An endocrinologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the endocrine system of the human body. This system comprises the endocrine glands, which secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. These glands are also known as ductless glands, due to their direct secretion and not through a duct.
The hormones are responsible for regulating the body's growth, metabolism, sexual development, and various other vital bodily functions that are required for the healthy functioning of the human body. Endocrinology is the branch of medical science that is associated with the study of this system.
Medical practitioners who specialize in endocrinology help determine the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the disorders of the endocrine glands and metabolic disorders.
The human body can get affected by a myriad of endocrine disorders, common ones being pancreas problems, thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, etc.), adrenal gland problems, fluctuations in the levels of lipids, cancers of the endocrine glands, etc.
The task of an endocrinologist is to understand the symptoms of all such diseases, diagnose them at the right time, and suggest the treatment options.
The professional would conduct a physical examination, study the patient's symptoms, medical history, family history, and conduct a series of laboratory tests to confirm the disorder. After the underlying disorder is diagnosed, he/she would recommend the required medication, the type of diet, and measures for basic care at home.
The treatment plan, however, depends upon the type of the gland that is affected. What is also important to know is the fact that not all of these professionals practice to treat patients. Some are involved in study and research, while some do the job of teaching the important aspects of endocrinology to aspiring students following the same career.
Types of Endocrinologists
The testes and ovaries are also considered to be among the endocrine glands of males and females respectively. A reproductive endocrinologist is one who specializes with examining and treating disorders related with the reproductive organs. For instance, many couples who face fertility issues, usually consult them.
A pediatric endocrinologist deals with endocrine disorders in children. Common endocrine disorders in children which are treated by this medical professional include diabetes, hormonal disorders, diseases related to inter-sexual characteristics, hypoglycemia, growth disorders, problems related to adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands in children.
Other professionals who practice endocrinology include clinical endocrinologist and neuroendocrinologist. The work of the former is related with research and treatment of patients who suffer from conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, etc.
While the latter deals with conditions which are not only related to the endocrine glands, but also to the nervous system. Common conditions which are dealt with include pituitary glands disorders, disorders associated with mood changes, diseases of the thyroid gland, etc.
An endocrinologist must be consulted on the occurrence of symptoms which may indicate the development of an endocrine disorder. Common disorders include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, obesity, infertility, rickets, disorders of the pituitary gland, growth disorders in children, hypertension (high blood pressure), abnormal lipid levels, etc.
When seen from the perspective of career, their salary range is pretty decent. However, the job does not come easy, as the endocrine system is one of the most complex systems of the human body. So anything amiss in the working of this system is looked after by this very medical professional, and dealt with accordingly.