1. What Does An Endocrinologist Do?
An Endocrinologist is a highly qualified specialist doctor who can diagnose and treat diseases that affect your glands, hormones and your endocrine system. The pancreas is part of the endocrine system, and insulin is one of the hormones produced by the pancreas that the body needs to function properly. Failure of insulin action will result in diabetes. Besides the pancreas, the human endocrine system consists of a number of glands such as the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, ovaries in women and the testes in men. These glands produce and secrete hormones which control the body’s metabolism, growth, sexual development and function.
Endocrinologists often treat people with diabetes, thyroid disease, obesity, metabolic disorders, osteoporosis, complicated hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, calcium and vitamin D problems, sexual and reproductive health, and more.
In Singapore, an Endocrinologist is required to finish five years in medical school and complete a one year housemanship. Thereafter the Endocrinologist is required to spend three or more years training in internal medicine to obtain their Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) from the UK. After that, they will undergo advanced training in endocrinology where they learn how to diagnose and treat hormone conditions. Overall, an Endocrinologist’s training can take up to 10 years post-university before they become a full-fledged Consultant Endocrinologist.
2. What happens in a consultation with the Endocrinologist?
The Endocrinologist will begin speaking with you to understand the problems you are facing or concerned about. After taking a history from you, the doctor will proceed to examine you. As endocrine problems are predominantly hormonal problems, the doctor will usually arrange to perform blood tests to diagnose or assess your condition. After the blood test, the doctor will arrange to speak to you about the results and to recommend appropriate treatment and follow up schedule.
Most endocrine and hormonal problems are highly treatable with good treatment results, especially when the patients themselves are highly motivated to do so. So just relax, let the doctor know your concerns and allow the doctor to do his job to help you.