An endocrinologist is a healthcare specialist who studies and practices endocrinology.
They are also often referred to as a diabetes doctor. An endocrinologist studies conditions related to metabolism and the hormones that play a role in metabolic function. They are responsible for developing treatment and management plans for patients with various types of diabetes.
Sometimes, endocrinologists are a part of a “diabetes care team:” a group of healthcare professionals that include dieticians, nutritionists, and physical therapists. Depending on a patient’s particular needs, all or a few of these types of medical specialists may play a part in their overall health care needs. When it comes to endocrinologists, metabolic function is a major part of their healthcare strategy.
What Is Endocrinology?
The study of hormones, hormone glands, organs in the endocrine system, and their relationship to metabolism is referred to as endocrinology. There are over 50 different types of hormones that the human body produces and regulates. These various hormones are produces and secreted by specialized glands and organs found throughout the body. Hormones are chemical “messages” that direct various bodily systems into behaving in specific ways, all with the goal of maintaining and sustaining life. In particular, endocrinologists focus heavily on the hormones that influence metabolism and the diseases caused by the natural aging process.
Metabolism is influenced by many different types of hormones including testosterone, estrogen, insulin, cortisol, adrenaline, melatonin and many more. Each one of these hormones influence how our muscles develop and function, how we respond to stress, and how we utilize the energy we take in when we eat. These hormones work together in a delicate balance to ensure that our bodies function properly and without issue. However, imbalances in any of these hormones can disrupt how our metabolism functions, often in undesirable, even detrimental, ways. These disruptions can be the result of genetic dispositions, environmental influence, and even poor lifestyle choices that humans sometimes make.
An endocrinologist specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of any abnormalities that arise in the endocrine system.
One of the metabolic related diseases that endocrinologists specialize in is diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most common metabolic issues that humans suffer from. There are 3 major types of diabetes and all of them are caused by a disruption of a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps to control and manage blood sugar levels in the body. When functioning properly, insulin helps to keep blood sugar levels in optimum balance so that metabolic functions can function properly. However, if insulin production decreases, or even disappears entirely, your body’s ability to function properly is severely jeopardized. If left untreated, diabetes can contribute to many threats to health including obesity, stroke, heart disease, and even death.
An endocrinologist can diagnose and help their patients manage their diabetes. Proper intervention and treatment can help diabetes patients live a longer and healthy life.
While your primary healthcare provider can diagnose and help you manage endocrine conditions, it is best to consult with an endocrinologist when these conditions begin to impact your health and lifestyle. The goal of an endocrinologist is to prevent complications from even happening in the first place and develop proper and effective treatments when those complications manifest.
Obesity is an important topic to explore when talking about metabolism. Obesity is a very complex metabolic disease and not a problem of willpower or self-control. Being obese or being overweight is not the patient’s fault, obesity results from a complex biology whereby the body increases the amount of fat it wants to hold on to. As a result, people with obesity may crave more calorie-dense foods and are more likely to store extra calories as fat. The result is weight gain, or more specifically, an increase in the amount of fat the body wants to carry.
Contributors are thought to be unhealthy diet, unhealthy muscle, lack of sleep, disruptions in circadian rhythm, and weight gain-promoting mediations, among others.