Endocrinology

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You might not know very much about your endocrine system, but it plays an essential role in helping your body work correctly. If something about your endocrine system isn’t functioning well, you may gain weight, feel rundown or have trouble sleeping. In fact, you could end up quite sick.

A medical specialist called an endocrinologist deals with problems related to the endocrine system. At Long Island Select Healthcare (LISH), the endocrinology department provides diagnosis and treatment for residents of Suffolk County who have diabetes, thyroid disease and other hormone disorders.

What Is Endocrinology?

The endocrine system is made up of glands that are located throughout your body. These glands include:

  • Adrendal gland
  • Hypothalamus
  • Pancreas
  • Parathyroid
  • Pineal gland
  • Pituitary gland
  • Thyroid

Ovaries are glands that are present only in females. Testes are part of the male anatomy.

These glands produce hormones that control various functions in your body. For example, hormones regulate growth and metabolism.

If your endocrine system isn’t functioning properly, bodily processes may not happen like they’re supposed to. This can make you sick. You might have obvious symptoms, or you may simply not feel quite like yourself.

A doctor who specializes in the endocrine system is an endocrinologist. This type of specialist can diagnose and treat endocrine disorders.

Diseases and Conditions of the Endocrine System

When one or more of your glands do not function correctly, the results can affect your whole body. Many different diseases stem from endocrine troubles.

Diabetes is one of the most common conditions. It has to do with a hormone called insulin. Normally, the pancreas produces insulin, but some people with diabetes make no insulin or very little of it. In other people with diabetes, insulin is present, but the body is unable to use it properly.

Thyroid diseases are another common category. In hypothyroidism, this gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. The opposite condition, hyperthyroidism, happens when too many thyroid hormones are produced. Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are two particular types of thyroid disorders. It’s also possible to develop thyroid cancer.

Other endocrine problems include Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Osteoporosis is often associated with endocrine disorders. Endocrinologists also provide treatment for conditions related to reproductive health, such as low testosterone, polycystic ovarian syndrome and menopause.

Factors Contributing to Endocrine Disorders

Although anyone can be affected by an endocrine disease, some people are more at risk than others.

You may have a chronic or genetic condition that leaves you prone to gland or hormone problems. For example, Prader-Willi syndrome and Turner syndrome can impact growth and development. Autoimmune disorders have the potential to disrupt hormone function as well.

A bout with cancer can leave you susceptible to endocrine disorders. This may happen because of the presence of a tumor or as a side effect of radiation treatments.

Sometimes, life circumstances can affect your endocrine function. The older you get, the more susceptible to some diseases you become; diabetes is one example. Stress, trauma and chemicals in your environment can also contribute to endocrine disruption.

Visiting the Endocrinologist’s Office

Left unchecked, endocrine disorders can contribute to obesity, heart disease, fatigue, depression and other health problems, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Symptoms that might prompt you to seek endocrine care include:

  • Achy muscles or joints
  • Constant thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Fatigue
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight loss or gain

If you think that an endocrinologist’s expertise could be helpful for you, it’s a good idea to consult your primary care provider (PCP) first. Some endocrine disorders can be successfully treated by your PCP. For complicated cases that need further input, your PCP may refer you to a specialist.

At your first appointment, you will discuss your medical history and your symptoms with the doctor. You might need to bring medical records, a list of your medications, a symptom log or readings from your glucose monitor.

The doctor may perform a series of tests. These may include blood analyses, urine tests and ultrasound scans.

How Endocrinologists Can Help

Medical examinations and tests can help a specialist understand your endocrine condition. Then, the doctor can customize a treatment plan for your needs.

You may benefit from treatments like:

  • Injectible medication
  • Oral medication
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Synthetic hormone therapy
  • Topical hormone treatments

Your treatment plan will be specific to your condition. It may take a few tries to find the right combination of medications in the right doses, so it’s important that you stay in contact with your endocrinologist.

Make an Endocrinology Appointment at LISH

If your endocrine system is not functioning properly, you could end up very sick. Regulating your hormone levels can make a substantial difference in your health. Your body will be able to work better, and you may begin to feel stronger and more alert.

This kind of expert care requires the input of an endocrinologist. The endocrinology department at LISH offers testing and treatment for a variety of disorders. To discuss whether you are a candidate for these services, contact us online or by calling (631) 650-2510.

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