Endocrinology is a medical specialty that deals with issues of the endocrine system and its specified secretions, called hormones. How does that affect you? More than you might imagine. If you’re feeling sluggish, sleeping poorly, having trouble conceiving or pre-diabetic, it may the result of a malfunctioning endocrine system. The field of endocrinology studies and treats these conditions and more. Should you be referred to an endocrinologist, rest assured you are on the right step to wellness. Here’s what you need to know about endocrinology.
The Endocrine System
Your endocrine system is comprised of glands that secrete hormones that regulate any number of critical bodily functions, primarily metabolism, growth and reproduction. For the most part, any condition that would necessitate being seen by an endocrinologist would be the result of some part of the endocrine system producing too much or too little of that regulating hormone. Here is a primer of the many responsibilities of the endocrine system, and why a visit to an endocrinologist may be warranted.
- Pituitary Gland – dubbed the “master gland,” the pituitary gland controls a number of other glands in the endocrine system, namely the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes.
- Hypothalamus – the hypothalamus regulates body temperature, thirst, appetite and weight, blood pressure, heart rate and sleep cycles.
- Pineal Gland – dictated by light, the pineal gland is responsible for melatonin, the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm responsible for our sleep patterns as the reproductive hormones in both men and women.
- Thyroid – a malfunctioning thyroid is responsible for a variety of conditions and diseases, most commonly, goiters, as well as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
- Parathyroid – the parathyroid has one job: to regulate calcium levels. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or other conditions that affect bone density or bodily functions that are impacted by calcium, a malfunctioning parathyroid may be to blame.
- Thymus – the thymus is active until puberty, after which it starts to shrink and is replaced by fat. However, it’s super busy during those critical formative years, stimulating the development of T cells that fight a lifetime’s worth of disease.
- Adrenal – Feeling stressed? How’s your blood pressure? Are you quick to get sick when you hadn’t before? Chances are your adrenal glands aren’t functioning as they should.
- Pancreas – because it regulates blood sugar, a non-functioning pancreas may present as diabetes, hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
- Ovaries and Testes – coming as surprising news to many, ovaries (which secrete estrogen and progesterone) and testes (which produce testosterone) are included in the endocrine system. Those having trouble conceiving may be reason to be referred to an endocrinologist for help.
Diagnosis and Treatments
After confirming your condition through a series of blood and other diagnostic exams, your endocrinologist may prescribe medications, lifestyle changes (e.g., losing weight, avoiding certain foods, getting more sleep, etc.), and, in some cases, surgical procedures to relieve your symptoms or conditions. Depending on findings and working alongside your primary care physician, your endocrinologist will work with you to develop a treatment plan to ensure your endocrine system is brought back into balance.
Intercoastal Medical Group: A full-service healthcare provider
Those seeking total care in Sarasota and Manatee counties rely on Intercoastal Medical Group. Our unique, interdisciplinary approach to medicine ensures our patients can rely on our many medical specialists – including world-class endocrinologists – to develop a treatment plan that addresses their medical concerns. With locations throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, Intercoastal Medical Group is the only practice you need to ensure a lifetime of family healthcare.Click here to make an appointment or request one onlinewith one of our endocrinologists or any other primary or medical specialists at one of our eight convenient locations near you.