Hypothalamus

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These pages hold in-progress web pages for the benefit of Rosacea Support Group members. Information provided herein is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice offered by a physician or qualified healthcare provider. Feedback welcome to wiki-feedback@rosacea-research.org




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The Hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is a small almond-shaped gland located in the lower mid-brain between the thalamus and the pituitary gland. It is often called the body’s ‘thermostat’, being the main center for controlling body temperature through the regulation of heating and cooling mechanisms.

Many people with rosacea report that there are certain hours of the day when they are more prone to flushing. Flushing may occur more readily during those hours when the body’s temperature is naturally elevated. Body temperature fluctuates throughout the day according to the circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) typically peaking in the early evening hours. But body temperature can also become elevated above normal range due to exposure to heat, exercise, hormonal fluctuations, stress responses, infections, medications, or certain medical disorders.

To cool the body, the hypothalamus invokes parasympathetic pathways that stimulate sweating and vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels). This response to ‘over-heating’ is a major rosacea trigger.

The hypothalamus also plays vital roles in controlling metabolism, blood pressure, circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle), blood sugar, and perception of pleasure and pain. Through the release of certain hormones, it acts directly on the pituitary gland and thyroid. As part of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis (see Role of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis), it plays a critical role in the body’s response to stress and cortisol production.



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