An endocrinologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of endocrine glands and the hormones they produce. Endocrine diseases are caused by a hormonal imbalance (excess or deficiency) or a malfunctioning gland. Endocrine glands carry out complex tasks affecting the entire body. The pancreas, thyroid, parathyroids, ovaries and testes, adrenals, and pituitary gland are all endocrine glands.
Endocrinologists can treat both common and uncommon endocrine illnesses. Here are five reasons why you should see an endocrinologist.
1. Diabetes mellitus
In the United States, diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder. Diabetes affected 34.2 million Americans in 2018, accounting for 10.5% of the population. Diabetes is divided into three types.
Approximately 1.6 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes type 2 accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes. Insulin resistance and the pancreas’s inability to produce enough insulin induce high blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s elimination of its insulin-producing pancreatic cells. In medical words, this is known as autoimmune destruction. This results in a full insulin deficit. As part of the treatment, patients must take insulin by injections or an insulin pump.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Obstetricians/gynecologists (Ob/gyns) screen women for gestational diabetes during 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. The screening strategies are described at the bottom of this page.
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck and is shaped like a butterfly. It is responsible for the production of the hormones T4 and (to a lesser extent) T3. Thyroid hormone has an impact on almost every organ in the body, including the brain, heart, gastrointestinal system, and bone.
Thyroid gland illnesses include hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels) and hyperthyroidism (high thyroid levels). The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Graves’ disease, toxic multinodular goiter, toxic adenoma, and other less prevalent causes can all lead to hyperthyroidism.
Endocrinologists can also identify and treat thyroid-related illnesses such as thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.
Some may be surprised to find obesity here. Obesity is NOT caused by a lack of discipline or poor eating habits. Obesity is a complex, chronic disease that increases the likelihood of developing other diseases and health problems.
Obesity, like other chronic disorders, necessitates lifetime therapy. Obesity treatment options include diet, exercise, medications, and/or surgery. A board-certified obesity medicine doctor can perform a comprehensive medical evaluation and work with you to build a personalized weight loss plan.
4. Adrenal Glands
The adrenal glands are divided into two pyramid or crescent-shaped glands. One on top of each kidney. They create vital steroid hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone.
Adrenal gland disorders include abnormal amounts of the steroid hormones listed above. Too little cortisol (adrenal insufficiency), too much cortisol (Cushing syndrome), and too much aldosterone (hyperaldosteronism) are examples.
Adrenal masses are occasionally discovered during CT and MRI studies. These lumps, known as adrenal incidentalomas, necessitate a comprehensive examination by an endocrinologist.
Calcium is a mineral that is required for life. Most people identify it with bones, which are the body’s principal calcium storage place. Calcium has significant roles outside of the bone.
Hypercalcemia is characterized by an increased calcium level in the blood. Calcium in the blood is strictly regulated by parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid hormone is produced by the parathyroid glands. The thyroid gland is surrounded by four tiny glands known as parathyroid glands.
It is critical to first identify the source of an increased calcium level. Hypercalcemia can be caused by an abnormally raised parathyroid hormone level (primary hyperparathyroidism), some malignancies, medicines, or vitamin D deficiency. Treatment differs depending on the underlying cause.
This is not an exhaustive list. More reasons to consult an endocrinologist can be found on our services page. If you require the services of an endocrinologist, schedule a consultation to discuss how they can help you with a plan for your specific needs.