Hormones have a pronounced effect on a person’s health and require highly specialized knowledge to understand, evaluate, and treat problems affecting them. Endocrinologists treat the body’s hormonal system and the bodily functions that depend on hormones, including blood pressure, weight, heart health, and fertility. Lourdes maintains a staff of well-trained, experienced endocrinologists who care for a large and diverse population of patients.
LMA endocrinologists collaborate with primary-care doctors and with other specialists who refer to them and work with family doctors, radiologists, endocrine surgeons, obstetrician/gynecologists, gynecologic surgeons, urologists, nephrologists, and others as needed.
Lourdes endocrinologists offer clinical care in the following areas:
Diabetes and Related Diseases
Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, tells the body to convert and absorb blood sugar in muscles and other cells. Diabetes is a disease in which the body doesn’t properly respond to insulin and loses normal control over its blood sugar levels. Endocrinologists play a key role in evaluating and treating this disease. As diabetes specialists, Lourdes endocrinologists care for patients with insulin resistance, prediabetes, type I or type II diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.
Thyroid and Parathyroid Disorders
The thyroid is a small gland located in the front of the neck. Though it’s not a large organ, it’s one of the largest endocrine glands and it plays a major role in the body’s hormonal system by producing hormones that help to regulate metabolism and maintain muscular and skeletal tissue. It affects everything from how fast the body burns energy and uses proteins to how responsive it is to other hormones.
On the surface of the thyroid are four smaller endocrine glands called the parathyroids. These glands influence calcium and potassium levels in the body and affect how the bones absorb calcium. Lourdes endocrinologists regularly evaluate and treat thyroid and parathyroid disorders, particularly over-activity. They can recommend medical or surgical care to intervene in these conditions.
Hormones significantly influence bone metabolism: the building of new bone material and the breakdown of existing bone. This means that endocrinology is an important type of specialty care for osteoporosis, a disease in which bones become brittle as bone tissue is depleted. Endocrinologists regularly use radiologic bone scanning to diagnose and treat this disease. Treatment options may include hormonal intervention and vitamin D supplements.
Adrenal and Pituitary Disorders
The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and secrete hormones that affect growth, metabolism, blood electrolytes, heart function, the body’s response to stress, and, in women, sexual activity and secondary sexual characteristics.
The pituitary gland is located in the lower portion of the brain and releases hormones that influence metabolism and the function of the thyroid, ovaries, gonads, kidneys, and other endocrine glands. Lourdes endocrinologists are skilled at evaluating the complicated interplay of these systems and providing care for certain adrenal and pituitary disorders.
Male- and female-specific endocrinology
A number of hormones and hormone systems are relevant primarily in women or in men. For example, low testosterone is an issue for men, and estrogen is a female hormone of major importance for women. Endocrinologists are particularly knowledgeable about and attuned to gender-specific hormonal conditions and can provide beneficial forms of care.