Endocrinology is the study of the hormone system of the body, including ductless glands of internal secretion. Hormones are the chemicals released in the body that govern the actions of different organs of the body. Examples of hormones include thyroid hormone, growth hormone and insulin. Each of them is responsible for carrying out different tasks.
What’s this career about?
Endocrinologists diagnose and treat hormone imbalances in the endocrine organs. They study the system of glands, their related hormones and problems and solutions within. Such glands include thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, pancreas, and glands in the reproductive organs of men and women.
Some of the conditions that arise due to these imbalances are cholesterol or lipid disorders, diabetes, hypertension, infertility, lack of growth, menopause, metabolic disorders, osteoporosis, over or under production of hormones and thyroid diseases, cancers of the endocrine glands.
Diagnosis often encompasses evaluating for a variety of symptoms and requires knowledge of clinical chemistry and biochemistry. Many laboratory tests are also used, including diagnostic imaging. Managing these diseases often requires long-term treatment and may involve treating the patient as a whole and maintaining observation of changes at the cellular or molecular level.
This specialty of the medical field is challenging as endocrine manifestations may not be localised to a particular organ system and can present with initially subtle features. Doctors need an extensive knowledge of clinical chemistry along with biochemistry to understand the uses and limitations of the investigations conducted. There is a need for highly skilled professionals who can tackle such hurdles.
- How do I get there?
- Key skills
- Employment prospects
- Pay packages
Dr Vibha Gupta, a feature writer, is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. Her book Careers: A Pathfinder and articles in various publications are an attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.