What is an Endocrinologist?
Endocrinologists are specialty- trained doctors who diagnose and treat hormone and gland-related illnesses. You may be referred to see an Endocrinologist if you have any of the following conditions:
- Thyroid disease
- Calcium or bone disorders
- Overproduction or underproduction of hormones
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Metabolic disorders
- Lipid (cholesterol) disorders
- Cancer involving an endocrine gland
When should I see an Endocrinologist?
If you feel you have a problem related to your endocrine (hormone) system, you should discuss this with your primary care physician to determine whether a referral to a specialist might be beneficial.
I have been diagnosed with Diabetes. What is the best medication for me?
Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed when a patient is found to have an abnormally high blood sugar. The type of treatment started will depend on whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and how high your blood sugars are. Some new diabetics are given insulin shots immediately while others are started on medications by mouth. In some cases, your doctor may just recommend a change in diet and exercise.
How do I know if I have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes?
In the adult population, Type 2 diabetes ("adult-onset") is more common than Type 1 (or "insulin-dependent") diabetes. Patients with Type 2 diabetes are usually able to produce insulin from the pancreas, but the organs, muscles and fat in the body become "resistant' to the insulin and do not respond as they should. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the death of the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. These patients do not produce enough of their own insulin and so need to take insulin shots.
Your Endocrinologist may run special blood and urine tests to help determine what kind of diabetes you have and what medication will work best for you.
What is a HgA1C and why does my doctor keep checking it?
A glucose (blood-sugar meter) is good for testing blood sugars throughout the day, but it only tells you what your level is at that moment. A HgA1C is a test that your Endocrinologist will probably check every 3-6 months. It is a finger-stick blood test that will give an average blood sugar reading based on the last 3 months of control.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that a diabetic patient keep a HgA1C level of 7% (170 mg/dL) or less in order to prevent diabetes-related complications. A HgA1C in a person without diabetes is about 5% ( 120 mg/dL).