Purpose of Review:
This article provides an overview of the neurologic complications found in the various endocrine disorders affecting adult patients. Specifically, disorders in pituitary hormones (prolactin, growth hormone, vasopressin, and oxytocin), thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones (glucocorticoids), and sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) will be covered, with an emphasis on identifying the signs and symptoms in addition to diagnosing and managing these disorders.
Hyperthyroidism in the young was found to increase the risk for ischemic stroke in a recent prospective case-cohort study. The cognitive effects of hormonal therapy in postmenopausal women remain controversial, but a recent study found no benefit or risk in cognitive function when treating younger (50 to 55 years of age) postmenopausal women with hormonal therapy.
Endocrine disorders can cause various neurologic complications, from insidious myopathy to acute encephalopathy. Diagnosing the endocrine disorder as the cause of the neurologic impairment is essential, as treating the underlying hormonal dysfunction will often rapidly reverse the neurologic symptoms. Ongoing research is needed to further clarify the role of hormonal dysfunction in neurologic disorders.