The main glands of the endocrine system are the adrenal glands, ovaries and testicles, pancreas, pituitary gland, parathyroid glands and thyroid gland. These glands secrete hormones (chemical messengers) into the circulation which have an effect on specific organs of the body.

Endocrinology and diabetes is predominantly an outpatient specialty but a number of patients require hospital admission for complex investigations or the management of complications. Furthermore, at least 15% of hospital inpatients have diabetes mellitus or other endocrine conditions. Increasingly, hospital-based specialists manage diabetes patients jointly with colleagues in primary care and training has been adjusted to reflect this. Patients usually have chronic conditions and management is holistic and long term often in a multidisciplinary team fashion.

Endocrinologists and diabetologists treat conditions such as:

  • diabetes mellitus
  • thyroid disease
  • lipid disorders
  • endocrine disorders of the reproductive system, such as polycystic ovary syndrome
  • adrenal disease
  • bone and calcium disorders
  • pituitary disease
  • endocrine late effects of cancer treatment