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What exactly is the difference between a diabetologist and endocrinologist? My son is 18 and has had diabetes since he was 13. He has excellent control. His doctor is an endocrinologist.


Endocrinology is a rapidly expanding branch of internal medicine that cover the body's hormone action (endocrine system) and its pathophysiology in human endocrine clinical syndromes. The endocrine system includes the pancreas (the scattered islets of Langerhans where insulin among other hormones is produced), the pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, gonadal and parathyroid glands as well as the neuroendocrine, renal, gastrointestinal and other organ systems.

There is no clear cut difference between an endocrinologist and a diabetologist: an endocrine doctor who is mainly dealing with the care of people affected by the endocrine disorder of the beta cells of the pancreatic islets which is called diabetes mellitus becomes a diabetologist.

Your son's doctor can be a good diabetologist also if he has got enough experience over his clinical practice in dealing with young people affected by diabetes and their families. If this is not the case, I would suggest you to ask for the nearest diabetes team with a pediatrician in the staff who is primarily involved in the care of adolescents with diabetes.


Original posting 15 Mar 1998
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