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Diabetologists and Endocrinologists (DE) are medical doctors who investigate, diagnose and treat disorders of the endocrine system

This page provides useful information on the nature of the work, the common procedures/interventions, sub-specialties and other roles that may interest you.

Nature of the work

The main glands of the endocrine system are the adrenal glands, ovaries and testicles, pancreas, pituitary gland and thyroid gland. These glands secrete hormones (chemical messengers) into the blood or lymph 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 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.

Endocrinologists and Diabetologists treat conditions such as:

  • Diabetes mellitus thyroid disease
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome and reproductive disorders
  • Adrenal disease
  • Bone and calcium disorders
  • Pituitary disease

Common procedures/interventions

These include:

  • Programmed investigations for complex endocrine disorders
  • Pre and post-operative management of endocrine patients and patients with diabetes
  • Management of diabetic and endocrine emergencies such as ketoacidosis and hypercalcaemia
  • Management of diabetes and endocrine conditions during pregnancy


Many endocrinologists and diabetologists develop sub-specialty interests such as:

  • Diabetes in pregnancy
  • Paediatric and adolescent diabetes and endocrinology
  • Diabetic renal disease
  • Diabetic neuropathy and foot problems
  • Diabetic eye disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Pituitary and adrenal disease
  • Reproductive endocrinology
  • Metabolic bone disease
  • Neuroendocrine tumours

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