Endocrinology is an area of study concerning the endocrine system, which is a complex system of glands and hormones. The endocrine glands include the thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes, pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenals. These glands secrete hormones, which play an essential role in an array of activities that are important to proper body function. Sometimes, an individual’s glands and hormones do not function properly, and this can lead to a variety of health problems. Fortunately, there are specialty doctors that are trained to diagnose and treat an array of diseases that affect an individual’s glands and hormone secretions. These specialty doctors are called endocrinologists, and they play vital roles in their communities. Provided below is a list of the top five reasons to visit an endocrinologist.
The Top Five Reasons to Visit an Endocrinologist
1. Thyroid Conditions: Two common thyroid conditions that individuals suffer from are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Both of these conditions occur when the thyroid gland is not functioning properly. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is underactive, which means that it is not producing enough thyroid hormone. Individuals who acquire hypothyroidism often experience symptoms such as cold intolerance, extreme fatigue, poor muscle strength, and hair loss.
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, occurs when the thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include unexplained weight loss, bulging eyes, and sweating. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be treated and managed by endocrinologists, who provide individuals with treatment, counseling, and support services for these conditions.
2. Diabetes: Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the United States today. It occurs when the pancreas is either not producing any insulin, the pancreas is producing an insufficient amount of insulin, or the pancreas is producing insulin that is not being used properly by the body. Insulin is essential to proper blood sugar control. Individuals who suffer from diabetes often experience problems with their eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves.
Proper treatment and management of this disease by an endocrinologist is absolutely essential. Endocrinologists can provide individuals who are suffering from diabetes with insulin treatment, support, and disease management services.
3. Infertility: Infertility is a condition in which an individual or couple is unable to conceive children. Surprisingly, about 10 percent of American couples suffer from infertility. There are many causes of infertility, which include reproductive problems, exposure to environmental toxins, and hormone imbalances. Endocrinologists can treat individuals who are suffering from infertility by providing them with reproductive disorder assessments and treatments, hormone therapy treatments, and support services.
4. Bone Disorders: Osteomalacia and osteoporosis are two of the most common bone disorders that are diagnosed and treated by endocrinologists. Osteomalacia occurs when the bones soften. Osteoporosis, on the other hand, occurs when the bones weaken.
These conditions often occur when the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, are not being produced properly. Endocrinologists can provide individuals with counseling, treatment, and support services for both of these conditions.
5. Obesity: This condition occurs when an individual has too much body fat. Although obesity can be related to a poor diet and a lack of activity, disorders of the thyroid, pituitary, ovaries, and adrenals can all cause obesity as well. Endocrinologists can provide individuals who are suffering from obesity with hormone therapy, counseling, and support services.
Peter Wendt is a freelance writer and researcher from Austin, TX. He independently studies the endocrine system and enjoys sharing his medical knowledge with his readers.