Endocrinology is the medical specialty that treats diseases of the glands and other organs, which secrete hormones. These substances, usually derived from cholesterol, can be regarded as global orchestral conductors, whose role is mostly to relay and induce cellular action remotely from the location of their synthesis and secretion. A hormonal dysfunction can be due both to an excess and a deficiency. The most common endocrine disease is diabetes (see below).
Endocrine diseases affect the endocrine part of the pancreas, the thyroid, the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, and adrenal and sex glands. At the medical practice in Coppet, all diseases related to this specialty (diabetes mellitus and insipidus, hyper- and hypothyroidism, hypothalamic-pituitary deficiency, Addison's disease, prolactinoma, acromegaly, delayed puberty and/or growth, hypogonadism…) are diagnosed and treated.
The diagnostic approach of an endocrinologist is first of all to demonstrate a hormonal deficiency or excess biologically, based on both blood and urinary analyses, then make a correlation between the symptoms and results found. Thereafter, imaging examinations are often indicated to determine the precise location of the disease and hence able to recommend the most appropriate treatment. Analyses and imaging examinations are carried out in radiology laboratories and centres in the region.
By extension, an endocrinologist also manages weight problems; those related to aging (chronic fatigue and muscle loss etc.) and those related to phospho-calcium metabolism (notably osteoporosis). Diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia (cholesterol) and high blood pressure fall within the scope of the specialty.
Diabetes, described by the WHO as a global scourge, is a chronic disease, which has no cure, but can be treated and controlled. It is the most common endocrine disease and is caused by a deficiency or impaired utilisation of a hormone called "insulin", which is produced by the pancreas. This hormone enables carbohydrates (sugar) to penetrate the body's cells to be used as an energy source or stored there.
In a diabetic, the glucose (sugar) is unable to be used as fuel in the cells. It accumulates in the blood and causes chronic hyperglycaemia (increase in blood glucose). Over time, high levels of blood sugar cause multiple complications (eyes, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and heart).
There are different types of diabetes i.e. prediabetes, type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes (or during pregnancy) and other rarer types.
The two main types of diabetes are:
When diabetes is diagnosed, the treatment firstly consists of optimisation of the associated lifestyle (especially in the case of type 2), depending on the degree of the disease, with either oral or subcutaneous antidiabetic medication, and indeed with insulin. Type 1 diabetes is always treated with insulin.
New technologies have recently emerged both for the diagnosis of diabetes and for its treatment. For example,
All of these new techniques are used and implemented at the diabetology practice in Coppet.