Dr. Brian J. Fertig, MD, Diabetes & Osteoporosis Center

Conditions Treated

Autoimmune Endocrine Disorders


Autoimmune Endocrine Disorders and Polyglandular Autoimmune Deficiencies

The endocrine glands secrete specific hormones, but when endocrine glands malfunction, it’s often due to an autoimmune reaction. In some cases, the body’s immune defenses begin to attack the cells of the body, which has the potential to result in autoimmune endocrine disorders and polyglandular autoimmune deficiencies.

Autoimmune Endocrine Disorders

Autoimmune endocrine disorders occur when the endocrine system has been comprised because the body’s immune system is attacking itself. Your endocrine system is responsible not only for hormone regulation, but for reaction to both external and internal stimuli. These disorders vary in severity from patient to patient, but they have the potential to result in severe disability. Some of the common types of autoimmune endocrine disorders include Addison disease, Graves disease, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and thyroiditis.

These disorders often run in families and statistics show that women are more likely to develop autoimmune endocrine disorders than men are. Some findings even suggest that environmental influences can actually trigger the onset of these disorders

At The Diabetes & Osteoporosis Center, we treat autoimmune endocrine disorders in a variety of ways, including working to control the side effects caused by the disorders. We also focus on treatments that regulate the immune system to reduce symptoms.

Polyglandular Autoimmune Deficiencies

Polyglandular autoimmune deficiencies are hereditary disorders involving the simultaneous or sequential malfunction of multiple endocrine glands. These disorders are classified into three different categories:

  • Type 1 – This type develops in children and generally involves underactive adrenal and parathyroid glands. Patients often deal with chronic yeast infections, which may be the first sign that there’s a problem. Other autoimmune disorders may come with this type of deficiency, including autoimmune hepatitis, digestive disorders, thyroid disease, and diabetes.
  • Type 2 – Often referred to as Schmidt syndrome, this type occurs in adults, and most often, women. Both the thyroid and adrenal glands are underactive, although in some cases, the thyroid gland can become overactive. It’s common for individuals with this type to develop diabetes as well.
  • Type 3 – Very close to type 2, with this type the adrenal glands stay normal.

Symptoms can vary in individuals with polyglandular autoimmune deficiencies based upon the specific endocrine organs affected. In some cases, deficiencies take years to show up and may not appear at the same time.

How  We Can Help

We offer the latest diagnostic technology and treatment options to patients dealing with autoimmune endocrine disorders and polyglandular autoimmune deficiencies. Out on-site lab saves patients time, allowing them to take care of lab tests on site and ensuring we get results quickly. Our on-site ANSAR machine improves the accuracy of patient diagnoses, and we also offer other cutting-edge diagnostic tools, including sonosite thyroid ultrasound and a BMI machine. At DOC we’ll work with you, creating an individual treatment plan that meets your need, treating you as a whole, not just your disease.