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Endocrinology comes from the Greek and means the science of hormones. Hormones are messenger substances in our body that dock with specific receptors and thus control all important bodily functions. Each hormone has a specific receptor in which it fits like a key in a lock.
Endocrinologists are concerned with the diseases of hormone-producing glands (such as the thyroid, ovaries, testes, adrenal glands or pituitary gland) or disease states that are triggered by excesses, deficiencies or other complex dysbalances of hormones.
Hormonal imbalances can sometimes cause very nonspecific symptoms, so it is often very complicated to make the right diagnosis. Patients often have a long ordeal behind them until the right diagnosis and therapy is found. Typical symptoms that often lead patients to the endocrinologist are fatigue, fatigue, weight gain or loss, missed periods, changes in body hair, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, sweating, palpitations or hot flushes, to name but a few. These symptoms may conceal a hormonal imbalance, but other disorders, such as Hide depression, chronic diseases of various causes or inflammatory diseases.
Some hormone disorders can also be associated with specific and typical symptoms. Thus, in Graves' disease a combination of the typical signs of hyperthyroidism such as palpitations, inner restlessness, weight loss in combination with ocular changes such as the appearance of eyeballs (exophthalmos), eye burning, pressure, tears and pain.
When more specific symptom constellations occur, for example, the family doctor can help and take on a pilot function. Often a further specialist medical examination can then be helpful.