Endocrinology is a branch of biology and medicine which deals with the endocrine system in particular. The branch of endocrinology generally deals with hormones, which are secreted by various endocrine glands in the body.
Hormones and endocrine system:
The human endocrine system consists of several glands, which secrete chemicals known as hormones. These hormones are responsible for regulating and controlling some of the most important functions of the human body like growth and development, sleep, respiration, digestion, mood, stress, lactation, reproduction etc. The hormones are directly released into the bloodstream and not in a specific duct. Some of the most common examples of hormones are thyroid hormone, growth hormone, and insulin.
Excessive secretion or under sectretion of hormones can have a very negative impact on the overall health of the individual. Oversecretion or under secretion of hormones leads to various health complications like hypothyroidism, diabetes, etc. which can often be life-threatening.
Who is an endocrinologist?
Endocrinologists, as the name suggests, are doctors specializing in the functioning of endocrine glands. Endocrinologists closely study the hormonal conditions and provide the best possible treatments for ailments of the endocrine system. Health problems related to the endocrine gland can be an issue for adults as well as children. Endocrinologists specializing in dealing with endocrine problems in children are known as pediatric endocrinologists.
What conditions can an endocrinologist treat?
Endocrinologists diagnose and provide treatment for problems affecting:
- Pancreas and insulin secretion
- Pituitary glands and hormonal balance
- Reproductive glands (ovaries and testes in women and men respectively)
- Thyroid glands and metabolism
- Adrenal glands
- Bone metabolism
- Cancers of endocrine glands
Broadly speaking, endocrinologists deal with problems like diabetes, hypertension, infertility, lack of growth, menopause, metabolic disorders, lipid disorders etc.
There are various reasons why a child may need to visit an endocrinologist. As already mentioned, endocrinologists specializing in the treatment of children are known as pediatric endocrinologists. Some common reasons why your child may need to visit one are:
- Growth problems: there is a broad trajectory of height gain that is considered as normal in children. Though short term spurts or stagnancy in growth is considered normal too, some children tend to grow too fast or not grow at all. If your child’s growth is in excess or less as compared to normal, he or she may require to visit an endocrinologist.
- Weight issues: just like height, there is a broad weight range which is considered normal. Some children are picky eaters while others not so much, which may make children skinny or plump. However, if your child does not seem to put on weight even after excessive efforts, or seems to be overweight even after moderate food consumption, it may be due to malfunctioning of the thyroid gland.
- Developmental issues: Early detection of hypothyroidism or low/ absent thyroid hormone can lead to normal IQ and development. Such a condition if missed, would lead to lifelong consequences. It is diagnosed by a simple blood test very soon after birth.
- Pediatric diabetes: diabetes is not unheard of in children. If you notice symptoms like excessive thirst, hunger, frequent urination, the child might be suffering from type 1 diabetes and require a visit to an endocrinologist.
- Early activation of adrenaline gland may lead to an early puberty. Though it is not a major issue, it is wise to visit a pediatric endocrinologist to rule out the possibility of congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- Besides, there are several other health conditions like obesity, rickets, goiter, ambiguous genitals etc. which might require the attention of a pediatric endocrinologist.
At Cloudnine hospitals, we provide you with a wide range of facilities and treatments that you or your child may require. We have a diverse team of highly qualified and experienced specialists including dietitians, pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists etc. who are dedicated to providing you and your child with the best possible treatment and care.