What is an Endocrinologist?

May. 10, 2017

Virtually every critical human function – including sleep, metabolism, sexual reproduction, growth, and development – are regulated by hormones.

Hormones are produced by a network of glands that make up the endocrine system, which include the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, parathyroid, and ovaries and testicles. When hormone production is too high or too low, or they can't be processed properly by the body, it can lead to illnesses and medical conditions like hypothyroidism, diabetes and infertility.

An endocrinologist is an internal medicine doctor who specializes in treating hormone disorders and problems of the endocrine system. Endocrinologists typically focus on one or two areas, such as reproductive health and diabetes.

Conditions treated by an endocrinologist

Because virtually every organ and vital biological process in the body depends on the hormonal output of a specific gland, there are a number of conditions and disorders that can develop throughout the body when hormone production malfunctions or is disrupted.

Some of the most common conditions treated by an endocrinologist include the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Calcium and vitamin D deficiency
  • Autoimmune disease of the thyroid
  • Addison's Disease
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Goiter
  • Hormone deficiencies
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Thyroid and endocrine cancer
  • Menopause
  • Infertility
  • Hypertension
  • Growth problems

Endocrinologists work together with your primary care provider to design the best treatment and disease management strategy for your condition. Endocrinologists may recommend treatments like hormone replacement therapy and insulin therapy, as well as nutritional and diabetes counseling services.

Signs that you may need to see an endocrinologist

Symptoms of endocrine disorders vary depending on the type of disorder and the individual. Symptoms of diabetes mellitus, the most common disease of the endocrine system, include the following:

  • Unexplained weight gain/loss
  • Feeling excessively thirsty and/or hungry
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in vision

Other symptoms of a potential endocrine disorder include the following:

  • Menstrual changes/problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Appetite loss
  • Mood changes
  • Skin discolorations
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Infertility

Paris Community Hospital Family/Medical Center has a full-time endocrinologist on staff. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral if you believe you need to see an endocrinologist. For more information about endocrinology services at PCH/FMC, visit Endocrinology or call 217-466-4689.

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