Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Endocrinology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the endocrine system and its specific secretions called hormones. An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in treating such disorders.

Hormones are molecules that act as signals from one type of cells to another. Those secreted by the endocrine glands travel primarily through the blood. Although every organ system secretes and responds to hormones (including the brain, lungs, heart, intestine, skin, and the kidney), the clinical specialty of endocrinology focuses on the endocrine organs, i.e. the organs whose primary function is hormone secretion.

Endocrinologists treat disorders of the pituitary, including growth disorders; diseases of the thyroid; diseases of the adrenal glands; diseases of the ovary and testes; and diabetes (although more commonly it is a diabetologist), a disorder of insulin secretion or sensitivity.

Table of contents
1 Work
2 Training
3 Diseases in endocrinology
4 See also
5 External links


The medical specialty of endocrinology involves the diagnostic evaluation of a wide variety of symptoms and variations, as well as the long-term management of disorders of deficiency or excess of one or more hormones.

The practice of endocrinology is laboratory-oriented. A characteristic of endocrinology is that the diagnosis and treatment of endocrine diseases are guided by laboratory tests to a greater extent than for most specialties. Many diseases are investigated through excitation/stimulation or inhibition/suppression testing. This might involve injection with a stimulating agent to test the function of an endocrine organ. Blood is then sampled to assess the changes of the relevant hormones or metabolites. An endocrinologist needs extensive knowledge of clinical chemistry and biochemistry to understand the uses and limitations of the investigations.

A second important aspect of the practice of endocrinology is distinguishing human variation from disease. Atypical patterns of physical development and abnormal test results must be assessed as indicative of disease or not. Diagnostic imaging of endocrine organs may reveal "spots," termed incidentalomas, which do not represent disease.

Endocrinology also requires caring for the person as well as the disease. Most endocrine disorders are chronic diseases warranting life-long medical care. The most common of these is diabetes mellitus. Successful care of diabetes and other chronic diseases necessitates understanding the patient at the personal and social level as well as the molecular, and the physician-patient relationship can be an important therapeutic process.

Apart from managing patients, many endocrinologists are involved in clinical science and medical research, teaching and hospital management.


Endocrinologists are specialists of internal medicine or pediatrics. Reproductive endocrinologists primarily deal with problems of fertility and menstrual function. Most qualify as an internist, pediatrician, or gynecologist for a few years before specialising, depending on the local training system. In the U.S. and Canada, training for board certification in internal medicine, pediatrics, or gynecology after medical school is referred to as residency. Further formal training to subspecialize in adult, pediatric, or reproductive endocrinology is referred to as a fellowship. Typical training for a North American endocrinologist involves 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 3 years of residency, and 3 years of fellowship.

Diseases in endocrinology

Among the hundreds of endocrinological diseases are :

See also

External links

Societies and associations

Health science - Medicine
Anesthesiology - Dermatology - Emergency Medicine; - General practice; - Intensive care medicine - Internal medicine - Neurology - Obstetrics & Gynecology - Pediatrics - Public Health; & Occupational Medicine; - Psychiatry - Radiology - Surgery
Branches of Internal medicine
Cardiology - Endocrinology - Gastroenterology - Hematology - Infectious diseases;s - Nephrology - Oncology - Pulmonology - Rheumatology
Branches of Surgery
General surgery; - Cardiothoracic surgery; - Neurosurgery - Ophthalmology - Orthopedic surgery; - Otolaryngology (ENT) - Plastic surgery; - Urology - Vascular surgery;

Endocrine system
Adrenal gland; - Corpus luteum; - Hypothalamus - Ovaries - Pancreas - Parathyroid gland; - Pineal gland; - Pituitary gland; - Testes - Thyroid gland;