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Endocrinology and metabolism is a subspecialty of internal medicine. It has been traditionally defined as the branch of medicine that deals with hormone-producing organs. The illnesses that fall into the realm of the endocrinologist are diverse. The most common illness, estimated to affect more than 16 million Americans, is diabetes mellitus. Management of the diabetic by the physician, nurse educator and dietitian is currently the best approach to adequately treat patients who suffer from this illness.
Thyroid disease is another common endocrinologic disorder. Over-and under-production of thyroid hormone, goiters and thyroid cancer are illnesses evaluated and treated by the endocrinologist.
A third common metabolic abnormality studied and treated by the endocrinologist is hyperlipidemia. Management of cholesterol and other lipid abnormalities involves dietary education and often medications.
Other illnesses that fall into the category of endocrinology and metabolism are less common. These include adrenal gland dysfunction, pituitary gland disorders, growth and development abnormalities and metabolic bone diseases such as osteoporosis and Paget’s disease.