8 Fascinating Endocrinology Statistics for 2024

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Endocrinology is the study of the endocrine system, which is the network of hormone-producing glands throughout the body; this network includes the pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, and the ovaries or testes. 

Whether you’re having trouble losing weight, having children, regulating your sleep cycle, or keeping your temper, it’s more than likely that you need the help of an endocrinologist, a specialist who works to keep this entire glandular system balanced and functioning properly. It’s a remarkable area of medicine, and we’ve gathered some of the most interesting statistics related to the growth and utility of this specialty.

1. Diabetes affects 415 million people worldwide

(International Diabetes Foundation)

While we think of diabetes as being only about blood sugar, it’s actually an endocrine disorder, because it’s related to the production of the hormone insulin in the pancreas. This disease is caused by either the underproduction of insulin or the body’s inability to properly use insulin, and it can lead to serious health complications throughout the body, including reduced circulation in the extremities that could require amputation.

The International Diabetes Foundation estimates that over 700 million people worldwide will be diabetic by the year 2045 if the medical community does not find more effective interventions.

2. Obesity rates have tripled in the past 50 years

(World Health Organization)

Many cases of obesity are caused by dysfunction of the endocrine system; on the other hand, obesity itself can spur greater hormone problems, as the adipose tissue stores and releases harmful hormones that can lead to other diseases. The World Health Organization notes that world obesity has tripled since 1975 due to a combination of factors, including greater access to processed foods, more sedentary lifestyles, and less preventative healthcare.

3. One in ten women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

(Office on Women’s Health)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormone disorder where a woman’s balance of sex hormones are out of proportion, causing cysts to form on the ovaries; in turn, it can lead to systemic hormone imbalances, such as diabetes. Over 10% of women worldwide suffer from PCOS, and it is one of the leading causes of infertility in women.

4. Thyroid problems impact 2.5% of the world’s population

(National Institutes of Health)

The thyroid, which regulates metabolism, is also prone to disorders. Overproduction of thyroid hormones, called hyperthyroidism, can cause severe weight loss and rapid heartbeat, while underproduction can cause weight gain and a slower heart rate. It’s estimated that over 200 million people suffer from thyroid problems worldwide, though many go undiagnosed; a lack of iodine in the diet is a major contributor to thyroid problems, which is why many products in Western countries are fortified with iodine.

5. There are only about 7,000 endocrinologists in the United States

(Association of American Medical Colleges)

Throughout America, there are currently 6,968 endocrine specialists, with only 58.4% of those being doctors. It is one of the less common specialties, though not the rarest.

6. It takes between 14 to 16 years to become an endocrinologist

(Medical University of the Americas)

Aspiring endocrinologists must complete four years of undergrad and then four years of medical school; after that, they will finish a residency of about four years. Finally, an endocrinologist takes on a fellowship position, which lasts around two to three years, after which they will take a certification exam and receive their medical license. 

7. These specialists are usually paid over $260,000 a year


Over a decade of experience, coupled with the low number of physicians in the country, means that these specialists can command high salaries. While pay varies by region, the average salary for an endocrinologist is $262,502 per year. In expensive regions like Los Angeles, an endocrine specialist may make as much as $450,000 a year.

8. Endocrinologists are highly in demand and will only grow more so as the population ages


The medical specialty board PracticeMatch listed over 406 endocrinology jobs at the time of writing, which is a remarkable number given that there are only 7,000 endocrinologists in the United States. It’s expected that the need for these specialists will grow much fiercer in the coming decades, because aging Americans will develop endocrine disorders such as diabetes and osteoporosis. There will also be a need for endocrine specialists in research settings in order to help develop medications and therapeutic interventions for the rising levels of obesity and diabetes.

9. Small lifestyle interventions can help reduce the effect of endocrine disorders

Though medications and surgeries are viable options for many hormonal issues, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many endocrine problems, including diabetes and PCOS, can be greatly reduced by a healthy lifestyle, including frequent exercise and a balanced diet. 

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day, including a balance of cardio and strength training; don’t forget that everyday activities like walking the dog, vacuuming, and yard work can count as exercise if done at the right intensity. Eat a variety of healthy foods, including plenty of fresh vegetables and lean meats. Finally, avoid liquid calories like sweetened coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol, because these will add to your waistline without making you feel full.