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Why see an endocrinologist?

Professor Maralyn Druce is a Consultant Endocrinologist, with a clinical practice in both general and specialist endocrinology. She looks after patients with a wide range of conditions including thyroid, adrenal and pituitary disorders, as well as neuroendocrine tumours and complex syndromes. In this article Professor Druce explains why you should see an endocrinologist.

Certification as an endocrinologist requires many years of expert training in the study of the body’s hormones. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, which travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs to coordinate many different life processes including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function and reproduction, mood, bone health, blood pressure and many other aspects of health. It may be that your GP has picked up a problem with your health that they think relates to one of the hormone systems of the body.

You may even have already had some tests confirming this – for example you may have a diagnosis of an overactive or an underactive thyroid or a problem with your calcium level, just as examples. Endocrinologists diagnose, treat and manage several different conditions that affect your endocrine systems.

As you would imagine from the complex roles of different hormones, problems with the endocrine system can present in subtle or complex ways. Therefore, even if you do not already have a diagnosis, you may have had some symptoms or concerns that may perhaps relate to hormonal issues.

As an endocrinologist I have been trained in general internal medicine for many years as well as in the specialist hormonal systems. A laboratory-based PhD also helps with developing a scientific and meticulous approach to problem solving! When the problem is not certain, I am acting a bit more like a detective – Sherlock Holmes, working with you to piece together clues from your experience, from signs on physical examination and from blood tests to try and work out what is going on. Not all symptoms have a medical explanation and when this is the case sometimes a clear explanation can be really helpful. 

Even if you do not think that you are ill, you will know that we are bombarded with information from many sources about our hormones and about things that we can do to better ‘balance’ them. Some of the information that you will see on the internet or read about in the press is of high quality, but some is not based on good or reliable evidence and you may have great enthusiasm or deep concern about hormone treatment or hormone replacement for long term health.

As well as training in endocrinology, I have extensive training in education and this has helped me feel well-placed to talk through the available evidence and to help you balance the benefits and risk for your particular circumstances. ‘One size’ definitely does not fit all and I like to work with individuals to ensure that advice is personalised to their particular circumstances and that all patients feel fully informed and empowered to make good health decisions.

Endocrinology is interesting, complicated and fun and endocrinologists really like to work with patients to focus on long term, high quality health for now and for the future.To book an appointment with Professor Druce click here

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