Endocrinology and Metabolism Diseases
What is the Endocrine System?
The endocrine system is a system consisting of endocrine glands.Internal secretory glands is the organ which synthesizes and secretes hormones. Hormones control various activities in our bodies.
Different types of hormones control reproduction, metabolism, growth and development.Hormones also control our reactions and help our body have sufficient amount of energy and nutrients for its functions.
Secretory glands forming the endocrine systes: hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries (female overs, male testes), adrenal gland and fat tissue.
What is the role of an Endocrinologist?
Endocrinologists are specially trained physicians who diagnose diseases related to the endocrine system and diseases that affect the glands. Endocrinologists know how to treat complicated diseases that involve various systems of our bodies.Your primary care physician will refer you to an endocrinologist, if you have a problem with your endocrine system.
Diseases treated by endocrinologists include:
Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglyceride)
-hypothyroidism (hashimoto disease)
-osteoporosis (bone loss)
-hypophysis (Cushing’s disease, acromegaly, prolactinoma, non-functional adenomas)
-surrenal diseases (adrenal disorders)
-Growth retardation (short stature)
-Tumors of the glands
Endocrinologists may also require some tests to assess functions of the glands.
What kind of education do Endocrinologists receive?
After receiving six-year medical education, Endocrinologists complete four or five year internal medicine (internal medicine) specialization program. After they earn the title of Internal Medicine Specialist, they take speciality (sub-branch) examination.If they pass the specialty examination, then they receive three -year education on how to diagnose and treat hormonal diseases.Endocrinology education takes more than 13 years.
What are the most common endocrine diseases and disorders?
Diseases and disorders of the endocrine system can be divided into various areas:
Some endocrinologists focus on one or more endocrine system diseases, such as diabetes, thyroid, reproductive and menstrual disorders, while others deal with all areas of endocrinology. The main areas of endocrinology are described below:
Patients with diabeties have high level of sugar in their blood. Recent studies have shown that blood sugar control can help prevent serious problems that diabetes may cause.These problems are related to eye, kidney and nerves and may cause patients with blood sugar disorders to have blindness, kidney failure, dialysis or gangrene.
Endocrinologists treat diabetes with diet, oral medications or insulin. They follow up patient’s blood sugar level in order to prevent health problems that may develop.
Patients with thyroid disorders often have problems with their energy levels. Beside this they may have problems related to muscular hardness, sensory disturbances, weight control and tolerance to heat or cold.
Endocrinologists treat patients with hyperthyroidism (excessive functioning of the thyroid)
or patients with hypothyroidism (poor functioning of the thyroid )They help patients maintain their hormone balance either by giving them thyroid hormones or by blocking excess hormones.
Endocrinologists are also trained to treat thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, and enlarged thyroid tissue (goitre).
Osteomalacia (rickets in childhood) which softens the bones and osteoporosis, parathyroid which disrupts calcium balance and develops osteoporosis are bone diseases that endocrinologists diagnose and treat.Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the skeleton.
Some hormones have preserving other hormones have damaging effects on the bone tissues.
If hormone levels are anormal, the bones may lose calcium and weaken.Menopause seen in women and loss of testicular function seen in men and aging may be contributing factors for bone fractures.
Fertility / Infertility
About one out of ten couples around the world has infertility problems.Endocrine researches have helped thousands of couples have children.
Endocrinologists diagnose and treat hormone disorders that may cause infertility.They apply homone treatment to the patients who need hormone- injections.
Disorders treated by endocrinologists in the field of reproductive endocrinology include menopausal complaints, menstrual irregularities, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual syndrome and impotence (sexual weakness).
Obesity and Overweight
Endocrinologists examine and treat overweight and obese patients, having metabolic and hormonal problems.The level of fat the obese patients has is high. Thyroid, adrenal, over and pituitary disorders may cause obesity.Endocrinologists also treat obesity-related insulin resistance and genetic problems.
Having the control of other glandular glands, the pituitary gland is known as the main secretory gland of the body.
Pituitary gland secretes hormones.High or low level of pituitary hormones may cause infertility, menstrual disorders, growth disorders (overgrowth or short stature), cortisol imbalances (obesity or weakness), and prolactin excesses.Endocrinologists control these conditions with medicines and inform patients who need surgery.
Children and adults are affected by not having enough growth hormone.Pediatric endocrinologists treat pediatric patients with endocrine disorders, which may cause shortness and other growth disorders.Adults with growth hormone deficiency experience emotional stress and fatigue. Safe and effective growth hormone therapy can be applied to these patients.
Hypertension occurs as a result of high blood pressure and is a risk factor for heart disease.More than 10% of people have high blood pressure resulted from excess aldosterone, a hormone synthesized in the adrenal gland.Nearly half of these cases have tissues that can be surgically removed.Also Pheochromocytoma which can be described as a metabolic syndrome or a rare adrenal disorder may cause hormone imbalance and hypertension All these disorders can be treated successfully.
Patients with lipid disorders have body fat (cholesterol) level problems.
The most common lipid disorders are; excess cholesterol, excess triglyceride, low protective cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).These fat levels are associated with height, heart (coronary) disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (circulatory problems in the legs).
Endocrinologists are trained to detect hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone deficiency), drug use (such as cortisone), genetic or metabolic conditions that may be associated with lipid disorders.Lipid disorders may be associated with conditions requiring special treatment such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and obesity.
Special diets, exercises and medicines might be used to treat hyperlipidemia and other lipid disorders.