Your endocrine system contains eight major glands that make hormones which affect metabolism, growth, sexual function, fertility and mood.
The tests an endocrinologist orders are designed to diagnose hormone-related diseases ranging from diabetes to osteoporosis.
An endocrinologist uses five blood sugar tests to diagnose diabetes.
Random plasma glucose test measures blood sugar without regard to when the patient last ate.
Fasting plasma glucose test looks at blood sugar in a patient who has not eaten for at least eight hours.
Two hour after meal glucose tests how high your blood sugar rises after a meal.
Oral glucose tolerance test for blood sugar after a patient fasts for at least eight hours, and two hours after he drinks a sugary solution.
Hemoglobin A1C test measures your average blood glucose during the last 90 days.
The thyroid gland is located at the front of the neck below the voice box. The hormones it releases affect metabolism, weight, cholesterol levels, muscle strength, brain development, breathing and functioning of the heart and nervous system.
The TSH test, which measures thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood, is the primary test an endocrinologist uses to diagnose and monitor thyroid disease.
T4 and T3 tests measure the amount of inactive or active thyroid hormone, respectively, that is available to body tissues.
The thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin test and the antithyroid antibody test tell an endocrinologist whether a patient has Graves' disease or Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
A thyroid ultrasound gives information about the structure and size of the thyroid gland. It can identify benign or suspicious nodules, which can be further investigated with fine-needle aspiration biopsy.
Radioactive iodine uptake test and a thyroid scan shows the function or dysfunction of the thyroid gland.
Blood tests look at levels of insulin-like growth factor and measure growth hormone during an oral glucose tolerance test to detect excessive hormones, which cause extreme height, increased head size, headaches, cardiac dysfunction, high blood pressure and prediabetes.
Too little growth hormone stunts height in children, and adults with the disorder may have increased body fat, decreased muscle and bone mass, high cholesterol and insomnia.
To check for growth-hormone deficiency, an endocrinologist may administer a growth-hormone stimulation blood test. This test is done at speciality academic centers.
An endocrinologist may also order magnetic-resonance imaging of the pituitary and hypothalamus glands to see if a tumor is causing growth-hormone problems.
A reproductive endocrinologist prescribes tests to check hormones released from sex organs.
A serum progesterone test measures the level of the hormone progesterone and indicates whether ovulation has occurred.
A follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) blood test can test for the stage and status of the menstrual cycle.
The progestin challenge test involves giving progestin for five days to check whether the ovaries are producing estrogen. Vaginal bleeding within 14 days of the test indicates adequate estrogen.
Patients whose bodies release too much or too little calcium into the blood may have a disorder of parathyroid hormone.
An endocrinologist may order a test to check the level of calcium in the blood, as well as a 24-hour urine test to measure calcium in the urine. In the 24-hour urine test, the patient collects all of her urine over a 24-hour period in a container and takes it to the lab for analysis.
- Add section on Office procedures and tests
Diagnosing and Treating Diabetes
- 3-day continuous glucose monitoring
- Insulin pump training, education, and management
- Hemoglobin A1c in-office
Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid Disorders
Ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy – an in-office procedure to obtain a sample of a thyroid nodule to rule out cancer.
When FNA biopsy results are unclear, we recommend Afirma® Thyroid FNA Analysis by Veracyte. This advanced genetic test helps differentiate benign from malignant nodules in many cases, ultimately helping patients avoid unnecessary, expensive, and invasive surgery.
Other Diagnostic Tests
- EKG – measures electrical activity of the heart
- Spirometry – lung function test