b. Hypoparathyroidism. This condition is the result of insufficient amounts of
the parathyroid hormone (PTH) being produced by the parathyroid glands. The cause
can be disease, injury, or a malfunction of these glands which was present at birth. This
hormonal insufficiency leads to lower than normal blood concentration of calcium
resulting in muscle spasms and convulsions. There can be dermatologic,
ophthalmologic (cataracts), psychiatric, and dental symptoms of this condition.
Treatment is the replacement of calcium in the body.
ISLANDS OF LANGERHANS (IN THE PANCREAS).
The islands or islets of Langerhans consist of clusters of cells that make up the
endocrine portion of the pancreas. These cells produce hormones. These cells can be
classified as A cells, B cells, D cells, and F cells depending on the hormone produced
by each type of cell. The most numerous cells are B cells which produce insulin. Two
types of disorders result if the B cells do not produce the necessary quantity or quality of
insulin: hyposecretion of insulin and hypersecretion of insulin.
a. Hyposecretion of Insulin. Too little insulin is secreted. There is sugar in the
urine, and the level of blood sugar is abnormally high. These are characteristics of
diabetes mellitus, a disease discussed in lesson 3.
b. Hypersecretion of Insulin. Too much insulin is secreted by the cells in the
islands of Langerhans. The result is hypoglycemia which is abnormally low levels of
blood sugar. The signs and symptoms of this condition include sweating, hunger,
weakness, and lightheadedness. The symptoms often disappear after the patient eats
These diseases and disorders may not be life-threatening, but they can be
painful and a detriment to the soldier's completion of duty. Management of patients with
these health problems can have a great impact on the Army's ability to complete the