Hypothalamus is an integral part of the substance of the brain that controls a number of physical functions.
It regulates variety of hormonal functions by action on the pituitary gland.
It exerts control over the blood vessels and glands of the body via the autonomic nervous system.
Hypothalamus is situated below the thalamus. Thalamus is a huge collection of nuclei in the centre of the cerebral hemispheres. Hypothalamus forms part of the walls and floor of the central chamber of the cerebral ventricles, called third ventricle.
Your body’s biological clock is present in your hypothalamus. The biological clock is the circadian rhythm that changes your mental and physical characteristics according to whether it is day or night.
Your hypothalamus needs natural daylight in order to function properly. When you have chronic fatigue syndrome, you will not get much daylight.
Hypothalamus gland is the master gland of your body. It regulates metabolism and physiological hunger. It influences food intake, weight regulation, fluid intake and balance, thirst, body heat, sexual behavior, and sleep cycle.
Hypothalamus receives many sensory inputs which include information from major senses such as taste and cell receptors. Different nerve cell nuclei are present in hypothalamus.
Suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) receives axons directly from the optic nerve, which carries information from the eye, and is used to regulate sleep and other body rhythms.
The SCN controls pathway to pineal gland, which plays a part in the biological clock by secreting melatonin.
It manages all endocrine hormonal levels, sensory processing and organizing body metabolism as well as ingestive behaviors. If any fear or excitement occurs, it causes signals to travel to the hypothalamus which triggers a rapid heartbeat, faster breathing, pupils widening and increased flow of blood.
Hypothalamus is a complex region and even small nuclei, with in it are involved in many different functions. The hypothalamus co-ordinates many seasonal and circadian rhythms, complex patterns of neuroendocrine outputs, complex homeostatic mechanisms and many important stereotyped behaviors.
It responds to many different signals, some of which are generated externally and some internally. The hypothalamus is responsible to daylength and photoperiod for generating seasonal and circadian rhythms. It is responsible to neurally transmitted information arising in particular from stomach, heart and the reproductive tract.
Hypothalamus damage can result from surgery, trauma such as road accident or stroke, degeneration owing to old age or disease and tumour. The result of the damage can vary and depend on the area of the hypothalamus involved.
When hypothalamus is not working properly, wrong neuro-signals are generated and wrong neuro-messages are received, resulting in an inaccurate integration of all your sensory input. It leads to faulty perceptions which are very subtle but nonetheless powerful, making you feel empty, deprived and emotionally unsatisfied.
Hypothalamus disorder leads to depression, hyperactivity, disturbances in brain, and abnormal responses to stress.
Other symptoms of hypothalamus disorder include sexual abnormalities, obesity, loss of appetite, temperature regulation disorders, sleep disorders, psychic disturbances and disruption of circadian rhythms.