Published on January 03, 2022

A doctor pointing at a model.

What does an endocrinologist do?

Your endocrine system produces and regulates your hormones and is responsible for keeping them in balance. Hormonal disorders can result in metabolism and weight management problems, changes in energy levels or sleep, concerns about bone health and other issues.

"Hormones work at the cellular level, which means they affect almost everything in your body," said Anu Verma, MD, an endocrinologist with ProHealth Medical Group. "Hormonal molecules play a major role in the way your body functions, including how you eat, feel and age."

Endocrinologists focus on evaluating, diagnosing and treating conditions relating to hormonal function, glands and related tissues. While diabetes is the most common endocrine disorder in the United States, endocrinologists provide care for a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Adrenal disorders
  • Cholesterol issues
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pituitary disorders
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Thyroid disorders

It is common for primary care providers to refer patients to an endocrinologist when they find that specialty care may be needed. Before making a referral, your provider may recommend blood tests.

During an initial visit to an endocrinologist, you will be able to discuss your symptoms and medical history, and ask questions. Your specialist may recommend additional lab work and perhaps imaging tests to aid in making a diagnosis.

Medication is often the first line of care for patients diagnosed with an endocrine or hormonal disorder. Follow-up visits may be recommended, along with periodic lab work. Additional imaging or other tests may also be advised, depending on the condition and level of care needed.

In addition to working closely with their patients’ primary care providers, endocrinologists also work with ophthalmologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, oncologists, podiatrists and diabetes educators to provide optimal patient care.

"The most important thing you can do for your health is to ask questions, complete recommended visits and tests, and follow instructions," Dr. Verma said. "Don’t hesitate to let your provider know if you experience any changes in your health."