The study of hormones, endocrine glands, and related organs is called endocrinology. Metabolism and endocrinology are highly related to one another because metabolism is highly influenced by the endocrine system. The endocrine system is composed of glands and organs throughout the body. These glands and organs produce hormones which help to control many important bodily functions. Hormones are chemical messengers that communicate with other bodily systems to regulate how they function. These functions include energy expenditure, growth, digestion, reproduction, and even alter mood and emotion.
Our bodies produce and release over 50 different kinds of hormones. These include testosterone, insulin, melatonin, adrenaline, estrogen, among many others. These hormones are produced by the endocrine glands that are found in many places throughout the body. These glands include adrenal glands, pineal glands, pituitary glands, thyroid glands, and a few others. Many of the hormones that the endocrine system produce influence how metabolism functions. It is this aspect of endocrinology that specialists focus on when studying how humans utilize energy.
In order to understand how metabolism works, a study of endocrinology is necessary. A medical specialist who studies endocrinology is called an endocrinologist. Thus, an endocrinologist is a specialist in the field of medicine that is related to hormones and the endocrine system. Endocrinologists not only study the endocrine system; they also understand how the rest of the body responds to hormones and what happens when there is an imbalance and the implications that result from such an imbalance.
Within endocrinology, there are areas of study that an endocrinologist might specifically specialize in. One such area is diabetes and its role in growth, health, wellbeing, and aging. Specialists in diabetic conditions and disorders also put great emphasis in the study of metabolism because metabolic function and diabetes are closely related. In fact, diabetes is one of the most common metabolic conditions that affect human health. Many hormones regulate how the human body uses the energy obtained from the foods we eat. Diabetes is the result of irregular metabolic functions that affect the way our bodies use energy. An endocrinologist understands how diabetes affects metabolism, and how metabolism affects diabetes. It is this understanding that allows these specialists to be able to diagnose and treat many issues that can cause diabetes, such as obesity.
While many healthcare providers can diagnose and treat metabolic related issues, it is best to consult with an endocrinologist when these issues involve specific conditions. In other words, an endocrinologist is likely the best medical specialist to help you manage diabetes. Because they are experts in endocrinology and endocrine systems, they are best equipped to accurately diagnose specific diseases and develop a plan of treatment that will yield the best results for any particular case. The overall goal of an endocrinologist is to recognize and prevent complications before they occur. Should this not be possible, their secondary goal is to create and implement a management plan that is designed to mitigate further complications while also lessen existing issues. Management of diabetic diseases often includes controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and more.
Types of diabetes vary from person to person. It is important to understand them, especially if you have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, or have other pre-conditions. Types of diabetes and other metabolic conditions include:
Type 1 diabetes (your pancreas can no longer make insulin due to an autoimmune attack)
Type 2 diabetes (your body isn’t using the insulin your pancreas makes properly)
Gestational diabetes (temporary diabetes during pregnancy)
Pancreatic diabetes (caused by chronic pancreatitis)
Inherited metabolic diseases
Obesity and Diabetes
Obesity is a leading threat to health in many countries around the world. When discussing metabolism and diabetes, obesity is often involved in these discussions because of the relation between the three.
When people become obese, metabolic function becomes altered and can result in the mismanagement of energy that is obtained from the food we eat. While many people believe that obesity is the result of weak willpower to control what one puts into their mouth, this is simply not the case. Hormones control mood, emotion, and even appetite. All three of these functions can have a profound effect on how we manage our diet. When these hormones are out of optimal balance, it can become easy to become obese. Obesity itself can alter how our bodies produce hormones and throw these delicate systems out of balance. Thus, a feedback loop can form and make breaking the cycle even more challenging without intervention. Diabetes develops when these imbalances are not mitigated and will often further impact the effectiveness of treatment.
An endocrinologist can help manage obesity and diabetes by treating the issues at their source – the endocrine system.