Hypothalamus

Last Updated: August 17, 2020

Definition - What does Hypothalamus mean?

The hypothalamus is an anatomical segment of the lower brainstem that is responsible for diverse homeostatic functions and processes including the regulation of hormone secretion, body temperature, circadian rhythm cycles, and emotional responses. The anterior, middle and posterior regions comprise the hypothalamus, with each subset contributing to the physiological health and maintenance of the body on a cyclical basis.

WorkplaceTesting explains Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland operate interdependently to release hormones that activate and check the biochemical performance of organic tissue to sustain normal health. Hypothalamic abnormalities often interplay with the pituitary gland, carrying etiological implications that can manifest as diabetes insipidus, hypopituitarism, and Prader-Willi syndrome. Head trauma, malignancies (tumors), and congenital anomalies are common culprits of hypothalamic dysfunction in which biological and physiological changes can influence vital hormones including corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), somatostatin, and thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH).

Depending on the affected region, many people can experience a host of different symptoms including dehydration, erratic blood pressure (high or low), infertility, insomnia, fluctuating weight patterns, all of which coincide to a specific hormone in maintaining these physiological disruptions. Laboratory experiments discovered that poor nutrition induces inflammation of the hypothalamus in mice, a causal factor that may translate to people and their autonomy to follow a diet regimen coupled with adequate sleep patterns to avoid these consequences. Moreover, additional studies indicate that high glucose (sugar) intake can compound inflammatory risks, providing an incentive for individuals to limit sugar consumption.

A healthy hypothalamus can reflect an individual’s morale and job performance provided that metabolic stability remains intact. Businesses that uphold health and safety policies that promote a culture of general well-being can help streamline productivity, minimize accidents/injuries, in turn, deterring absenteeism and workers' compensation claims.

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