What Is Endocrinology?

From Diabetes, To Bone Disease

Endocrinology is the study of Hormonal and Metabolic Disorders.

ADC Endocrine System

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Endocrinologists of BSA Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic are thoroughly trained in the management of hormonal and metabolic disorders. With the aid of our experienced staff, our Endocrinology Department can assist in the management of your diabetes, complex metabolic bone disease, or disorders affecting the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands. Patient education services are available for patients in the care and management of these disorders. We also provide dietary counsel for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Call and schedule an appointment today at BSA ADC.


Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly utilize blood sugar. Carbohydrate foods create blood sugar and the body needs insulin in order to process the sugar into energy for the body to function properly.

Type I diabetes is a condition in which the body’s immune system damages the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. This form of diabetes is treated with insulin replacement by injection since the body is no longer capable of producing enough of it’s own insulin.

Type II diabetes is a much more common form and is progressive in nature. This form of diabetes causes insulin resistance which means the body still produces insulin, but had difficulty utilizing it. There are various medications in pill form to treat Type II diabetes, but because of the nature of Type II diabetes, sometimes the pancreas wears out and insulin replacement by injection is required.

At this time there is no permanent cure for diabetes. Your physician will determine what medications you may need and should be carefully used daily. You should visit your doctor every three to six months so that the efficacy of treatment can be re-evaluated. Good glucose control is essential in order to prevent or retard the onset of diabetic complications. These include, but are not limited to damage to the small vessels of the eye, kidney damage, coronary artery disease, and peripheral nerve damage. These complications can lead to blindness, heart attack or stroke, dialysis, and amputation. The good news is that with proper self-care and medical expertise you can significantly reduce or avoid these complications altogether.

Weight control through diet and exercise is important. If you are overweight, your chances of diabetes increases significantly and you are putting yourself at risk. BSA Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic has a patient education specialist to assist you in the care and management of diabetes through diet and exercise.

You need to EXERCISE on a regular basis, preferably every day for at least 45 minutes. An exercise program should be initiated slowly and built up gradually to avoid injury and build stamina. Go for the distance rather than intensity. Our patient education specialist can assist you in starting an exercise regimen that will work for you. Be sure and obtain clearance from your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

CHECK YOU BLOOD SUGARS with a home glucose monitor regularly. Your physician or diabetic educator will prescribe a routine and frequency that best suits your needs, but many doctors ask that you monitor before breakfast and before supper. Please be sure to record your numbers and to bring your results along with your meter when seeing the doctor. He or she will want to discuss those readings with you.

Periodic Checks

GLYCOHEMOGLOBIN is a test developed to give information about your average blood sugar level during the past two or three months. It should be checked every three to six months. The American Diabetic Association recommends that the patients diabetic regimen be adjusted to achieve a glycohemoglobin of less than 7%. Any contributing risk factor for vascular disease should be aggressively assessed and treated. Cholesterol, triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, and smoking are all factors that need to be addressed. Your physician or educator can help you understand your results and your treatment options. Some medications typically used to treat elevated blood pressure also have a protective effect in preventing kidney complications of diabetes. Any medication prescribed by your physician should be taken only as directed. Consult your doctor before adding or deleting any medication including over the counter meds.

MICROALBUMIN urine testing should be performed yearly to evaluate the likelihood of diabetic kidney involvement.

A visit to the OPTHALMOLOGIST should be scheduled at least yearly. He or she will evaluate any diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, or other conditions and plan treatment accordingly.

You should have a COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL EXAMINATION yearly that includes a treadmill exercise test. Underlying coronary artery disease is often more common in an individual with diabetes and needs early intervention.

SICK DAYS require special consideration. Anything your body perceives as stress can and will increase your blood sugar. This stress can be physical or emotional in nature. If you are ill your blood glucose will rise even if you cannot eat. Rules of thumb for sick days are as follows.

  • Stick to your meal plan if you can eat.
  • Take your diabetes medication unless your physician tells you to stop.
  • Check with your doctor before taking any other medication.
  • Drink at least one large glass of liquid each hour. If you are eating, these liquids should be sugar free.
  • Test your blood sugar every 4 hours.
  • Ask someone to check in on you or have them call every few hours to make sure you are all right.
  • If in doubt, consult your physician. Early and effective management of sick days will reduce your chances of developing diabetic coma.

Program Assists Financially for Endocrine-Related Medications

pexels-photo-407237Did you know http://prescriptionhelp.aace.com/ is a website designed entirely to help those in financially difficult situations to get more affordable endocrine-related medications?

Click here to get started: http://prescriptionhelp.aace.com/

Built in collaboration with the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
American College of Endocrinology, the program seeks to assist with making medication more affordable for thousands of patients.

Search by medication and find out what’s available to you.

The search results will provide you with the medication’s programs that are available, and the subsequent phone number. To learn more, visit http://prescriptionhelp.aace.com/.

Stress and Adolescence: The Perfect Storm?

Teen Hormone Turmoil

By Jacqueline Ruttimann, Ph.D.,
Cover Story, January 2012 Edition, Endocrine News
The Endocrine Society

Teen Hormone TurmoilAsk meteorologists to describe teenagers and they might say: “partly sunny with a chance of showers, possibly turning into strong gusts and storm conditions.” The turbulent teenage years are often rough for adolescents and parents alike, but this mercurial phase is necessary for youngsters to develop into healthy, independent adults. Yet too much stress can take a toll on a teen and lead to future psychiatric diseases as well as metabolic problems like obesity and anorexia.

“Stress and adolescence have the makings of a perfect storm. There’s a convergence of a lot of bodily and hormonal changes and the brain is still developing. This is also the time of life when many bad things start to happen, such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, risk-taking behavior, and drug abuse,” noted Russell Romeo, Ph.D., an assistant psychology professor at Barnard College of Columbia University and moderator of the “Stress and the Adolescent Brain and Behavior” mini symposium at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in November in Washington, D.C.

Previously, researchers have devoted their energies to adult diseases that emerge after adolescence (see CDC sidebar), but evidence that these diseases crop up earlier is mounting, especially in rodent studies.

Of Mice and Teens

Rodents also experience age-related moodiness. Between 30 and 60 days of age, they undergo somatic, physiological, behavioral, and neurobiological changes akin to puberty in humans and non-human primates.Dr. Romeo detailed a series of experiments conducted by his research group with Sprague-Dawley rats.

The investigators first tested whether prepubescent and adult rats’
stress responses differ, subjecting prepubescent rats (day 30) and adult rats (day 70) to 30 minutes of restraint stress by placing the animals in a wire mesh strainer to inhibit their movement. The team measured adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone levels—two key stress hormones (see HPA axis sidebar)—before and immediately, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after the stressor. The groups had similar hormone concentrations both at baseline and after restraint, but their recovery times differed. Whereas hormones in the adults returned to baseline after 30 minutes, those in prepubescent rats took 2 hours.

Dr. Romeo’s group next looked at what happens among the two age groups during chronic stress. Typically, animals subjected over time to the same kind of stress become habituated so the response is dampened. However, after repeated exposure to stress of some kind, a different stress produces an exaggerated response.

To produce this, the team placed prepubescent and adult rats in
one of three conditions with the mesh strainer: acute stress (30 minutes once), homotypic stress (30 minutes/day for 8 days), or heterotypic stress (30 minutes of cold exposure for 7 days followed on the 8th day by 30 minutes of restraint). The teenage rats reacted differently than the adults. Teens exposed to acute stress had the same results as in the previous experiment, but those exposed to homotypic stress did not become habituated. In the heterotypic stress experiment, they eventually habituated, but it took them longer than the adults.

The same concept is applicable in social bullying, according to Dr. Buwalda; due to personality and social
buffering, not everybody becomes victimized.

To prove this point, Dr. Buwalda’s group used two different rat strains: a male Wistar rat, which is highly domesticated, non-aggressive, and vulnerable to social stress, and a wild-type Groningen rat (from fields near the university) that has highly variable physiology and behavior. Each rat was exposed as an adolescent to a highly aggressive adult male wild-type Groningen rat. Three to six weeks later only the Wistar rats avoided contact with unfamiliar wild-type male as well as female rats. The Groningen rats never changed their behavior. Rats that were socially stressed as adolescents also had a reduced behavioral and physiological response to an adult social stress exposure.

“Rats that experience social stress during adolescence cope better with a social stress in adulthood because they show subordinate behavior,” said Dr. Buwalda, extrapolating that in humans, teen parents could ponder whether they’d want their child to be more subordinate later in life.

Adolescents who weather the worst storms may end up better off in adulthood, he concluded.

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