SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- Unexplained weight loss, increased appetite, fatigue, or increased thirst; they seem like small problems, but they could be pointing to a much bigger issue. Endocrinologists look at these symptoms to see if your glands are at the root of the problem.
"You have to detect the disease early so you can follow the recommendations and avoid long term complications," said Losty T. Torres Potter, a MercyOne Siouxland Endocrinologist.
Detecting that disease early and monitoring glands and hormones are key specialties for endocrinologists.
"If a gland is enlarged, it may be releasing a lot of hormones," said Dr. Torres Potter. "It might be causing unbalances the way energy is managed in the system. The reason why we need to make sure everything is good."
But the most common disease she sees patients for is diabetes.
"60 or 70% of the cases is diabetes or management of the pancreas," said Dr. Torres Potter. "Most of the patients have uncontrolled type 2 diabetes which is the one that comes because we usually don't follow a diet, which is healthy, we are overweight or obese."
She emphasizes, if left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious problems.
"You can have eye disease, that you can get blind," said Dr. Torres Potter. "You can have kidney disease and end up getting hemodialysis. You might have amputations because of your decreased sensation in your hands and foot. It is very serious if you don't get your diabetes under control."
A concern for Dr. Torres Potter, the amount of younger patients she is seeing.
"I do have patients at a young age, 35, 32, that they are obese," said Dr. Torres Potter. "With obesity comes insulin resistance and then you develop Type 2 diabetes."
She said to prevent diabetes from developing, people need to make lifestyle modifications like changing your diet, losing weight, and exercising.
Dr. Torres Potter said on top of diabetes they also focus on the adrenal glands and the thyroid gland. People that experience hyperthyroidism can notice problems such as trouble breathing and swallowing, persistent fatigue, and palpitations.