Reasons to See an Endocrinologist
Endocrine glands are present in every part of your body to regulate hormones and help coordinate and control the activities that go on within the body, such as growth, mood, metabolism, reproduction, and the like. There are over 50 hormones in the body, and the correct functioning of each of the hormones means the body is at an optimum level. Due to the complexity of the roles hormones play in the human body, we require a specialist to help us manage situations when issues arise. This is where the role of an endocrinologist comes into play. Endocrinologists deal with the hormones. Their job is to diagnose and treat health conditions linked with the body’s hormones, glands, and other related issues. They can help tackle hormone imbalances and endocrine gland issues with the aim of making your body feel better.
What do the Endocrinologists do?
As stated above, endocrinologists’ area of specialization is to treat complications in the endocrine system and the structure of glands producing hormones in your body. They are qualified to diagnose and treat cases like diabetes, thyroid diseases, osteoporosis, infertility, cancers, growth issues, metabolic disorders, and disorders in the hormone-producing adrenal glands and pituitary glands. Conditions and diseases that surface in other parts of the body can complicate the endocrine system, especially when they are not working properly. This might cause unforeseen damages in the long run, and collaboration between your doctor and endocrinologist will be required to solve the issue.
Education Level and Training involved
Endocrinology is a versed part of internal medicine. The medical school follows four years in college. After that, they will spend an additional six years of training specializing in endocrinology. This will qualify them to get a certification in internal medicine and then get another one in endocrinology-board certified. This makes them highly revered in the medical world as per the number of years spent in gathering knowledge. They have been well equipped with sufficient techniques to diagnose and treat internal conditions, especially endocrine disorders.
A highlight of the processes involved on an average:
- Four years in medical school
- Three-year residency in internal medicine
- Two to three-year fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism
- Exam to become board certified in internal medicine.
- Additional Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism exam and certification
What awaits you at the Endocrinologist’s?
Endocrinologists provide consultations in settings where patients do not require surgery. Although many issues that arise with the hormonal glands are often chronic, they do not require surgery. At any suspicion of hormonal problem as discovered by your primary doctor, you will be referred to an endocrinologist. You will be asked some questions regarding your ailment as the first process, to collect information about your health habits, symptoms, other medical conditions, medications, and family history of hormone-related problems. After this, they will assess and compare your medical records and perform examinations on your body, including physical exams, heart rate, checking your pulse, and blood pressure. They will also assess parts of your body that include the skin, hair, mouth, and teeth to check the influence of the hormones in those areas. Additionally, they may collect urine and blood samples for further examinations like urinalysis, biopsy, or if necessary, perform an ultrasound or imaging tests like MRI scans and computed tomography.
After a proper diagnosis, a treatment plan will be designed for you either personally or in association with your doctor to proffer a solution to the problem, which might involve paying a regular visit to the endocrinologist. This might be for a short time or otherwise. This is a necessary process to manage the situation better and to avoid further complications of the symptoms.
What an Endocrinologist is worth?
You might ponder why you need to visit an endocrinologist as suggested by your doctor concerning your diagnosis, especially in chronic hormonal conditions like diabetes or thyroid disease, thinking that it is just a way of extorting you. It’s not! A doctor and an endocrinologist have their different needs at different times. Here are the reasons why you need an endocrinologist to take care of your diagnosis:
- They have an area of specialization- An endocrinologist is versed with the latest and specific treatments for different hormonal conditions. It is what he specializes in; it is what he has been drilled in. This is why when conventional treatments fail; they are the ones to go to. While most general practitioners are often right with their diagnosis but a specialist’s help is employed because of their specialty.
- They are there to help everybody including the Non-Traditional patients- Different situations call for different methods of approach. A patient might respond well to treatment using oral or injected medication or otherwise in even extreme cases. This sort of treatment does not have much negative impact on their daily routine. But in some patients, despite following the laid protocol holistically, they still encounter problems one way or the other. The mixed results beg for the interference of an endocrinologist to help explore all possibilities.
Cases that have to do with genetics are often tricky to combat, like cystic fibrosis that affects how they react to different treatments. Thus, proper care and dedication are needed by such patients. Although they are the ones that need their help the most for the treatment of hormonal conditions, ignorance will prevent traditional-path patients from truly appreciating the worth of endocrinologists. Those that do not follow the traditional-path know their importance.
- They know what treatment is in vogue- Endocrinologists are vastly knowledgeable and updated because their world requires them to be conversant with patients’ latest treatments. The world is constantly evolving, raising the benchmark almost every time. This makes it easy for the patients that use the endocrinologists. They can gain easy access to the latest treatments and applications as they unfold.
- They collaborate with your primary care Doctor for the betterment of your health- One’s jobs does not disturb the other. Rather, they work hand-in-hand to the benefit of their patients. Your health is in good hands with the two of them only that you allow yourself to be on the safer side of things when you employ the services of an endocrinologist. Your health is of utmost concern to you, and that is why diagnosis related to hormonal disease should be made by specialists.
Reasons to See an Endocrinologist
An endocrinologist can attend to patients in an outpatient setting or consult them at home as the situation warrants. Patients order for the services of endocrinologists for different reasons that have to do with underlying hormone-related disorder. When your doctor’s diagnosis is past his jurisdiction, the next step he takes is to refer you to a specialist, especially with concerns about the following:
Osteoporosis is a condition that involves the bones. The patient will have a low bone mass and also a declining bone structure as its characteristics. The bones from the hip down become feeble and susceptible to fracture. However, it’s a different entirely from osteoarthritis. It is a very silent killer when not properly managed because the symptoms are subtle and misleading. And unless there’s a fracture, the victim mightn’t be aware of what has happened to him. An endocrinologist will diagnose and do the required screening and prescribe the best, safe, and effective treatment plan to prevent and reduce fracture risk.
The thyroid has its location at the front of the neck and is butterfly-shaped. It has two hormones -T4 and T3 present. The thyroid hormone can affect almost every organ in the body, including the brain, heart, gastrointestinal system, and bone, and could have a devastating effect. This condition can be caused by low (hypothyroidism) or high thyroid level (hyperthyroidism). The common causes of hypothyroidism range from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis to toxic adenoma. Other causes include Graves’ disease and toxic multinodular goiter. Endocrinologists can diagnose and manage the disorder and other related conditions like the thyroid gland’s irregular structure, such as thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.
3. Diabetes mellitus
One of the most common endocrine disorders in the world is diabetes. Diabetes can be grouped into three categories- type 1, type 2, and gestational. In 2018, over 10% of the United State’s population had diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes has the highest account between 90%–95% of all diabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels occur because of the lack of proper insulin supply by the pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes occurs due to the activation of autoimmune destruction. It happens because the body destroys the available insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving the body insulin-deficient. To treat this deficiency, insulin supply via injections or an insulin pump is required.
Gestational diabetes is the kind of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. An examination is done by obstetrician/gynecologists (Ob/gyns) between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy to check for gestational diabetes.
4. Calcium level
Calcium serves important functions other than its presence in bones. It is one of the most important minerals necessary for existence. Hypercalcemia deals with the presence of calcium in the blood, often elevated. However, for calcium level regulation, the Parathyroid glands secret parathyroid hormone tightly to do the job. The parathyroid glands are four and are located beside the thyroid gland.
To treat hypercalcemia, you first have to know the cause of an elevated calcium level as there can be underlying causes that can influence other parts. The causes of hypercalcemia include too much of the parathyroid hormone level (primary hyperparathyroidism), vitamin D intoxication, certain cancers, medications.
5. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome affects reproductive-aged women at a percentage between 8% and 13%. The causes can be hard to determine, but studies suggest that likely causes include altered hormone action, insulin resistance, and abnormal selection of a dominant follicle in the ovaries.
For the diagnosis of PCOS to take place, some criteria must be met, which will be listed below:
1. Unstable or absent menstrual periods
2. Elevated male sex hormone determined by physical examination or blood test
3. Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound
6. Male hypogonadism
Male hypogonadism is the failure of the testes to produce the normal concentration of testosterone. It is now common amongst men. This has increased the number of hospitals and products that counters the disorder. It can be obvious and symptoms can include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased spontaneous erections, low sperm count, and poor concentration. Inappropriate treatment can cause more damages that will eventually cause more harm than good to the body.
The adrenal glands are two in number and pyramidal in shape. Each one is located above the kidney, and the hormones they produce are essential for human survival. It is the gland that secrets hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone essential for existence. But an abnormal level of the steroid hormones causes a disorder. Insufficient cortisol (adrenal insufficiency), excess cortisol (Cushing syndrome), and excess aldosterone (hyperaldosteronism) can be damaging to our body system. These problems can be detected through CT and MRI scans and evaluated by an endocrinologist for the right diagnosis.
Obesity comes as a surprise on the list. This is because of a general misconception; that obesity happens due to lack of discipline or poor decision-making. However, obesity influences to give room for the development of other health issues making it a dangerous customer. Obesity’s treatment can last till death, and its active treatment involves nutrition, physical activity, medications, and surgery.
Conclusion: Reasons to See an Endocrinologist
One good thing that will serve you well, in the long run, is to include an endocrinologist in your healthcare team, either you are suffering from an endocrine disorder or not. You can’t predict the future, by having an endocrinologist; you get to familiarize yourself with him eliminating the phobia associated. This way, you can receive an accurate diagnosis and a suitable treatment plan. Conditions might not be as complicated as you think. An endocrinologist could be your best bet and could offer the solution you have been seeking for.