Kristen T. Hull, MD
Hospital Affiliation: Orange Regional Medical Center; Catskill Regional Medical Center
According to Kristen T. Hull, MD, the increasing prevalence of diabetes made the practice of endocrinology an easy choice for her “to help as many people as I can to better manage this growing epidemic.” A graduate of Cornell and the Temple University School of Medicine, Hull says she loves her patient relationships and believes that “listening to the patient — and actually hearing what they have to say — is very important.”
What drew you to the specialty of endocrinology?
I realized endocrinology was a fast-growing specialty. There were many new drugs for people with diabetes and it was an exciting time for the specialty. Also, endocrinology is not an organ-specific specialty; hormones affect the entire body. They affect growth, metabolism, and reproduction. Because of this, I see patients with a variety of conditions, which makes for an exciting and very interesting practice.
Ketogenic diets are all the rage right now, and many people have reported “curing” their T-II diabetes by eating extremely low-carb. What are your thoughts on this?
A ketogenic diet is very restrictive. It is a low-carb, high-fat diet. The goal is to have the body use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. The potential hazard is the production of ketones, which can be dangerous, and patients should always discuss with their doctor first before starting this diet. I prefer my patients to follow a well-balanced diet that is both low-carb and low-fat and can be maintained long-term.
What is metabolic syndrome and what are the best ways to prevent and/or treat it?
Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that increase your risk for a number of chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. The risk factors include: a large waistline or excess abdominal fat; a high triglyceride (fat found in the blood) level; a low HDL (good cholesterol that removes cholesterol from your arteries) level; hypertension; and high blood sugar. Weight loss, good diet, and exercise are helpful in reducing these risk factors.
What, exactly, is a hormonal imbalance and are there any telltale signs or symptoms a person should look for if they suspect they have one?
Hormonal imbalance can occur at different times, such as before and during your period or a pregnancy, or during menopause, for example. Some medications and health conditions can also cause hormones to fluctuate. Typical symptoms may include constant fatigue, persistent weight gain despite diet and exercise, low libido, irregular menstrual cycle, acne, and mood swings, to name a few.
What are the most common hormonal disorders you see in men and women, and is there anything a person can do to balance their own hormones?
In men, it would be diabetes and testosterone deficiency. In women, diabetes, hypothyroid, and osteoporosis. Treat your body right, eat healthy, and keep physically active. Take care of yourself and be the healthiest you can be: That’s the best advice I can give. And go see your endocrinologist to answer your questions/concerns to help guide you.