What does an endocrinologist specialize in?


Quick Answer

Endocrinologists specialize in disorders related to glands and the hormones they release. They work to correct hormone imbalances in those with metabolic disorders, thyroid problems, menopause, diabetes and those with impaired growth. Endocrinologists also deal with cholesterol disorders, hypertension due to adrenal gland tumors, infertility and cancers impacting the endocrine glands.

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Full Answer

The most common disorder treated by endocrinologists is diabetes mellitus. This disorder occurs because the pancreas does not provide the body with the correct amount of insulin, causing blood sugar. This, in turn, can damage other organs. Endocrinologists teach their patients how to monitor their blood sugar and administer medications that lower blood sugar, including injections of insulin. They also prescribe strict diets to help bring a patient's blood sugar back to normal.

Endocrinologists can choose to specialize primarily in the treatment of diabetes. This requires training to evaluate the eyes, kidneys and blood vessels, as they are often negatively impacted by the disease. Additionally, they need to have a working knowledge of podiatry and how to care for the feet of diabetics, as improper treatment can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Thyroid disorders are also commonly treated by endocrinologists. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive, where hypothyroidism indicates a thyroid working too slowly. Endocrinologists evaluate the thyroid's condition and prescribe medication to enhance or inhibit hormones according to the diagnosis.

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