The human body has several glands that secrete small amounts of substances called hormones. Important among these are the pituitary gland in the brain, thyroid gland in the neck, and the adrenal glands, positioned above each kidney. Sometimes, when people feel tired, they hold these glands responsible. A qualified endocrinologist should be able to provide answers about glandular health, and then provide any associated treatment if required.
The thyroid, a specialized, horseshoe-shaped organ located in front of, and to the sides of the upper portion of the trachea, secretes thyroid hormone and calcitonin. The thyroid is responsible for the body’s overall metabolism. Sluggishness may be associated with thyroid dysfunction.
The adrenal glands, located on the top of each kidney, secrete epinephrine, norepinephrine and steroid hormones such as cortisol. Epinephrine, or adrenalin, as it is commonly known, is a powerful stimulant that can increase heart rate, among its metabolic effects. Cortisol may aid in stress management because it helps the body maintain immune function.
Fatigue can make people feel worn out and less effective at their jobs. Sometimes a rest is in order, but sometimes a physical checkup is in order.
Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of one or more glands. These doctors are well-trained experts who have studied the physiology and pathology of glands, and who provide care to patients with endocrine and metabolic diseases.
An endocrinologist may order laboratory blood, saliva, or urine tests that can help determine whether fatigue is organic or situational. Common tests include T4 and TSH to check thyroid function, and cortisol test for adrenal function.