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What is Endocrinology?

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What is Endocrinology?

Did you know that endocrinology is a specialty provided by Campbell County Health? Maybe you already know of each and every amazing service we provide, or maybe this is the first time you’ve even heard the word endocrinology. Whatever the case may be, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology has answers to your most common questions.


So, what is endocrinology and how does it affect you?


What Is Endocrinology?

The Basics

Endocrinology is a branch of medicine that deals with the endocrine system, which controls the hormones in your body. An endocrinologist is a physician who specializes in the field of endocrinology. Endocrinologists diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions affecting the endocrine system, including diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, infertility, cholesterol problems, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity and more. The endocrine system consists of the adrenal glands, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pineal body (pineal gland), pancreas parathyroid glands, thyroid gland, ovaries and testes.

How the Endocrine System Works

The endocrine system’s glands and organs release hormones that regulate a number of vital functions of our body. These glands include the hypothalamus, pineal body, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroids, adrenals, pancreas, testes and ovaries.

The hormones in your body all have specific jobs to complete. There are up to 40 different hormones circulating in your blood at any time. Once released into the bloodstream, a hormone travels throughout the body until it reaches its specific destination(s) to perform its function. These destinations, called targets, can be located either on other endocrine glands or on other organs and tissues in the body.

When a hormone reaches its target, it tells that part of your body what work to do, when to do it and for how long. Hormones are often referred to as the “messengers” because they help different parts of the body communicate. Overall, they are involved in many different processes in the body, including:

  • Blood sugar control

  • Growth and development

  • Metabolism (the process of getting and maintaining energy in the body)

  • Regulation of heart rate and blood pressure

  • Sexual development and function

  • Reproduction

  • Mood

What Happens When the Endocrine System Does Not Work?

Hormonal function is a balancing act. Too much or too little of one hormone can have an impact on the release of other hormones. If this hormonal imbalance occurs, some of your body’s systems will not work properly.

These imbalances can often be corrected by the body itself. Your body has built-in mechanisms to keep track of and respond to any changes in hormone levels to bring them back to normal and restore the balance.

Sometimes, however, this system goes wrong and there can be a problem that the body can’t fix itself. In this case, a primary care physician will refer you to an endocrinologist, who is an expert in treating frequently complex (and often chronic) conditions which can involve several different systems within the body.

Dr. Thomas Repas is a board-certified endocrinologist, a specialist in the complex chemical communication systems within the human body—essentially, how the body uses energy to fuel its metabolism. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether seeing an endocrinologist is right for you and your condition. Call 307-688-3635 for more information on a referral.

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