Endocrinology deals with hormones. Hormones are chemicals that control the function of cells or organs. In the human body, hormones are produced by endocrine glands and transported through the bloodstream to their target cells. Hormones control many functions such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction.
Endocrinology deals with disorders related to these hormones, including diabetes, thyroid disease, adrenal diseases, and disorders of sexual development (DSD) such as Klinefelter syndrome.
What is a Hormone?
A hormone refers to a chemical messenger that regulates the body. Hormones are released by endocrine glands, which are found throughout your body. This includes the brain, pancreas, and pituitary gland. Hormones travel through the bloodstream and tell target organs what to do. For example, they can control blood pressure or metabolism. The main endocrine organs are:
- Pituitary gland
- Adrenal cortex
- Adrenal medulla
- Thyroid gland
- Endocrinologists manage thyroid cancer and diabetes
What is the Role of an Endocrinologist?
Endocrinologist thyroid specialist specializes in the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands that release hormones and chemicals that control certain functions in the body. Hormones regulate metabolism, growth and development, reproduction, and other important body processes. Some examples of hormones include thyroid hormone insulin, growth hormone, melatonin, and sex hormones such as estrogen or testosterone.
Hormones are produced by specific organs, such as the pituitary gland at the base of your brain, which releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). When TSH levels rise above normal, you have hyperthyroidism -too much thyroid hormone. Conversely, low levels imply hypothyroidism -insufficient production.
Endocrinologists can manage this condition along with diabetes mellitus type 1 & 2, which affect millions worldwide. This happens due to genetic predisposition or lifestyle factors such as obesity or lack of exercise, leading to type 2 diabetes mellitus, which may lead to blindness if untreated over time.
Treats metabolic disorders
Endocrinology also deals with metabolic disorders like osteoporosis or metabolic syndrome, where there is excess weight around the waistline due to excessive food intake combined with insufficient physical activity leading to high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, etcetera.
In addition to its use for treating hormone disorders, endocrinology has been very successful in the field of fertility treatments. Some patients need to restore their fertility by restoring their hormonal balance. For example, some men may have reduced fertility because they produce too little testosterone. These men can restore their fertility without negative side effects through carefully regulated hormone replacement therapy.
The pituitary gland and adrenal glands are also areas of concern
Endocrinologists can also manage pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid cancers. For example, they treat patients with pituitary gland disorders, such as a pituitary tumor or prolactinoma. This tumor of the pituitary gland produces large amounts of prolactin. They also treat primary hyperparathyroidism, which is increased production of parathyroid hormone by one or more parathyroid glands and hypothyroidism. The latter means reduced secretion of triiodothyronine and thyroxine by the thyroid gland.
Some endocrinologists specialize in medical subspecialties like diabetes and obesity or metabolic syndrome.
Endocrinologists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions affecting the hormones in your body. That means they can help you manage symptoms like fatigue, depression, weight gain, loss of sex drive, and much more.
Finally, endocrinology focuses on the human endocrine system, which is the system in charge of secreting hormones into the bloodstream. While many people mistakenly believe that hormones are responsible only for reproductive functions, they are essential to almost every process in our bodies.