Metabolic Medicine

Metabolic Medicine is a sub-specialty allied to chemical pathology (clinical biochemistry). Doctors working in metabolic medicine combine an understanding of biochemistry and metabolism. They deal with adult patients where the chemical processes in the body do not function properly and may cause various health problems.

This page provides useful information on the nature of the work, the common procedures/interventions and other roles that may interest you.

Nature of the work

The work of doctors in metabolic medicine is very varied, but the overall aim is to improve the quality of patients’ lives and treat their metabolic health conditions.  This is a relatively new specialty and helps patients both with common and rare diseases.  The opportunities for pursuing research interests are excellent.

The range of work in includes treatment of:

Metabolic medicine is a sub-specialty, not a full specialty in its own right. It is possible to study it together with general internal medicine (GIM), but almost all trainees link it with chemical pathology. It has its own GMC curriculum, and in this way it’s different from other medical sub-specialties (except stroke medicine). The clinical work in metabolic medicine fits well alongside the laboratory work of chemical pathology. The biochemical investigation of patients with metabolic problems is intellectually stimulating and satisfying, and it is planned to incorporate the metabolic medicine curriculum into that for chemical pathology in the future. 

The job varies according to the parent specialty that you decide on, although whichever specialty you chose, you’ll have very close links with the hospital’s biochemistry laboratory. Where chemical pathology is your chosen parent specialty, you will see patients in specific areas of metabolic medicine, predominantly in the outpatient setting. You’ll also probably lead the hospital’s biochemistry laboratory, and spend a major part of your working week ensuring a high-quality laboratory testing service and liaising with primary and secondary care colleagues about the interpretation of results.

You’ll typically hold between one-three out-patient clinics each week in a range of areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular risk or renal stone disease, and be a member of the hospital’s nutrition Team. You’ll work closely with colleagues in other specialties; for example with surgeons for management of parathyroid disease, renal stones or obesity. You may also pursue particular academic interests within metabolic medicine.

If you choose to combine metabolic medicine with GIM, you will generally work with patients who have metabolic inherited diseases. This is also open to those training in chemical pathology, although if you wish to specialise in this area, you may need additional post-CCT experience.


Common procedures/interventions

There are many different procedures and interventions in metabolic medicine and these include:

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Other roles that may interest you

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