What is an endocrinologist?
Do I need to see one?
Healthstar services East Tennessee with a wide variety of medical specialists including Endocrinology. When your endocrine glands, which produce hormones, aren’t functioning properly, it is best to see a specialist who can help diagnose and treat these issues.
Importance of hormones
Hormones are chemicals controlled by your endocrine gland. These chemicals control many of your body’s activities. They are involved with your growth, mood, metabolism, thirst, and reproduction as well as much more.
These chemicals are released into the bloodstream, but only target cells with compatible receptors respond to the hormones. The hormone binds to receptors and then the receptor gets busy carrying out the hormone’s instructions.
Where are the endocrine glands?
The endocrine system is located throughout the body rather than in a single location like the heart, lungs, or other organs.
- The brain. The hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and pineal gland are in your brain. The hypothalamus tells your pituitary gland to start or stop making hormones. The pituitary gland tells a lot of your body what to do. This includes hormones that impact growth, help breastfeeding moms produce and release milk, control blood pressure, manages estrogen and testosterone, and more.
- The neck. The thyroid gland makes the thyroid hormone which controls your growth and metabolism. This impacts weight loss/gain, your heart rate, and the function of your bowels. The parathyroid glands sit behind your thyroid and control the calcium and phosphorus levels in your bones.
- Between your lungs. The thymus is located here and makes t-lymphocytes which are white blood cells. These are important as a child’s immune system develops as they fight infection. Post puberty, this gland shrinks.
- On top of your kidneys. The adrenals produce adrenaline which affects lots of things from metabolism to oxygen intake, blood flow, sexual function and more.
- Behind your stomach. The pancreas does double duty working as part of both your digestive and endocrine system. The insulin and glucagon it produces helps maintain proper levels of sugar in the blood.
- In your pelvic region. For women the ovaries produce estrogen. For men the testes produce testosterone. These hormones help in your development and also play a role in reproduction.
Why should I see an endocrinologist?
There are quite a few reasons to see this type of specialist. They have a deeper understanding of this system than your primary care physicians might have. Here are a few conditions that benefit from the care of an endocrinologist.
- Maybe you are having issues managing your diabetes.
- If you have a thyroid disorder. This is especially true for women with this condition who are pregnant or looking to start a family.
- When your hormone levels are contributing to your osteoporosis, or bone weakening condition.
- If you have sexual hormone conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome or low testosterone.
Healthstar Physicians is a multi-specialty physicians group with 24 locations in six counties including three after hours clinics. We live and work right here in East Tennessee. We would love to provide care for your entire family. Reach out to us and set up an appointment. We accept most forms of health insurance. Contact us to find out more.