What is Endocrinology?

Endocrinology and metabolismEndocrinology is the branch of medicine dealing with hormones and metabolism. Endocrine glands such as the thyroid, pancreas and many others secrete hormones which in turn control your metabolism. Sounds simple? Not really, because hormones and the metabolic processes they control play a role in every aspect of your health. It helped your mother conceive you and also enabled her to give birth to you. It helped you grow from a baby to an adult. Your endocrine system helped you wake up in the morning and it gave you the energy to face the day. It strengthens your bones and helps your muscles function. It even makes your heart start racing when you become anxious! So it is a complex system, and understanding the interplay of all the different processes can be difficult. As an endocrinologist, I think the most amazing aspect of the endocrine system is how it works together to keep your health in balance, without us even being aware it exists!

Why is endocrinology important?

Almost all aspects of your life and well-being are controlled by your endocrine system. Many people have endocrine disorders but are not aware of this. This is because many of these conditions don’t cause any symptoms. This includes people with undiagnosed diabetes, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  However, these disorders are rising in prevalence and can cause health complications later on in life if left undiagnosed or untreated.

How does the endocrine system function?

Hormones are secreted in response to the body’s needs. These hormones circulate in the blood stream and reach different organs. The cells of these organs react to the presence of hormones by slowing down or speeding up different metabolic processes. When the right metabolic balance is reached, signals are sent and the production of that hormone is slowed down or stopped. So hormone levels can go up or down based on positive or negative feedback from the target organs.

How many hormones are there?

Scientists have discovered more than 50 hormones so far. However, they are finding out more each year.

What diseases are due to endocrine system disorders?

Diabetes, thyroid disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, calcium and other electrolyte disturbances, chronic tiredness, infertility and many others.

Why is endocrine health important?

With our modern lifestyles, many of us have lost the delicate balance of the endocrine system. The good news is that you can regain this, as most endocrine conditions are treatable. In fact, some are treatable through lifestyle changes alone, without the need to take any medications. Find out more about this on this website. Maintaining good endocrine health will increase your quality of life. In fact, it will even help you live longer by preventing  complications.

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