Endocrinology – Farrer Park Hospital
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What is Endocrinology?
​Endocrinology is a medical specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to hormones, including diseases and conditions caused by hormonal imbalance, damage to the glands that produce hormones, or the use of synthetic or natural hormonal drugs.
Conditions
​Not all hormonal problems require immediate treatment. Some conditions merely require watchful waiting. The decision on the next course of action often requires careful consideration of the clinical circumstances and the degree of abnormality. Very often this has to be balanced with the patient’s wishes, concerns and symptoms. You should consider seeing an endocrinologist if you feel that you may be suffering from, or if you have been diagnosed to have, these conditions:
 
Diabetes is a medical condition in which blood glucose levels remain persistently higher than normal, and is linked with a variety of problems including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. The root cause of diabetes is either the lack of insulin or the ineffectual usage of insulin by the body. Diabetes is steadily becoming more common in Singapore. This may be due in part to an aging population, unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles.
Common types of diabetes and their characteristics include:
 
Type 1 Diabetes
- No insulin is produced due to damaged pancreatic cells.
- Usually diagnosed in children or young adults although it can occur in adults too.
- Insulin is needed for treatment.
- Acute complications may occur suddenly and may be life-threatening.
 
Type 2 Diabetes
- Insulin produced is insufficient or ineffective (insulin resistance).
- Usually occurs in adults, particularly those who are overweight and physically inactive.
- Younger adults and children are beginning to develop Type 2 Diabetes as well.
- Can be controlled with proper diet and exercise but most diabetic persons require medication.
 
- Occurs in about 2-5 percent of all pregnancies. Women who were not diagnosed to have diabetes previously may show high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.
- Needs specialized obstetric care to reduce serious complications to the unborn baby.
 
The thyroid gland is located in the neck, in front of the windpipe, and produces a hormone called thyroxine. Thyroxine is important in regulating metabolic rate and is essential for the proper functioning of all bodily organs. Thyroid disorders may arise from the over- or under-production of thyroxine, or may be due to a growth such as a tumor in the gland itself. Over-production could be due to diseases such as Graves’ disease, or a viral infection of the thyroid. Under-production could be due to the surgical removal or chemical destruction of the thyroid gland, or the gland stopping production of the hormone because of an abnormal immune system. A pituitary gland malfunction can also result in over- and under-production of the hormone.
 
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by weak and fragile bones. If you have osteoporosis, you are more prone to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist, although all bones are at risk. Because peak bone density is reached at approximately 25 years of age, it is important to ensure bones are strong by that age. This will increase the likelihood that they will remain strong later in life. Adequate calcium intake is essential for building strong bones, while excessive alcohol intake, smoking or extreme thinness can speed up the bone loss process. Low bone mass can also be caused by other disease processes such as vitamin D deficiency, low phosphate, tumors and an excessive level of the hormone that regulates calcium levels in the body.
Based on your age, family history, bone mineral density testing and other relevant medical history, your endocrinologist will be able to help you estimate your fracture risk. Your endocrinologist will also help you rule out other causes of low bone mass. Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are steps you can take to prevent, slow or stop its progress. In some cases, you may even be able to improve bone density and reverse the disorder to some degree. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D as well as are essential to bone health. There are also specific medication available to reduce the risk of broken bones. These medicines either slow or stop bone loss or rebuild bone.
 
The pituitary gland regulates your bodily functions through the secretion of various important hormones. They control your cardiac function, blood pressure, general metabolism and sexual function. Pituitary disorders, usually caused by a tumor, radiation or other diseases, may cause too much or too little of these hormones to be produced. Deficiency of certain pituitary hormones may be life-threatening.
 
The adrenal glands are a pair of triangular-shaped glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones such as cortisol that are important in the regulation of blood pressure. Disease occurs when some hormones are produced in excess amounts or there is inadequate cortisol.
 
Having high blood pressure that is difficult to control even after taking several different anti-hypertensive medication means you will have to be assessed for any excessive secretion of adrenal hormones. Recurrent spells of headaches, unexplained sweating, palpitations and chest pain may also be symptoms of this condition. Persistent tiredness, giddiness, weight loss, nausea, unexplained vomiting and lack of energy may indicate cortisol deficiency, an essential hormone that must be replaced.
 
Treatments

​Controlling blood sugar (glucose) levels is the major goal of diabetes treatment in order to prevent complications of the disease. Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin as well as dietary changes and exercise. Type 2 diabetes may be managed with non-insulin medication, insulin, weight reduction, or dietary changes. Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus are advised to eat well-balanced meals to achieve and maintain a healthy maternal blood glucose level.

In osteoporosis, your endocrinologist will be able to help you estimate your fracture risk Based on your age, family history, bone mineral density testing and other relevant medical history. Your endocrinologist will also help you rule out other causes of low bone mass. Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are steps you can take to prevent, slow or stop its progress. In some cases, you may even be able to improve bone density and reverse the disorder to some degree. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D as well as are essential to bone health. There are also specific medication available to reduce the risk of broken bones. These medicines either slow or stop bone loss or rebuild bone.

For pituitary disorders, it is best to see your endocrinologist for a hormonal assessment should you be experiencing any of these symptoms. Blood tests and MRI scanning of the pituitary may be necessary. Deficiencies of pituitary hormones are easily treatable and patients often experience rapid improvement in health and quality of life.

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