to the collection

  • Diagnostic Assessmentmake sure that the preservative has been added to the collection container at the beginning of the collection, if necessary. Tell the client of its presence in the container

  • Diagnostic Assessmentcheck your laboratorys method of handling hormone test samples. Blood samples drawn for certain hormones (e.g., catecholamines) must be placed on ice and taken to the laboratory immediatelyif you are drawing blood samples from a line, clear the IV line thoroughly. Do not use a double- or triple-lumen line to obtain samples; contamination or dilution from another port is possible

  • Diagnostic AssessmentStimulation/suppression testsRadioimmunoassayUrine testsTests for glucoseRadiographic examinationsOther diagnostic tests (needle biopsy)

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