General Endocrinology Info

WHAT IS ENDOCRINOLOGY?

Endocrinology testing involves the measurement of hormones, which are regulatory substances produced in the body and transported in the blood to control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs.

WHAT ARE HORMONES?

Hormones are essential for every activity of life, including the processes of digestion, metabolism, growth, reproduction, and mood control.


Many hormones are secreted by special glands:

  • Thyroid gland: thyroid hormones
  • Testes (males): testosterone
  • Ovaries (females): oestrogen
  • Adrenal glands: adrenalin, cortisol
  • Pancreas: insulin

The secretion of hormones is generally regulated by other hormones that are secreted in specialized areas in the hypothalamus and the pituitary in the brain. There are feedback loops that are often affected by the time of day, sleep, exercise as well as glucose and other chemical levels – this coordinates how the body responds to stress, growth and living day to day.

WHY DO WE NEED TO TEST HORMONE LEVELS?

Physicians order hormone testing to establish whether the levels in patients with clinical features suggestive of various types of hormone imbalance are possibly too high, too low or to confirm that they are indeed normal.


In addition, patients with previously diagnosed hormone imbalances are routinely tested to check the effectiveness and/or correct dosing of their hormone treatment.


Ampath offers approximately 30 different hormone tests and our pathologists support physicians in understanding and interpreting test results.

LINKS & RESOURCES