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Endocrinology Specialist Doctor
Endocrinologist (Endocrine Specialist Doctor)
An endocrine specialist doctor has the ability to treat health problems related to the endocrine system, which is the system where hormones are produced and regulated through the organs and glands of the human body. Meanwhile, endocrinology is a branch of medicine that studies the endocrine system and the organs involved in it, as well as the activities and behaviors that are also influenced by the endocrine system.
The endocrine system consists of several glands that are capable of producing hormones for the body such as the thyroid gland, pancreas gland, adrenal gland, pituitary gland, and glands in the reproductive organs. The hormones produced by these glands serve as the body’s chemical messengers and will stimulate cells and tissues to work.
Many people are not familiar with the role of an endocrinologist. In fact, endocrinologists play an important role in handling health cases related to the production and secretion of hormones which greatly impact the body’s metabolism. There are various factors that can interfere with one’s hormonal balance in the body.
For example, if the pancreas is not able to produce insulin, the storage process and circulation of blood sugar/glucose will be disrupted. Insulin disruption in a person can affect the condition of the body as the spread of glucose that supplies energy to the body is blocked. When this condition occurs, it requires treatment by an endocrinologist to find out the causes behind the insulin disruption.
About the Endocrine System
The role of the endocrine system is highly vital to the human body as it regulates the work of nearly all cells, organs and functions in the body through the coordination of chemical compounds along with hormones produced by the glands in the system. It is not surprising that the processes of the endocrine system involves a lot of the nervous system and forms the neuroendocrine system, to support the body’s activities.
The glands and hormones present in the endocrine system play an essential part in serving as a foundation. The endocrine system influences the body’s resistance and workability to be more effective. Each hormone produced by various glands in the endocrine system specifically regulates the work of certain organs or cells. These hormones contain certain chemical compounds that send information and orders from and to one cell to another that circulate through the bloodstream.
The following are the various glands that make up the endocrine system:
- Pituitary gland, this gland has a very important role in the endocrine system because it produces hormones that regulate the work of the other glands in this system. The pituitary gland also produces the hormone prolactin, which is important for lactation of women, as well as the luteinizing hormone, which regulates estrogen levels in women and testosterone in men.
- Thyroid gland, a gland that produces the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). This hormone functions to control the rate of energy burning from food substances in the body. The thyroid gland also has parafollicular cells that produce the hormone calcitonin, a hormone that helps with bone-forming
- Parathyroid gland, this gland produces the parathyroid hormone which functions to regulate the amount of calcium in the blood. In order to function optimally, the parathyroid hormone works together with the hormone calcitonin that comes from the thyroid gland.
- Adrenal gland, this gland consists of two parts, the cortex and medulla. The cortex in the adrenal glands produces corticosteroid hormones which play an important role in regulating fluid and salt levels to remain balanced in the body. In addition, corticosteroid hormones also play a role in regulating the body’s metabolism, maintaining the immune system, regulating sexual function, and regulating the body’s response when under pressure / stress. Meanwhile, the medulla in the adrenal glands produces the hormone epinephrine / adrenaline, which affects the increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
- Pancreas gland, this gland produces glucagon and insulin which functions to regulate blood sugar levels and regulate energy storage in the body.
- Reproductive gland (gonad), this gland produce hormones that are important for the reproductive process. In men, the reproductive glands are known as testes which produce the hormone testosterone and are located in the scrotum. In women, the reproductive glands are known as the ovaries and produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are located in the pelvic cavity.
Diseases Treated by an Endocrinologist
Given that the endocrine system and the hormones produced affect various body activities, treatment from an endocrinologist is needed if there is a health problem that affects the glands in the endocrine system. The disorder that occurs is usually an indication of a hormonal imbalance, which is why treatment is required to return the hormones to normal.
There are several diseases or health problems in the endocrine system that require direct treatment from an endocrinologist, namely:
- Diabetes, a disease caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. This disease can arise when the insulin hormone produced by the pancreas gland is not balanced since the insulin hormone regulates glucose levels in the body. A common disorder encountered by endocrinologists is diabetes mellitus, which occurs because the insulin hormone does not work optimally. This disease is characterized by symptoms such as experiencing frequent thirst and hunger, fatigue, increased urination urge, drastic weight gain or loss, and visual disturbances.
- Acromegaly, a hormonal disorder that occurs due to excess growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland, resulting in abnormal growth in certain parts of the body. Acromegaly is characterized by symptoms such as increased size of the body parts like the nose, lips, tongue, hands or feet; changes in the facial bone structure; pain in the joints and body; weakness; headaches; a deepened voice; and skin-thickening.
- Addison’s disease, a disease that occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged and causes cortisone and aldosterone in the body to decrease. This disease is characterized by symptoms such as depression, headaches, diarrhea, decreased appetite, skin hyperpigmentation, hypoglycemia, menstrual disorders, increased appetite for salt, nausea.
- Cushing’s syndrome, a disease that occurs when the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. This disease is characterized by the presence of fat between the shoulders (buffalo hump), osteoporosis, hyperglycemia, constant thirst, skin discoloration, hypertension, obesity in the upper body, round face, and irritability.
- Graves’ disease, a disease that includes hyperthyroidism or high thyroid hormones in the body. Symptoms of this disease include bulging eyes, feeling tired, enlarged thyroid gland, diarrhoea, difficulty sleeping, irregular heartbeat, tremors, irritability, heat intolerance, and thickening of the skin.
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a disease that occurs due to low thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) because it is attacked by the immune system. Some of the symptoms that may appear include constipation, fatigue, enlarged thyroid gland, menstrual disorders, intolerance to cold, easy hair loss and dryness, slow heart rate, weight gain.
- Growth and developmental disorders, this disorder is usually treated by paediatric endocrinologists.
- Metabolic disorders.
- Weight problems.
Medical Procedures an Endocrinologist Can Perform
An endocrinologist is able to provide medical treatment for cases or diseases that are generally caused by hormonal disorders. An endocrinologist, like any other specialist doctor, will make a diagnosis based on the tests conducted. An endocrinologist will generally trace the patient’s and family’s medical history, do a physical examination, and perform further examinations such as blood tests and urine tests to determine hormone levels in the body.
The traced hormones from the follow-up test results will be further examined to determine if there are any disorders in the endocrine system. If the disorder is found, the doctor will provide the appropriate treatment for the patient.
When to See an Endocrinologist?
Hormones and glands disorders in the endocrine system should be taken seriously, especially if you start to experience significant changes in your body. You are advised to see an endocrinologist immediately if you have any of the following conditions:
- Have congenital disease or genetic defect that can affect hormone levels in the body.
- Live an unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking, consuming alcohol, and frequently consuming fast food.
- Experience several symptoms that indicate imbalanced hormones such as hair loss, fatigue, fatigue, infertility, difficulty regulating body temperature, obesity.
- Have a disease that affects the endocrine system such as cancer of certain glands.
- Changes in cognitive and behavioral aspects, experiencing depression, difficulty sleeping, and changes in appetite.
- Dry skin
- Frequent tingling in the feet and hands.
- Weight change
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