Diagnose and treat disorders that affect metabolism.
What does a Metabolic Doctor do?
A Metabolic Doctor is an Endocrinologist who specializes in metabolism. What is metabolism? If you’re a fan of fairy tales, you’ve no doubt heard of Rumpelstiltskin, an impish creature who could spin straw into gold. Although that’s not possible in real life, something almost as spectacular happens all day, every day inside you: Like a biological Rumpelstiltskin, the body spins food into energy through a process known as metabolism.
Unfortunately, the spindle sometimes breaks. When it does, only a Metabolic Doctor can fix it.
As a Metabolic Doctor, therefore, you treat patients who suffer from metabolic disorders that slow down, stunt, or sometimes even stop the body’s metabolism, which hinders the body’s ability to convert foodstuffs into energy, turn nutrients into the building blocks for cells and tissues, and get rid of waste products. Such disorders include metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, Tay-Sachs disease, Wilson’s disease, leukodystrophies, albinism, and diabetes, and the effects can range from weight gain, fatigue, nausea, and cramping to organ failure, coma, and even death.
Like most Physicians, your job is twofold. First, you diagnose metabolic diseases and disorders, which often requires a battery of tests ranging from blood tests, urinalyses, and skin biopsies to MRIs, spinal taps, and genetic screening. Second, you treat them, which might require prescribing medications, performing surgery, or simply advising on diet, nutrition, and exercise. Because many metabolic disorders are inherited, your job might one day include gene replacement therapy, too, in which case you’ll collaborate with a Geneticist to isolate and replace the metabolic genes in your patients’ DNA.
With or without the benefit of cutting-edge gene therapy, however, your job is the same: Like an Auto Mechanic, you tinker with the body’s broken metabolic engine until it’s humming again!