-Dr. Tejal Lathia
I crossed paths with Dr. Lopa Mehta, a professor at the prestigious KEM Hospital and a mentor, on the way to the library while I was working as a Senior Registrar there. When she found out that I was preparing for the DM exam, she said – “Take Endocrinology. Dr. Nalini Shah told me that Endocrinology is a very rewarding branch”.
(Dr. Nalini Shah is a Professor in Endocrinology and a stalwart in the field)
Up until then, Cardiology had always been my aim, and this was the first time I considered another option. Coincidentally, my junior at the time in the Medicine ward was also very keen on endocrinology and kept talking about Endocrinology all the time.
Now almost 15 years later as an Endocrinologist, I am very grateful that the Universe led me to it.
One of the best things about Endocrinology is that it has a large component in prevention. It is a discipline where we can provide good quality of life for people with chronic conditions by medications; the treatment does not need any major surgeries or procedures like a bypass or dialysis. Most people can get better and remain well. Treat diabetes well, prevent eye, kidney, and heart problems. Replace hormones in Hypogonadism and prevent osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome. Manage obesity well and prevent a dozen diseases.
It is the branch that has seen huge innovations, and this is where Endocrinology is way ahead of the other specialties. Endocrinology has made giant leaps in technology (Continuous glucose monitoring sensors and insulin pumps), in pharmacology (GLP1 R analog and SGLT2 inhibitors for diabetes), and digital therapeutics (lifestyle interventions delivered on a digital platform through apps). The innovations also keep me on my toes, forcing me to constantly read, update myself and grow professionally.
And lastly, these are my personal OPD statistics.
Most of my patients are women, in the age range of 31-40. And this seals the deal for me. These are women at the start of their careers, grappling with periods, fertility, pregnancy, childcare, domestic and professional duties. They are the lynchpin of the family and yet, their health is often neglected as they juggle their myriad roles. Listening to their struggles, providing care to them is a source of untold fulfillment for me. I feel so privileged to support women where there is often none in our patriarchal society.
So, if we go back to where I started this article. Endocrinology found me but I grew to love it. What I feel is, that if you are certain of what branch you love and are fortunate enough to get to practice it, more power to you. Often, fate and the crazy medical system in India may foist off a branch on you that you did not choose. But that does not mean that you cannot grow to love it. That you cannot find meaning and purpose in it. The Universe has a plan for each one of us and surrendering to it often gives unexpected happiness and fulfillment.