October 23, 2017

by Abel Alfonso, DO

If you are one of the thousands of people living with glandular disorder, your primary care provider will most often help treat and monitor your condition. However, there are some situations when you need the care of a specialist like an endocrinologist.

Endocrinologists are physicians who underwent additional specialty training to examine the body’s endocrine glands and their functions. The endocrine system consists of glands that produce hormones, which control the body’s metabolism, growth, sexual development and function. Endocrinology focuses on restoring hormone balance within the body’s system, including functions like metabolism, respiration, reproduction, sensory perception and movement.

Typically, an endocrinologist treats patients with the following types of conditions:

  • Adrenal insufficiency (but not adrenal fatigue)
  • Pituitary gland disorders (pituitary tumors, elevated prolactin levels)
  • Diabetes (type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes, continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pump management)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Thyroid nodules (growths)
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Male hypogonadism (low testosterone)
  • Osteoporosis (brittle bones)
  • Parathyroid disorders/hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels)

Endocrinologists have the expertise to treat chronic glandular conditions that oftentimes don’t have a cure, but can successfully be managed. Advances in modern medicine allow endocrinologists access to the best treatments that can improve quality of life for patients who conditions need more control.

Primary care providers may refer to an endocrinologist if they suspect an underlying endocrine disorder after their patient has had an initial evaluation, which may include blood tests and imaging studies.

Being under the care of an endocrinologist allows a patient with a glandular disorder access to additional knowledge and expertise to ensure their health is as good as it can be.

The Mankato Clinic Endocrinology Department treats a variet of endocrine disorders adn is here for its patients. If you are concerned that you may have an endocrine disorder, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with your primary care provider, who will decide in coordination with the endocrinology department whether or not you should be seen by an endocrinologist. Call 507-385-4114 to make an appointment.