What does an endocrinologist do?
If your doctor suspects you have a hormone imbalance, they may refer you to
an endocrinologist. This is a special type of doctor who’s trained to diagnose
problems with your endocrine glands. These glands release hormones into your
body. They include your:
- parathyroid glands
- pituitary gland
- adrenal glands
Your doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist if you have diabetes. They
may also refer you to one to help diagnose or treat other conditions, such as:
- growth problems
- thyroid disease
What should you look for?
It’s important to consider a few factors when you’re choosing an
endocrinologist, including their:
- areas of focus
- eligibility for insurance coverage
Ask your primary doctor, family members, or friends for recommendations. You
can also research different specialists online.
Make sure your endocrinologist is board-certified. That
means they’ve been certified by a medical specialty board. For example, the American
Board of Internal Medicine requires doctors to complete a special exam
before becoming certified in the field of endocrinology, diabetes, and
Areas of focus
When you’re researching endocrinologists, pay attention to their areas of focus.
This can help you match their expertise to your needs. For example, if you need
help managing diabetes, look for someone who focuses on that disease. The American
Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website allows you to search for
specialists by area of focus.
It’s also important to learn if your health insurance covers the endocrinologist.
Once you have someone in mind, call your insurance company and ask if they’re
in your network of coverage. In some cases, your insurance company might need
you to meet certain criteria before they’ll cover the cost of specialty services.
What questions should
Finding a board-certified endocrinologist that’s covered by your insurance
is an important first step. Then, consider interviewing them to learn if you’ll
be comfortable working together. If you’re uncomfortable discussing your condition
or lifestyle with them, it will be hard to build a trusting relationship.
For example, if you’re visiting an endocrinologist for diabetes-related
concerns, you’ll need to talk to them about your weight, eating habits, and
efforts to manage your condition. Ask them how they plan to help you control
your weight and blood sugar. Look for someone whose approach fits your needs.
You should also ask them how often you’ll get to see them and when you’ll
see other members of the staff. It’s helpful to find one who’s accessible when
you need them. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and others may be
qualified to help you with certain issues.
Your doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist to help
manage diabetes or other conditions. Take some time to research your options.
Look for a specialist who’s board-certified and has expertise in a relevant subject
area. Then, meet your prospective endocrinologist in person to learn if their
approach is a good fit for you.