Endocrinology is a branch of biology and medicine dealing with the endocrine system, its diseases, and its specific secretions known as hormones. Endocrinologists have the training to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in the body. The common diseases and disorders of the endocrine system that endocrinologists deal with include diabetes mellitus, as well as adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid disorders, among others.
To become an endocrinologist, one has to go through rigorous training. One would have to go to medical school (4 to 6 years based on country), then go through an accredited Internal Medicine residency for 3 years. The completion of this training followed by the board exam by the American Board of Internal Medicine certification exam allows them to be board certified in adult internal medicine. Pediatricians will do take a similar pathway to be board certified in pediatrics.
Afterward, they go through an additional 2-3 years of specialty fellowship training at an accredited endocrinology and metabolism training program fellowship to become an endocrinologist. Following the passage of the certification exam, they will become board certified in Endocrinology as well by American Board of Internal Medicine.
The specialists continue to be up to date with the latest advances through their professional membership meetings such as AACE- American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
To practice in the state of Texas, the doctors are again evaluated and certified with a license to practice.
Your regular doctor can treat diabetes, but there are times when they might refer you to an endocrinologist when:
-You are newly diagnosed with diabetes and need to learn to manage it.
-They may want to enlist the help of an endocrinologist to further individualize treatment options.
-You are on multiple insulin shots a day.
-You are using an Insulin pump.
-You were diagnosed with Type 1 DM, LADA, MODY, or Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
-You are pregnant and have gestational diabetes.
-Your diabetes became though to manage or isn’t working.
-You have complications from diabetes.
You can visit an endocrinologist at any time irrespective of your primary care doctor’s recommendation. However, it will be a team approach, you will still need to visit the primary doctor.
American professional organizations for endocrinologists include:
–The Endocrine Society
–The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
–The American Diabetes Association
–The American Thyroid Association