Endocrinology is an area of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the endocrine system. It focuses on body processes such as metabolism, reproduction, sensory perception and respiration, and on the endocrine glands that produce hormones. A specialist in endocrinology is called an endocrinologist.
The endocrine system contains glands that release hormones that regulate crucial body processes such as metabolism, sexual development and body growth. The endocrine system glands include the adrenal glands, pituitary glands, pancreas, hypothalamus and thyroid glands. These glands secrete hormones such as insulin, oxytocin, thyroxine and triiodothyronine that regulate the body processes.
When the endocrine system glands fail to produce the hormones normally, an individual may develop body disorders such as high blood pressure, Cushing's disease, diabetes, Graves disease and dwarfism. Other endocrine system disorders include gigantism, exaggerated female and male traits and a weakened and overactive immune system.
When a patient is suspected to have an endocrine system disorder, he is referred to an endocrinologist who diagnoses the condition and puts the patient under treatment aimed at restoring hormonal balance in the body. To qualify as an endocrinologist in the U.S, an individual has to undergo medical training for more than 10 years.