Metabolic Medicine

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 of chemical pathology and to a much lesser extent general internal medicine. It has its own GMC curriculum, and in this way it’s different from other medical sub-specialties (except stroke medicine). Metabolic medicine training is taken alongside training in either chemical pathology or general internal medicine.

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. If you choose to combine metabolic medicine with general internal medicine (GIM), you will generally work with patients who have metabolic inherited diseases. You may also pursue particular academic interests within this field.

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 pathology laboratory, and spend part of your working week ensuring a high-quality laboratory testing service.

Doctors working in metabolic medicine generally deal with adults over the age of 18. Paediatric inherited metabolic medicine is a subspecialty within paediatrics, involving the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of children with inherited metabolic disorders. About one in every 2500 children born in the UK will have an inherited metabolic disease. Newborn babies are routinely screened for one of seven such diseases via the heel prick blood test. These diseases can often be successfully managed by diet and sometimes drugs with much improved life expectancy and quality of life overall.  

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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