About Endocrinologist Speciality
An endocrinologist is a trained medical professional who diagnoses and treats diseases related to the endocrine system which causes hormonal imbalance in men, women and children. Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, acromegaly, high blood sugar, low blood sugar, obesity, dwarfism, gigantism, hypopituitarism, adrenal gland disorder, goiter, grave’s disease are some of the medical conditions that an endocrinologist provides treatment for.
In order to become a certified endocrinologist, one must complete graduation from a medical college followed by 4-year medical program followed by a 3-4 years of residency program and internship. During residency program, endocrinologists are trained in the areas of internal medicine, obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics etc. After that, endocrinologists need to complete a fellowship for 2 or 3 years. After completing fellowship, endocrinologists opt to treat certain metabolic disorders or work in general endocrinology or research.
Endocrinologists usually work with doctors from other specialities such as cardiology, oncology or practice privately and hospitals.
Medical conditions treated by an endocrinologist
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes is generally cased by heredity or certain viruses. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of Type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, bedwetting in children, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, mood changes, irritation, fatigue and weakness, blurred vision etc.
Treatment of Type 1 diabetes
Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves taking insulin, regularly monitoring blood sugar levels, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. An endocrinologist may ask patients to administer insulin through injections or through insulin pumps. He may also suggest taking statins to lower cholesterol levels.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes, is a medical condition in which the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of Type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes
Symptoms include feeling very thirsty, more than usual passing of urine, particularly at night, fatigue, tired, weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.
Treatment of Type 2 diabetes
An endocrinologist may prescribe metformin, sulfonylureas such as glyburide, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones, DPP-4 inhibitors such as sitagliptin, GLP-1 receptor agonists such as liraglutide, SGLT2 inhibitors such as canagliflozin along with injecting insulin.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. The condition can affect overall pregnancy progress and the foetus’ health. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of gestational diabetes.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
Symptoms include increased thirst, urinating more often than usual, a dry mouth followed by tiredness.
Treatment of gestational diabetes
An endocrinologist may suggest monitoring your blood sugar, healthy diet, regular physical activities, oral blood sugar control medication and close assessment of the foetus.
Acromegaly is a hormonal disease which occurs when the pituitary gland produces an excess amount of growth hormone in the body. This leads to excess bone organ growth. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of acromegaly.
Symptoms of acromegaly
Symptoms include enlarged bones in the face, feet, and hands, excessive hair growth in women, enlarged jaw or tongue, prominent brow, weight gain, painful joints that limit movement, spaces between the teeth, fatigue, horse voice, fatigue, profuse sweating, inability to sleep, muscle weakness etc.
Treatment of acromegaly
An endocrinologist may prescribe medications to regulate or block excess growth hormone production such as somatostatin analogs, GH receptor antagonists and dopamine agonists.
Addison's disease is a hormonal disease which occurs when the adrenal glands in our body produce inadequate amounts of some hormones like cortisol and aldosterone. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of Addison's disease.
Symptoms of Addison's disease
Symptoms include severe fatigue, weight loss, decreased appetite, hyperpigmentation, low blood pressure, fainting, salt craving, hypoglycaemia, abdominal pain, joint pain, depression, body hair loss or sexual dysfunction in women.
Treatment of Addison's disease
An endocrinologist may prescribe oral corticosteroids or corticosteroid injections. In severe cases, he may suggest intravenous injections of hydrocortisone, saline solution and dextrose.
Cushing's syndrome is a hormonal disease which occurs when there is a presence of high levels of the hormone cortisol in the body. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of Cushing's syndrome.
Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome
Symptoms include weight gain, purple stretch marks on the skin of the abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms, fragile skin, slow healing of cuts, acne, hirsutism and absent menstrual periods in women, erectile dysfunction in men, severe fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of emotional control etc.
Treatment of Cushing's syndrome
An endocrinologist may prescribe medicines to control excessive production of cortisol including ketoconazole, mitotane and metyrapone. Additionally, he may suggest reducing the use of corticosteroid medications.
Goiter refers to a swelling of the thyroid gland. A goiter occurs when there is a deficiency on iron in the body. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of goiter.
Symptoms of Goiter
Symptoms include visible swelling at the base of your neck, tight feeling in your throat, coughing, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing.
Treatment of Goiter
An endocrinologist may prescribe levothyroxine to replace the thyroid hormone along with using radioactive iodine to treat an overactive thyroid gland. In severe cases, he may recommend total or partial thyroidectomy.
Growth Hormone Deficiency
Growth hormone deficiency is a hormonal disease which occurs when the pituitary gland doesn’t produce sufficient amounts of growth hormone. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of growth hormone deficiency.
Symptoms of growth hormone deficiency
Symptoms include anxiety, depression, baldness in men, decrease in sexual function and interest, decreased muscle mass and strength, lack of memory, increased triglyceride levels, tiredness, heart problems, high bad cholesterol, insulin resistance, reduced bone density, delayed puberty and short height in children.
Treatment of growth hormone deficiency
An endocrinologist may prescribe injections of growth hormone (somatotropin) into the body. It stimulates growth and cell reproduction in the body.
Hyperglycaemia (High Blood Sugar)
Hyperglycaemia is a medical term used to describe high blood sugar. This condition occurs when the body has too little insulin. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hyperglycaemia.
Symptoms of hyperglycaemia
Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, fatigue, fruity-smelling breath, dry mouth, shortness of breath, weakness, confusion, abdominal pain etc.
Treatment of hyperglycaemia
An endocrinologist may prescribe administering insulin in the body along with fluids and electrolytes replacement.
Hypoglycaemia (Low Blood Sugar)
Hypoglycaemia is a medical term used to describe low blood sugar. This condition occurs when your blood sugar level is below 70 mg/dL. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hypoglycaemia.
Symptoms of hyperglycaemia
Symptoms include heart palpitations, fatigue, pale skin, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, hunger, irritability, tingling sensation around the mouth, crying out during sleep, blurred vision, loss of consciousness etc.
Treatment of hyperglycaemia
An endocrinologist may suggest fast-acting carbohydrates that are easily converted to sugar in the body to treat low blood sugar. Additionally, an endocrinologist may adjust the dose of your medications.
Hyperthyroidism is a hormonal disease in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
Symptoms include sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased appetite, anxiety and irritability, tremor, sweating, changes in menstrual patterns in females, increased sensitivity to heat, changes in bowel patterns, enlarged thyroid gland, enlarged thyroid gland etc.
Treatment of hyperthyroidism
An endocrinologist may prescribe radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers and in severe cases thyroidectomy surgical procedure.
Hypothyroidism is a hormonal disease in which the thyroid gland produces does not produce adequate hormones. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
Symptoms include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, hoarseness, muscle weakness, increased blood cholesterol level, muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, irregular menstrual periods in women etc.
Treatment of hypothyroidism
An endocrinologist may prescribe medication to replace the missing thyroid hormones such as levothyroxine. This medicine restores sufficient hormone levels.
Hypoparathyroidism is a hormonal disease in which the parathyroid glands in the neck don’t produce enough parathyroid hormone. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hypoparathyroidism.
Symptoms of hypoparathyroidism
Symptoms include muscle aches or cramps, tingling, burning, or numbness in the fingertips, toes, and lips, muscle spasms, especially around the mouth, patchy hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails, painful menstruation in women etc.
Treatment of hypoparathyroidism
An endocrinologist may prescribe oral calcium supplements and high doses of vitamin D along with suggesting eating a diet rich in calcium and low in phosphorus.
Hypogonadism is a hormonal disease in which the sex glands produce little or no sex hormones. Sex hormones control breast development in women, testicular development in men etc. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hypogonadism.
Symptoms of hypogonadism in females
Symptoms include lack of menstruation, absent breast growth, hot flashes, loss of body hair, absent sex drive, milky discharge from the breasts.
Symptoms of hypogonadism in males
Symptoms include loss of body hair, muscle loss, abnormal breast growth, reduced growth of penis and testicles, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, absent sex drive, difficulty concentrating.
Treatment of hypogonadism
An endocrinologist may prescribe testosterone injections in men and oestrogen therapy in women along with hormone replacement therapy.
Hyperparathyroidism is a hormonal disease in which there is excess production of parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream due to over-active parathyroid glands. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hyperparathyroidism.
Symptoms of hyperparathyroidism
Symptoms include osteoporosis, kidney stones, excessive urination, abdominal pain, tiring easily or weakness, forgetfulness, bone and joint pain, nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite etc.
Treatment of hyperparathyroidism
An endocrinologist may prescribe calcimimetics, bisphosphonates along with hormone replacement therapy. In severe cases, he may recommend removing the affected parathyroid gland.
Gigantism is a hormonal disease in which there is abnormally large growth because of too much growth hormone. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of gigantism.
Symptoms of gigantism
Symptoms include delayed puberty, difficulty with side vision, frontal bossing and a prominent jaw, headache, increased sweating, irregular periods in girls, large hands and feet with thick fingers and toes, release of breast milk, thickening of the facial features etc.
Treatment of gigantism
An endocrinologist may prescribe dopamine agonists that are used to reduce growth hormone release along with radiation therapy.
Dwarfism is a medical condition marked by short stature which results from a genetic condition. Dwarfism is of two types- proportionate and disproportionate. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of dwarfism.
Symptoms of dwarfism
Symptoms include short arms and legs, short fingers, limited mobility at the elbows, disproportionately large head, with a prominent forehead, progressive development of bowed legs, an adult height around 4 feet etc.
Treatment of dwarfism
If dwarfism is due to growth hormone deficiency, an endocrinologist may prescribe injections of a synthetic version of the hormone along with surgical procedures to treat disproportionate dwarfism.
Precocious puberty is hormonal condition in which a child’s body changes into an adult too soon- before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of precocious puberty.
Symptoms of precocious puberty in girls
Symptoms include breast growth and first period.
Symptoms of precocious puberty in boys
Symptoms include enlarged testicles and penis, facial hair and horse voice.
Treatment of precocious puberty
An endocrinologist may prescribe administration of Gn-RH analogue medication such as leuprolide which delays further development.
Obesity refers to a medical condition in which there is an excess amount of fat in the body. This condition puts at a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. An endocrinologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of obesity.
Symptoms of obesity
The only symptom of obesity is a high Body Mass Index (BMI) which varies according to height and weight.
Treatment of obesity
An endocrinologist may suggest dietary changes, exercises or when all methods have failed weight-loss surgeries such as gastric bypass, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch or gastric sleeve.
Diagnostic tests performed by an endocrinologist
An endocrinologist usually performs the following diagnostic tests.
- 24-Hour Urine Collection Test
- ACTH Stimulation Test
- Bone Density Test
- CRH Stimulation Test
- Dexamethasone Suppression Test
- Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy
- Glucose Testing
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
- Semen Analysis
- Thyroid Scan
- TSH Blood Test