Written on September 12, 2023 by Sendra Yang, PharmD, MBA. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Did you know that there are various areas in the medical field that your healthcare provider could specialize in? According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), there are over 160 specialties and subspecialties in the United States. Endocrinology is one of the various subspecialties. Endocrinology is a field of study focusing on the body’s hormones, glands, and organs in the endocrine system. A healthcare provider that is an expert in endocrinology is called an endocrinologist. Read on to find out more about endocrinologists, what they treat, and if they can help with weight loss. But first, let’s dive into the endocrine system.
The endocrine system monitors the different hormone levels to help coordinate body functions. Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that travel from one endocrine gland or organ to another. They help the different parts of the body communicate and organize bodily functions, such as growth and development, metabolism, emotions, fertility, sexual function, and sleep.[2,3] The body produces and secretes more than 50 hormones. Some examples of hormones in the endocrine system include insulin, testosterone, estrogen, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone.
The endocrine glands are certain glands in the body that produce and release these hormones. There are glands all over the human body. The largest gland is the pancreas. Other types of endocrine glands are the thyroid, hypothalamus, ovaries or testes, and adrenal.[2,3]
An endocrinologist is a healthcare provider that can diagnose, treat, and manage conditions that affect the endocrine system. Endocrinologists can specialize even further in different areas, like concentrating on diabetes and metabolism, thyroid diseases, or reproductive endocrinology. Endocrinologists or healthcare providers who practice in the endocrinology space typically partake in annual learning and training courses or continuing education to stay current in the field of study.
Endocrinologists can help diagnose, treat, and manage calcium and bone conditions, thyroid diseases, endocrine cancers, and diabetes, including other metabolic disorders. Obesity is a metabolic condition for which an endocrinologist can recommend treatment and management plans. Obesity is a serious and complex disease with significant health risks and economic impact. Chances of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea can increase with obesity, and related medical costs in the United States were estimated to be close to $173 million in 2019.[4,5] The obesity prevalence in the US is close to 42% in 2017 to 2010.
Management of obesity includes components of weight loss with treatment recommendations. Therefore, endocrinologists can help you with weight loss. Even a weight loss of 5% to 10% of your initial body weight can have beneficial outcomes for conditions like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Obesity therapies may include exercise, diet, psychological and behavioral interventions, medications, and surgery. An endocrinologist can help create a management plan for you based on your circumstances, previous medical history, and preferences.
Your healthcare provider can diagnose you with an endocrine disorder and may refer you to an endocrinologist for more specialized care. An endocrinologist may be beneficial for your care since they are most knowledgeable on endocrine diseases and more up-to-date on the various medications, technology, and clinical trials that can help treat your condition. If your primary healthcare provider suspects you have issues with specific hormones, they may also have you see an endocrinologist for an appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and management plan. Endocrinologists can also be part of your healthcare team to provide care.
If you are wondering about the next steps to start your conversation about weight loss, consider a telehealth option, such as the Everlywell Weight Care+ option for online weight loss where you can virtually meet with a healthcare provider to discuss your weight loss goals. You will be able to regularly meet with a certified clinician to help answer your questions, access to prescriptions if you qualify, quarterly at-home lab tests or supplements, or lifestyle content and support for health conditions.
With the Weight Care+ program, you are able to choose a plan that is right for you; currently, available plans are 12 months or 3 months in duration. The service is HIPAA-compliant and follows appropriate privacy guidelines. Industry-leading technology is used to ensure your personal information is kept safe and confidential. All healthcare providers are licensed, board-certified, and qualified to prescribe medication, order lab tests, and assess your symptoms and health goals to create a customized care plan for you.
Everlywell also has an at-home lab test for metabolism that measures three hormones that may help you understand unexpected changes in weight and energy. You can collect your sample and mail it to a certified lab with prepaid shipping. You can receive your digital results within days after being reviewed through a secure platform with useful insights.