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What does an endocrinologist do?
Endocrinology is a field dealing with diseases of the endocrine glands and the hormonal changes that occur as a result. The most important task of the endocrine system is to ensure and coordinate the body’s metabolic function with the help of hormones. Hormonal regulation is an extremely complex task that takes place with the regulatory function of the brain and the pituitary gland.
In case of what problems should we consult an endocrinologist?
The endocrinology clinic mainly deals with diseases of the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal gland, pancreas, pituitary gland, as well as diseases of carbohydrate metabolism, lipid metabolism, osteoporosis and genital organs.
- underactive and overactive thyroid gland, nodular abnormalities, inflammation and cancer
- carbohydrate metabolism, lipid metabolism abnormalities
- parathyroid dysfunction, consequent osteoporosis, kidney stones, abnormal calcium levels
- benign pituitary tumour (pituitary adenoma), insufficiency, diabetes insipidus, fluid ion balance disorders
- adrenal hormone dysfunction (e.g. Cushing’s syndrome, Conn’s syndrome), adrenal hypertension
- genital abnormalities, PCOS
Gabriella Iván MD
Evelin Katona Ph.D MD
Emma Varga MD
Endocrinology, Internal Medicine
Where can I get this medical specialty?
Common endocrinological problems, examinations
During the examination, the endocrinologist determines the existing endocrinological disease on the basis of the results of laboratory and imaging examinations (laboratory tests (hormone test, sugar load), isotope test, imaging diagnostics (abdominal ultrasound, thyroid ultrasound, abdominal CT, MRI), possibly cytological tests (e.g. thyroid biopsy and histological examination)) ordered after an assessment of the condition, individual and family history, and recommends additional therapy.
Underactive and overactive thyroid gland
The incidence of thyroid disease has increased significantly recently. In many cases, the symptoms of the disease are recognized only late. Many times, we may at first think of hormonal disorders as a background of chronic mild complaints that cannot be explained by any other obvious difference. These may include, but are not limited to, the increasing incidence of underactive and overactive thyroid gland today, which can be a consequence of inflammation. The following symptoms may indicate a thyroid dysfunction: thyroid enlargement (goiter), swallowing difficulty, rapid heartbeat, restlessness, sleep disturbances, mood disorders, weight problems, skin problems, fertility problems, menstrual disorders, etc. The importance of endocrinological examination is indicated by the fact that symptoms can occur without the presence of the disease, so it is recommended to perform specialist, laboratory and imaging examinations in all cases in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
Thyroid nodules (goiter), tumours
The lumps that form in the thyroid gland are called nodules. One or more nodules may form in the thyroid tissue. Thyroid tumours are classified as nodular thyroid diseases. It is important to know that all thyroid tumours are nodular lesions, but not all thyroid nodule are tumours. The detection and follow-up of thyroid nodules is of paramount importance for the early detection and appropriate treatment of cancer.
A benign tumour of the pituitary gland, the adenoma, can cause, for example, excessive prolactin production, which leads to sexual and menstrual disorders, which can be difficult to detect, especially in the early stages. One of the characteristic symptoms in women is lactation beyond breastfeeding, which must be investigated, this may occur less frequently in men. Pituitary adenoma is usually a slowly growing benign tumour that causes symptoms due to abnormal hormone production and pressure on the environment during growth. It can also cause permanent damage if left untreated for a long time. Its treatment is solved nowadays, medically, in rare, severe cases by surgery. After treatment, the symptoms regress, childbearing becomes possible, sexual functions return to normal, and weight can be adjusted.
Disease of the adrenal gland due to overproduction of cortisol. The most notable symptoms are the so-called apple-like obesity and the fat that accumulates on the face. Due to the increased effect of androgenic hormones in women, increased male coat growth, Adam’s apple and body proportions become masculine, menstrual disorders develop. Blood pressure is high in 85% of cases.
This is primarily an ovarian disease. Its treatment is the frontier of gynaecology, diabetology and endocrinology. Endocrinological examination begins with a detailed medical history and physical examination. Different hormone level tests serve to confirm the diagnosis based on characteristic symptoms and complaints. Such symptoms include irregular or missed menstrual cycles, infertility, increased hair growth (e.g. on the face), thinning hair, overweight or obesity, skin problems such as oily, acne-prone skin. A gynaecological examination or investigation is also required.