What is an Endocrinologist?
An endocrinologist is a trained physician who has completed basic training in internal medicine, and who has gone on to specialize in diagnosing conditions and diseases related to the glands and hormones. Hormones are produced by glands and sent into the bloodstream to the various tissues in the body, sending signals to those tissues to tell them what they are supposed to do. When the glands do not produce the right amount of hormones, diseases develop that can affect many aspects of a person's life.
Restoring the normal balance of hormones is the overall goal of treatment, and while primary care doctors know a lot about the human body, for conditions and diseases directly related to glands and hormones they will typically send a patient to an endocrinologist.
What does an Endocrinologist do?
The study of endocrinology involves the body's various glands and hormones; in particular their actions and disorders. The glands that make up the endocrine system include the pituitary, thyroid, pineal, hypothalamus, thymus, adrenals, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries and testes.
The hormones that are released by the glands help to control activities in the body, such as a person's metabolism, food absorption and utilization, growth and development, and reproduction. These hormones also control the way an organism responds to their surroundings, and aide by supplying adequate energy for a variety of functions.
Endocrinologists know how to diagnose the diseases of the endocrine glands, and also how to treat them. Their goal is to restore hormonal balance in the body. They also treat physiological disorders such as poor metabolism, digestion or blood circulation since hormonal imbalances can result from organs outside of the endocrine system (such as the brain, heart and kidneys).
Some conditions treated by endocrinologists include:
- Metabolic disorders
- Lack of growth
- Excessive growth
- Pediatric endocrine diseases
- Osteoporosis and vitamin D deficiency
- Thyroid diseases
- Cancers of the endocrine glands
- Over- or under-production of hormones
- High blood cholesterol or lipid abnormalities
- Hypertension due to endocrine dysfunctions
- Precocious puberty
What is the workplace of an Endocrinologist like?
Endocrinologists can work in a variety of settings, such as private practices or hospital settings, teaching hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, or public research organizations. For those interested in the business aspect of medicine, one could direct or manage medical facilities that treat patients.
Endocrinologists are also known as: