The Medical Chambers Kensington is able to offer the highest standards of consultation, diagnosis and treatment for a range of endocrine conditions - all in a caring and reassuring professional environment.
Endocrinology may not be as familiar a medical term as Dermatology or Cardiology but, simply put, it is the study of the structure and function of glands, which are responsible for releasing hormones in your body. These hormones control many different bodily functions, including metabolism, reproduction, sensory perception, movement, sexual development and growth.
Common endocrine conditions include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Hyperthyroidis(an overactive thyroid gland)
- Hypothyroidism (an underactive throid gland)
- Thyroid nodules
Less common endocrine conditions affect the:
- Pituitary adenomas
- Adrenal glands
- Ovarian glands
The overall goal of treatment for endocrine disorders is to restore the normal balance of hormones found in your body. So how can The Medical Chambers Kensington help?
Our private Endocrinology Service is provided by one of the leading specialists in the field. Dr Kevin Shotliff will talk you through your hormonal problem in detail and, after diagnosis, will agree a treatment plan with you. You can also be assured of comprehensive after-care and monitoring of your condition, with appointment times to suit you, including early morning and late evening and weekends.
Around 2 million people in the UK are known to have diabetes mellitus, often referred to simply as diabetes. But it is thought that there could be another million or so who are not aware that they have the condition.
The main symptoms of diabetes are:
- increased thirst
- passing urine frequently, especially at night
- extreme tiredness
- unexplained weight loss
- genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
- blurred vision
- slow healing of cuts and wounds
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. The condition is most common in children and those under the age of 40.
Type 2 diabetes
More than three-quarters of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, in which the insulin the body produces does not work properly. The condition usually occurs in middle-aged or older people, although younger overweight people are also at risk. It is also known to affect African-Caribbean and South Asian people at a younger age.
In both types of diabetes, symptoms are usually relieved quickly once treated. Early treatment will also reduce the chances of developing serious diabetes complications.
The aim of diabetes management is to keep blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible.
If you have Type 1 diabetes, you will need daily injections of insulin to achieve this. At The Medical Chambers Kensington we understand that the thought of injecting yourself can be alarming, and we provide reassurance and practical help so that you or your child feel confident about the process. Naturally, advice on diet and exercise is also part of our comprehensive treatment plan.
A healthy diet and exercise are often sufficient to control Type 2 diabetes, but it is sometimes necessary also to take tablets.
You will be shown how to do a simple blood or urine test at home to measure your glucose levels. This will enable you to adjust your insulin, food and activity levels according to your daily routine.
You will need at least an annual review with examination and blood screen, as well as eye-screening from a local Ophthalmologist.
Our professional, multidisciplinary and approachable team will provide you with all the information you need to feel confident about managing your condition.
Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland)
The thyroid gland, which is found in the neck, produces the hormones Thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). These are released into the bloodstream, helping to control the body's growth and metabolism.
An overactive thyroid - also known as thyrotoxicosis or hyperthyroidism - is a relatively common hormonal condition that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much Thyroxine or tri-iodothyronine. This can then speed up the body's metabolism, triggering a range of symptoms, such as:
- nervousness and anxiety
- unexplained weight loss
- swelling of the thyroid gland, which causes a lump, known as a goitre, to form in the throat
Women are 10 times more likely to have an overactive thyroid gland than men. In most cases, symptoms begin between the ages of 20 and 40, although they can start at any age, including in childhood.
An overactive thyroid gland occurs most frequently in white and Asian people, and less frequently in African-Caribbean people.
Following a detailed assessment, our specialist Endocrinology service at The Medical Chambers Kensington will offer a firm diagnosis and a clear explanation of the variety of treatment options, ranging from medication to (less frequently) radio-iodine treatment and surgery.
Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland)
An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) is where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Symptoms include:
- weight gain
- low mood or depression
- sensitivity to the cold
- dry skin and hair
- muscle aches
Both men and women can have an underactive thyroid, although it is more common in women.
Treatment involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, to raise your thyroid hormone levels, but you can be confident in the knowledge that the full range of treatment options available to you will be discussed during your consultation.
The term 'thyroid nodule' refers to any abnormal growth that forms a lump in the thyroid gland.
Some nodules can be felt quite easily, while others are hidden deep in your thyroid tissue or located very low in the gland, where they are difficult to feel.
The majority of thyroid nodules are benign. Our Consultant Endocrinologist, Dr Kevin Shotliff, will take a detailed history, examine you to determine if you have a nodule and what the gland feels like.
You will have a blood test to assess thyroid function; and ultrasound, radionuclide scanning and fine needle aspiration can be organised if necessary.
You will be pleased to hear that most nodules do not need to be removed, but suspicious or cancerous nodules are removed by surgery.
Our private clinic offers you the reassurance of comprehensive after-care and ongoing monitoring by a leading specialist in the field.
A lump in the pituitary gland (which sits in the base of your skull, underneath your brain and behind the bridge of your nose) is called a pituitary tumour or adenoma.
Almost always benign, these tumours occur in about 10% of the population.
At The Medical Chambers Kensington, you will receive a full assessment and clinical examination, as well as blood tests to measure levels of the various pituitary hormones. An MRI scan may also be arranged in some circumstances.
Pituitary adenomas usually do not need any surgery, since they respond very well to medication.
Nevertheless, patients in our private clinic receive the reassurance of comprehensive after-care including further blood tests, scans and visual assessment when needed.
The adrenal glands are two small structures on top of the kidneys that produce many hormones important to overall health and well-being.
Various diseases can result from the production of too much or too little of the adrenal hormones, including Addison's Disease (adrenal insufficiency), adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal tumors.
We diagnose the condition by measuring the level of adrenal hormones in your blood, urine and saliva. If we find abnormalities, a specialised scan can be arranged.
Treatment is usually with medication; but, if surgery is required, our Consultant Endocrinologist can direct you to a specialist surgeon.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the ovarian disorders that may require the expertise of an Endocrinologist.
Symptoms of PCOS usually become apparent during a woman's late teens or early twenties, and can include irregular periods or no periods at all and so you could have difficulty getting pregnant.
At The Medical Chambers Kensington, you will be treated with compassion and professionalism, and a treatment plan (which may involve medication or occasionally a simple surgical procedure) will be agreed with you.
With treatment, most women with PCOS are able to become pregnant.