What is the Endocrine System?
Endocrinology is the field of medicine involving the body's chemical messengers, or hormones and its biochemical control mechanisms, or metabolism. Endocrinologists care for patients with complex hormonal disorders and metabolic conditions.
The endocrine system is one of the body’s main systems for communicating, controlling and coordinating the body’s work. It works with the nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys, gut, liver, pancreas and fat to help maintain and control the following:
- Body energy levels
- Growth and development
- Internal balance of body systems, called homeostasis
- Responses to surroundings, stress and injury
The endocrine system accomplishes these tasks via a network of glands and organs that produce, store, and secrete certain types of hormones. Hormones are special chemicals that move into body fluid after they are made by one cell or a group of cells. Different types of hormones cause different effects on other cells or tissues of the body.
Endocrine glands make hormones that are used inside the body. Other glands make substances like saliva, that reach the outside of the body. Endocrine glands and endocrine-related organs are like factories. They produce and store hormones and release them as needed. When the body needs these substances, the bloodstream carries the proper types of hormones to specific targets. These targets may be organs, tissues, or cells. To function normally, the body needs glands that work correctly, a blood supply that works well to move hormones through the body to their target points, receptor places on the target cells for the hormones to do their work, and a system for controlling how hormones are produced and used.
What is an Endocrinologist?
An endocrinologist is a specially trained doctor. Endocrinologists diagnose diseases that affect your glands. They know how to treat conditions that are often complex and involve many systems within your body. Your primary care doctor refers you to an endocrinologist when you have a problem with your endocrine system.
What do Endocrinologists do?
Endocrinologists are trained to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in your system.
ENDOCRINOLOGISTS: areas of care
- Type l and Type II diabetes
- Thyroid disorders
- Metabolic bone disease
- Pituitary and adrenal conditions
- Growth and gonadal disorders
- Lipid and nutritional disorders
- Cholesterol (lipid) disorders
- Lack of growth (short stature)
- Cancers of the Endocrine Gland