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What is Endocrinology? Meaning, diseases covered and more

  • Posted on- Mar 27, 2015
  • 2339 Views

Endocrinology is that branch of medical science which focuses on the endocrine system along with diagnoses and treatment of disorders related to hormones. It is concerned with the development of various human functions such as respiration, sensory perception, reproduction, excretion, stress, mood, movements, lactation and much more. Study of tissues that secrete hormones are also covered under endocrinology.

A human endocrine system contains various glands that produce and secrete hormones. These glands control body’s sexual development, growth, metabolism and other functions. Below is a list of glands in a human body:

Endocrinologists are specially trained medical professionals who diagnose and treat disorders related to these glands. General practitioners have in-depth knowledge of the human body but when it comes to glands they usually refer patients to endocrinologists. 

Endocrinologists treat patients suffering from hormonal imbalances that happen due to lack of proper functioning of glands. The prime objective of an endocrinologist is to restore normality of hormones in a human body. There are a slew of diseases that fall under the scope of an endocrinologist:

Among above mentioned diseases, thyroid disease is extremely common which is caused by functional issue with the thyroid gland. It is an essential organ for producing thyroid hormones that help maintain metabolism in the body. The gland is located below the Adam’s apple. Thyroid disease can lead to inflammation of the thyroid gland which can be very discomforting to the eye. Problems such as difficulty in swallowing and pain in the neck are symptoms of thyroid disease.

Specific thyroid conditions
  1. Hypothalamus: It results when thyroid gland produces inadequate amount of thyroid hormone. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, fluid retention, dry skin, constipation, muscle or joint pain, depression, extended menstrual bleeding in women.  
  2. Hyperthyroidism: It is a condition where thyroid gland produces excess amount of thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is less common than hypothyroidism. Symptoms include nervousness, increased sweating, inability to concentrate, tremor, increased bowel movements, fast heart rate and more. 
  3. Goiter: Goiter means enlargement of the thyroid gland, regardless of the cause. It may be associated with hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism or normal thyroid function.
  4. Thyroid Nodules: Nodules are lumps formed within the thyroid gland. It can be caused by benign tumors, cysts or less common thyroid cancer. Nodules can be one or many and develop in different shapes.  
  5. Thyroid Cancer: Thyroid cancer is common among adult women than men. There are different types of thyroid cancer which totally depends on the specific cell type within the thyroid gland, that has become cancerous.

A timely consultation with an endocrinologist can save the day for you. It is wise to go for experienced medical professionals, when issues related to hormones occur.