What is hypothalamus?

What Does hypothalamus Mean

The hypothalamus is an area of ​​the brain that is located below the thalamus and that can be framed within the diencephalon . Through the release of hormones, the hypothalamus is responsible for regulating body temperature, thirst, hunger, mood, and other issues of great importance.

This area of ​​gray matter can be divided into different nuclei , such as the paraventricular, the supraoptic, the ventromedial, the posterior, the preoptic, the dorsomedial and the lateral nuclei , among others.
The hypothalamus acts on the autonomic nervous system and the limbic system , in addition to being considered as the integrating structure of the vegetative nervous system . It is connected to the endocrine system , the brain nerves, and the spinal cord .

It is important to emphasize that this area of ​​the brain that we are dealing with carries out, together with the pituitary gland, an endocrine type gland that is located in a bony space called the sphenoid bone, the procedure of homeostasis. Specifically, this is a set of actions thanks to which it is achieved that the body, and more precisely its internal environment, regulates itself in order, in this way, to ensure that both its properties and its composition are maintained in what they are. constant parameters.
According to Medicine, this process of homeostasis is achieved by the hypothalamus and the pituitary through a negative feedback system, that is, what the system does is respond in the opposite direction to the signal.
In addition to releasing hormones, the hypothalamus has the ability to generate direct-acting neurohormones such as oxytocin (which is linked to the genitals in men and to the mammary glands and uterus in women) and antidiuretic hormone (dedicated to the regulation of water in the body).
The hypothalamus, on the other hand, is responsible for secreting different substances and fulfilling various functions related to the secretion of pituitary hormones .
In addition to all the aforementioned, it must be stated that it is also important to know the set of diseases of the hypothalamus that can occur and that bring with them that those who suffer from them are at a very critical moment since they are pathologies of a relevant severity.
Thus, for example, among the most common are germ cell tumors, meningiomas of the sphenoid wing, craniopharyngiomas, internal carotid aneurysms or gliomas of the optic nerve. These are the diseases that occur in what is the anterior hypothalamus.
However, we cannot ignore that there are also other pathologies that occur in the so-called posterior hypothalamus. Among them, some stand out due to their importance, such as teratomas which are encapsulated tumors, gliomas, ependymomas or the aforementioned germ tumors.
Some surgical intervention, a tumor, the degeneration typical of old age or a violent blow can cause damage to the hypothalamus. Among the consequences of these disorders , there are certain alterations of the psyche, diabetes insipidus (which causes a reduction in the generation of vasopressin and an excess in the production of urine), sleep disturbances, changes in heart rhythm, overweight and sexual dysfunctions.

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