Getting Started – Info
Getting Information on Your Condition
It is often said that “Information is Power” and the same can be said of getting information on your own medical condition. Knowing more about your condition may not make you any better in itself, but in a round-about way it may do. Having a greater understanding allows you to ask more in-depth questions to your doctor or specialist and perhaps take more of a part in choosing or tailoring your treatment options.
Getting a deeper knowledge of one’s medical condition isn’t for everybody, but it can be an interesting and rewarding experience.
Don’t Scare Yourself. It is very easy to scare yourself with information, especially if there is nobody to explain it to you. The largest hurdle in the beginning is the cryptic terminology for medical conditions, and the general jargon and abbreviations used in medical texts. Another very large hurdle to leap over in understanding is working out the interactions between things. The good news is though, once a few basic things start to sink in, the more complicated matters start to make a bit more sense. The key is not to expect to understand everything.
Where to Start? A good place to start of course is the Pituitary Foundation and its leaflets. Your second port of call will be to ask your doctor for a print out of your test results and to ask him or her to explain your condition further, and question any of your results. This may seem very obvious, but it is surprising how “filtered” the information can be from your doctor, often for good reason.
People. Meeting other people with endocrine disorders can teach you something about this vast subject, and help you through the difficult times. If you haven’t been to a local Pituitary Support meeting for a while, then why not come along? Another great font of knowledge is from doctors themselves in a more informal setting – ask your GP if you can take part in any talks, meetings or research on your condition. You’ll be surprised at how much fun it can be at times and how much you can learn!
Books. A great place to get a footing into the vast subject of Endocrinology would be a basic book on Endocrinology, perhaps one geared more for nursing staff. One example book is a book called “Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes – An Illustrated Colour Text” (Shern L Chew, David Leslie ISBN 0-443-07303-1). It’s a slim book, of 112 pages, with full colour photographs and useful clear diagrams covering endocrine disorders. Not too in-depth, or terribly complicated, so it’s very easy to dip in-and-out of and so get an overall appreciation of endocrinology.
Stepping up to more heavyweight material is the excellent thousand-page “Greenspan’s Basic & Clinical Endocrinology” (DG Gardner, D Shoback ISBN 0-07-144011-9). The book summarises itself well with with the words “The Number One all-inclusive endocrinology reference text – completely revised and updated”. It’s very in depth, and could be more than enough for your study. Obviously aimed at the medical profession so expect a steep learning curve. It has useful reference ranges of hormones at the back of the book, and a brilliant introduction in the front. It’s not very extensively illustrated, but the ones that are in there are clear and help with ones understanding.
Research in Endocrinology is going through such exciting changes, and as patients we can get copies of publicised research. Development in this field have lept forward in very recent years. It seems like since the “human genome” was coded the researchers are now finding receptors and then trying to work out what acts upon them. This is a big shift from the past when it was the hormones that were known, then trying to find the receptor for them. See published articles at Karger.com, especially looking for articles in “Hormone Research” and “Neuro-endocrinology”. Printed copies can be bought from the site, or from sites such as Amazon.co.uk. The journals are not cheap though, costing as much as filling a whole tank of fuel in a family car. The research will however take you on a much more worthwhile journey.
Buckle up, and good luck with that journey!
Next time, we’ll review some books on specific pituitary conditions. Please use the “Comment ” or “Leave a Reply” link below to send me your ideas and suggestions (however brief).