Endocrinology

Endocrinology is the study of diseases related to your endocrine system. It includes your glands and organs that produce and secrete hormones, such as your pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, and ovaries and testes.

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What is endocrinology?

Endocrinology is the study of diseases related to your endocrine system.

It includes your glands and organs that produce and secrete hormones, such as your pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, and ovaries and testes.

What does an endocrinologist do?

An endocrinologist investigates and diagnoses endocrine conditions, develops treatment and management plans, and prescribes medication. They aim to restore hormone balance within your body’s systems.

At your first consultation with an endocrinologist, they will ask you about any family history of hormonal problems and other medical conditions including allergies, your current medications, your dietary habits, and your symptoms. They will check your heart rate, blood pressure, and the condition of your skin, hair, teeth, and mouth. They may take blood and urine samples.

Once they have made a diagnosis, they will recommend a treatment plan.

What diseases fall under endocrinology?

Diseases that fall under endocrinology include:

  • Diabetes – a difficulty converting glucose sugar into energy and results in high sugar levels in your blood (hyperglycaemia).
  • Osteoporosis – when your bones become less dense and more fragile due to hormone related problems such as early menopause, hyperthyroidism or hyperparathyroidism, or Cushing's syndrome.
  • Menopause – when it is 12 months after your last period. Your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
  • Metabolic disorders – result in an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Thyroid problems – including an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
  • Cancers of the endocrine glands – including your thyroid and pancreas.
  • Infertility – for example, low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with the release of an egg from your ovary and impair your fertility. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is also a leading cause of infertility due to high levels of androgens (male sex hormones).

What are 3 types of endocrine disorders?

There are three broad groups of endocrine gland disorders:

  • Endocrine gland hyposecretion – when your gland does not produce enough of its hormones.
  • Endocrine gland hypersecretion – when your gland produces too much of its hormones.
  • Endocrine tumours – when cancerous or non-cancerous tumours develop in your endocrine glands.

What are the symptoms of an endocrinology disorder?

The symptoms of an endocrine disorder vary widely. Each endocrine disorder has its own set of symptoms and depend on which gland is involved.

In general, people with endocrine disease often complain of fatigue and weakness. They may also suffer from mood swings, unintended weight fluctuations, and changes in their levels of blood glucose or cholesterol.

What tests are done in endocrinology?

There are many different tests performed in endocrinology to try to determine the exact endocrinology condition you are suffering from. They include:

  • Blood tests - used to diagnose various endocrinology disorders by determining hormone and glucose levels that may be causing problems with your body.
  • Urine tests - to help rule out other problems, such as infections or kidney problems.
  • Hormone testing - to determine if you have abnormally high or low levels of specific hormones.
  • Scans – including ultrasound, CT, MRI and Pet scans. Used to check your endocrine gland’s structure and to check for tumours.
  • Specialist endocrine tests – such as fine needle aspiration to extract cells from your thyroid nodules so that they can be examined in a laboratory.

What is the recovery process after an endocrinology service?

The recovery process after an endocrinology service will depend on your endocrinology condition and what tests or treatments are recommended.

If you have anti-thyroid medication treatment for hyperthyroidism, you can expect your hormone levels to drop to a healthy level in about six to 12 weeks. There is no standard for how long you will take the medication but it is likely you will continue with it for 12 to 18 months. Side effects are rare.

You may be advised by your endocrinologist to have surgery for hyperthyroidism, called thyroidectomy. Recovery after this surgery involves up to a two-day stay in hospital, resuming your regular activity when you are able, and avoiding strenuous activity or heavy lifting for ten to 14 days. If your thyroid is completely removed, you can expect to take thyroid hormone replacement daily for the rest of your life.

What are the costs of endocrinology?

The costs of endocrinology services vary from patient to patient. They depend on the tests performed to check your endocrine problems, the endocrine disorder you are diagnosed with and its recommended treatment, and your chosen Ramsay hospital.

You will receive a formal quotation price after your consultation with one of our endocrinology specialists. This formal quote will be valid for 60 days.

Endocrinology services may be covered by medical insurance. Most chronic conditions such as diabetes are excluded from cover. But there are various clauses so we advise you to check with your insurance provider for their written confirmation before your initial appointment and subsequently when you have your treatment plan costs.

If you are paying for yourself, we offer a variety of payment options including interest-free finance.

Endocrinology at Ramsay Health Care

At Ramsay Health Care we can help you with any health issues relating to endocrine conditions where you produce too much or insufficient hormones. These include diabetes and thyroid problems.

You will be taken care of by our endocrinology consultants who are highly experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of common and complex hormonal problems.

Our endocrinologists work as part of an expert multidisciplinary team (MDT) of surgeons, pathologists and radiologists. Together they create an individual care plan to restore the normal balance of your hormones. Should surgery be required, you can seamlessly be referred.

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