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Your Thyroid and the Obesity Cycle 

By Endocrinology

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the throat. It is responsible for regulating metabolism. Hormones released by the thyroid gland are essential to the way your body uses energy. A sluggish thyroid can cause increased weight gain and difficulty losing weight. However, moderate to severe weight gain can also cause thyroid conditions.

How Thyroid Conditions Cause Obesity

A properly functioning thyroid is important for weight loss. Since the thyroid regulates metabolism, any condition that interrupts proper thyroid function can contribute to weakness, fatigue, and weight gain. There are two ways your thyroid can contribute to weight gain.

  • Hypothyroidism is any condition which causes the thyroid to produce too little of the hormones needed for proper metabolism.
  • Hyperthyroidism is any condition that causes the thyroid to overproduce thyroid hormones. While these conditions often cause weight loss, they can cause your body to burn calories so quickly that you are often hungry and overeat.

Since hypothyroidism causes the thyroid to become less active, it is the most common reason patients with thyroid problems experience obesity. There are many factors that lead to these conditions.

  • Autoimmune disorders are conditions in which the immune system mistakes healthy cells for diseases. Some of these disorders affect the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an inflammatory autoimmune condition, and the most common disorder causing hypothyroidism.
  • Radiation therapy used to treat tumors in the head and neck can cause hypothyroidism.
  • Treatment for hyperthyroidism can occasionally reduce thyroid function too much, causing permanent hypothyroidism.
  • Previous thyroid surgery can require a large amount or even total removal of the thyroid. These patients must take thyroid hormones.
  • Medications can cause an underactive thyroid. Lithium is the most common.

How Obesity Contributes to Thyroid Conditions

Your thyroid condition may not be the cause of your obesity. Sometimes, obesity is the cause, or at least a major contributor, to a thyroid condition. Recent studies suggest that obesity may cause thyroid dysfunction.

Excess fat can alter the structure and activity of the thyroid and possibly lead to autoimmune disorders. Obesity also carries inflammatory properties that can slow thyroid function. There is evidence that thyroid function returns to normal in children after weight loss.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Weight gain is not the only symptom of hypothyroidism. There are many other health issues that arise with the condition. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to serious complications including heart problems, infertility, and mental issues. Hypothyroidism in pregnant women can affect the developing baby. If you think you are suffering from a thyroid disorder, it is important to get a diagnosis from your endocrinologist. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

  • Dry skin.
  • Fatigue.
  • Changes in menstrual cycle.
  • Weight gain.
  • Sensitivity to cold.
  • low heart rate.
  • Goiter or swelling of the thyroid gland.
  • Depression.
  • Dry hair and hair loss.
  • Constipation.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.


Since hypothyroidism is most common in older women, a thyroid screening may occur with a routine physical exam. Pregnant women may also be tested as a precaution.

Diagnosis is based on symptoms and the amount of certain hormones found in the blood. In the past, hypothyroidism was difficult to diagnose until symptoms were fairly advanced. Now a blood test can detect levels of a pituitary hormone called TSH. The pituitary gland produces more TSH in an effort to stimulate an underactive thyroid gland. Elevated TSH and low levels of a thyroid hormone called thyroxine are an indication of hypothyroidism.

If your medical history and blood tests lead to underactive diagnosis, imaging tests will usually follow. Imaging tests may help determine whether nodules are present or the size of a goiter. Some imaging tests can help determine hormone production of the pituitary gland. Required imaging tests may include:

  • Ultrasound – An ultrasound of the thyroid may reveal a goiter or nodules on the thyroid. The test can determine size of the growth or if it has features that indicate cancer.
  • Needle biopsy – Occasionally, a needle biopsy may be necessary to gather cells from a nodule. The cells can then be examined under a microscope.
  • MRI – MRI or magnetic resonance imaging may be used to study the brain and the pituitary gland. An MRI may be used to discover a tumor affecting the pituitary gland.

Your doctor may need to rule out other conditions before diagnosing hypothyroidism. The symptoms of underactive thyroid vary widely, and may be easily missed or misdiagnosed. Other possible conditions may include anemia, fibromyalgia, or sleep apnea.

If you are suffering from obesity related to a thyroid problem, a Tampa endocrinologist can help. A specialized team of doctors will examine your medical history, run tests, and apply targeted treatment to heal your personal thyroid issues.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis In Depth

By Uncategorized

One of the most common thyroid disorders is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, also known as autoimmune thyroiditis. Although it can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, the typical patient with this condition is a woman between the ages of 30 and 50.


The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and sits below the Adam’s apple in front of the neck. Two hormones are released from the thyroid that regulates several important body functions. Some of these functions are metabolism, body temperature, muscle strength, weight, skin dryness, levels of cholesterol, and menstruation.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis results when the immune system attacks the thyroid. As a result, the thyroid produces less hormone (also referred to as hypothyroidism). This process usually occurs over several months or even years before symptoms are significant enough to be noticed.


Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis are fatigue, an enlarged thyroid (also called a goiter), constipation, dry and thinning hair, depression, constantly feeling cold, and irregular or heavy menses.


A combination of a physical exam, medical history, and blood tests are used most often to diagnose Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The blood tests measure the levels of thyroid-stimulating Hormone (TSH), T4, and antithyroid antibody. When the TSH and antithyroid antibody levels are higher than normal while the T4 levels are lower than normal, this usually indicates a patient has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Less frequently, an ultrasound or a computerized tomography (CT) scan are used to confirm a diagnosis.


Treatment of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is usually simple and effective. Synthetic T4, also known as thyroxine, is the standard course of treatment. Levels of thyroxine are regularly monitored with blood tests and the dosage is adjusted as necessary.

If you are in the Tampa area and experience the symptoms mentioned above, please contact your endocrinologist to get a diagnosis and begin treatment.

Handling Hashimoto’s Thyoiditis: A Condition You Can Manage

By Endocrinology

When all is going well, you probably don’t think too much about your thyroid. The hormones that this gland releases, however, contribute to many important bodily functions. These include, but are not limited to, breathing, controlling your heart rate, regulating your body temperature and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks thyroid tissue, making it difficult or impossible for your thyroid to function properly. Fortunately, Hashimoto’s is easily treatable.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
In people with Hashimoto’s, the body turns on itself an attacks thyroid tissue in the same way it does bacteria and viruses. This causes the thyroid to become inflamed and irritated. Most people don’t feel any pain or discomfort in the thyroid area directly, but that doesn’t mean you won’t notice a problem. Inflamed thyroid tissue struggles to function and often can’t do so. As a result, the thyroid releases less of the hormones the body requires. This leads to a wide variety of problems and symptoms throughout the body, many of which you can easily mistake for something other than thyroid trouble.

Causes of Hashimoto’s
Doctors and scientists don’t know for sure what causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Some feel that bacteria and viruses trigger the condition while others blame genetic flaws. Women experience Hashimoto’s seven times more oftenthan men, suggesting that hormones may play a role. Other theories include excessive amounts of iodine in the body and radiation exposure. Age plays a role, as well, with most new cases of Hashimoto’s diagnosed in middle age.

Hashimoto’s Symptoms
In its early stages, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis often fails to cause any symptoms. You may also feel fine but notice unexplained swelling in your throat. You’re also likely to feel tired and run down. Other symptoms include:

  • Puffiness in the face
  • Difficulty getting and staying warm
  • Constipation
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Stiff joints
  • Muscle weakness
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Excessively long menstruation

As you can see, the symptoms of Hashimoto’s are quite varied and you can easily mistake some of them for other issues. This disease may also present as hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) because the inflammation limits the thyroid’s ability to function. While these issues by themselves don’t always point to thyroid problems, it’s important to visit your doctor if you’re experiencing them. If your doctor can’t find the cause, it’s time to see an endocrinologist.

Diagnosing Hashimoto’s thyroiditis requires medical testing. Your Tampa endocrinologist will perform blood test to check the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. If your thyroid isn’t working properly because of Hashimoto’s, your thyroid hormone levels will test low while your pituitary hormone levels will read high. This happens because your pituitary gland will increase hormone production in an attempt to stimulate your thyroid and spur it to action.

Your doctor will also check your blood for certain antibodies. Antibodies are proteins that your body makes when you fight an infection. These antibodies attach bacteria and viruses to keep you safe and healthy. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an immune disorder in which your body will make antibodies that erroneously attack the body’s own tissue. Your doctor will look for specific thyroid-attacking antibodies as part of the diagnostic process.

Thyroid Treatment
In mild cases of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, your doctor may suggest doing nothing. So long as your thyroid continues functioning properly, he may see no reason to intervene. Instead, he’ll likely monitor you with periodic blood tests to keep an eye on your thyroid in case you need treatment in the future.

If you need treatment now, your doctor will prescribe synthetic hormones to boost your levels and restore balance in your body. You will receive this medication through a pill or as a periodic injection. Although you should expect to need this medication for the rest of your life, it will regulate your hormone without intrusive side effects or the need for surgery or more complicated treatments. When treatment begins, your endocrinologist will want to see you for a blood test in a few weeks to make sure your medication dosage is correct. After this initial dosage verification, you’ll likely need annual blood tests. If your Hashimotos’ progresses over time, your doctor will adjust your medication dosage as needed.

After a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it’s crucial that you follow your endocrinologist’s instructions and take your medication as prescribed. Hashimoto’s is fairly easy to control with a drug regimen, but it can cause serious complications if left untreated. You could develop a large mass called a goiter in your throat. Goiters are unsightly and can interfere with swallowing and breathing. Because thyroid hormones help regulate cholesterol, a lack of them can increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lead to heart problems.

Pregnant women with uncontrolled Hashimoto’s experience an increase in the likelihood of birth defects and anyone can develop depression or other mental health issues. Although rare, people with untreated Hashimoto’s may also experience a life-threatening medical emergency known as myxedema. Triggered by stress on the body such as cold temperatures or infection, myxedema causes extreme drowsiness and lethargy followed by unconsciousness and possible death.

Although Hashimoto’s disease can cause serious problems and complications if left untreated, it’s easy to diagnose with simple blood tests and just as easy to treat. if you’re feeling under the weather and can’t figure out why, visit a local Tampa endocrinologist to check your thyroid. The sooner you get the answers you need, the sooner you can get back to feeling good and living a healthy life.

Detecting and Treating Thyroid Problems

By Endocrinology

The thyroid gland is a small but vital organ that has immense power over the human body. Similarly, a disorder in the thyroid can have some serious implications to your health. An endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in detecting and treating thyroid problems. Such specialty services are available from the physicians at Bayarea Endrocrinology in Tampa.

Understanding the Thyroid Gland

Wrapped around the windpipe, the thyroid is located in close proximity to the voice box. It is part of the human endocrine system, which means it produces hormones that in many ways affect the functioning of the body. These functions include your appetite, the absorption of nutrients, regulation of the heart and the control of your sleep patterns. The thyroid plays a particularly important role during the adolescent period, when the body is rapidly growing and undergoing other physical changes. The defective operation of the gland can result from different factors and create different types of health problems.

The Effects of a Dysfunctional Thyroid

The thyroid itself is controlled by a hormone that is produced elsewhere in the body. A disruption in this hormone can thus cause improper production by the thyroid. The gland can also be affected by tumors that, in a relatively small number of cases, can be cancerous. Excessive hormone production by the thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism, can lead to such conditions as loss of appetite, insomnia and muscle weakness. An underactive gland, known as hypothyroidism, can have similar or different effects, including abnormal weight gain and a reduced heart rate.

Treating a Defective Thyroid

An endocrinologist will use different techniques to check the thyroid and determine whether it is functioning properly. The simplest method involves a visual examination and the feeling of the neck area. An enlarged thyroid, a condition known as a goiter, may at that point be obvious. Blood tests and even ultrasound equipment can also be used in detecting thyroid deficiencies. Anyone living in the Tampa area who suspects a thyroid problem should turn to the type of services available from the experts at Bayarea Endocrinology. Visit them at

Your Health and an Underactive Thyroid

By Uncategorized

Hypothyroidism is a common medical disorder that affects millions of people. An underactive thyroid does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. Your thyroid controls how your body uses energy. If you have an underactive thyroid, you might feel sluggish. The condition can also affect your heartbeat and body temperature. For most people, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the cause of an underactive thyroid. It is an autoimmune disorder that attacks your thyroid. It causes your body to produce antibodies, and the antibodies can destroy your thyroid gland. Thyroiditis can cause inflammation and viral infection.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

Radiation therapy can also cause hypothyroidism. When radiation damages the cells, the thyroid gland has to work harder. Radioactive iodine treatment can destroy the thyroid gland. Surgery and medications can also cause an underactive thyroid. The human body does not produce iodine, and an iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism.

Side Effects of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can cause cardiovascular problems, infertility, and obesity. If a pregnant woman has an underactive thyroid, the disorder can affect the fetus. During the first trimester, the mother supplies the thyroid hormone. If the mother has an underactive thyroid, the disorder can affect the baby’s mental development. If a person has an extremely underactive thyroid, the disorder can cause myxedema. Myxedema can cause a person to lose consciousness.

Common Risk Factors

Older women are more likely to be diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. The most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid are constipation, depression, fatigue, and carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with a Tampa endocrinologist.

A synthetic thyroid hormone can treat hypothyroidism. Certain medications can interfere with the synthetic hormone, so you should speak with your endocrinologist about any medications you are currently taking.

Coffee and Thyroid Medications

By Endocrinology

More than 30 million people may have undiagnosed thyroid disorder. Thyroid symptoms can be subtle or severe. Sometimes, drastic lifestyle changes can heal a thyroid disorder. However, some people need conventional treatment options. Many people treat thyroid issues with hormone replacement medications. Some people take their medication with a cup of coffee. New research has shown that coffee can interfere with thyroid medications.

Coffee and Thyroid Medication

Caffeine and decaf coffee can affect absorption. The warning might not be listed on the medication. Nevertheless, several studies have confirmed the link between coffee and thyroid medications. The medication will not work if it is not fully absorbed. Caffeine will affect your adrenal glands. The stimulant will also make you produce more adrenaline.

Options to Consider

A study found that coffee reduced hormone replacement drugs by as much as 36 percent. The amount is equivalent to skipping a pill twice a week. When your body does not absorb the medication, your TSH will increase. Your active thyroid hormones will drop. You will experience mood changes, weight gain and fatigue.

When the medication is taken with water, the medicine can be fully absorbed. If you are going to drink coffee, you should drink your coffee an hour after taking your medication. You can drink coffee first thing in the morning if you take your medication in the middle of the night. You should speak with your doctor before changing your routine.

If you want to switch to a new medication, you should ask your endocrinologist about Tirosint. Coffee does not interfere with Tirosint. The medication is safe for people who have absorption problems, digestive issues, and allergies. If your medication is not treating your symptoms, contact your Tampa endocrinologist. Your doctor will run tests and review your medical history.

All About Endocrinology

By Endocrinology

The glands in the human body are not very large, but they have a significant impact on your health. From the thyroid gland to the pancreas to the sex organs, a proper glandular function is very important in keeping all of the body systems working correctly. With that in mind, here’s some information about how an endocrinologist can help keep you healthy or treat problems like thyroid disease from Bay Area Endocrinology Associates in Tampa, Florida.

About the Endocrine System

The endocrine system includes all the glands of the body – the thyroid, parathyroid, pineal, hypothalamus, pancreas, ovaries, testes, adrenal and pituitary glands. Each of these has a specific function or group of functions and secretes one or more hormones directly into the bloodstream to regulate those functions. For example, the pancreas secretes insulin, which regulates the blood sugar. The thyroid secretes thyroid hormone, which regulates metabolism.

What’s an Endocrinologist?

An endocrinologist is a physician who is trained initially in internal medicine. After completing medical school and residency, the next step is two to three years in an endocrinology fellowship. Endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism is a recognized sub-specialty of the American Board of Medical Specialties and most endocrinologists become board-certified after they complete fellowship training.

What Does an Endocrinologist Do?

Endocrinologists treat patients who have endocrine gland disorders such as too little hormone (like diabetes) or too much hormone (like hyperthyroidism). Other hormone-related conditions include menopause, osteoporosis, metabolic disorders, growth deficiency and cancers of the endocrine glands. Endocrinologists may also treat patients who have conditions related to endocrine function; people who have low thyroid, for example, are more likely to be overweight.

At Bay Area Endocrinology Associates, we specialize in disorders of the thyroid, related problems like obesity and other endocrine disorders. If you have such a problem, please contact us for an appointment.

Why is Your Thyroid Gland So Important?

By Uncategorized

Your thyroid is a gland that is found in the lower, front section of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It wraps around the windpipe (trachea) and supports the voice box (larynx). It is a rich source of blood vessels, and it has a shape that resembles a butterfly because of its two side lobes that are joined in the middle by a bridge (isthmus).

The function of the thyroid gland is to manufacture and store the body’s important hormones that support the internal regulation of your body temperature, blood pressure levels, and the heartbeat rhythm. These hormones circulate through the bloodstream and impact the performance of every tissue and cell. The thyroid gland hormones also play a significant role in your growth pattern, metabolism, and the conversion rate of food into energy.

Iodine is the main component that enables the thyroid to make two vital hormones known as T4 (Thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). A third important hormone made by the thyroid is calcitonin. This hormone activates bone cells to increase bone calcium. The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland that is located at the base of the brain and weighs less than 2 ounces. This gland signals the thyroid gland during the production of hormones by a system called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).

When the pituitary and thyroid glands are working properly, there are no adverse effects. However, higher TSH signals from the pituitary gland resulting in lower thyroid performance. Lower pituitary TSH signals will result in higher thyroid performance. Low levels of thyroid hormones are known as hypothyroidism, and it causes your body’s systems to slow down. Conversely, high levels of thyroid hormones are known as hyperthyroidism, and it causes nervousness, irritability, and rapid heart rhythms.

Thyroid disorders manifest in many forms. Some symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include swelling in the thyroid area, tiredness, brain fog, constipation, weight gain, and sore muscles. Some symptoms of an overactive thyroid gland include anxiety, fast heartbeat rate, diarrhea, weight loss, frequent perspiration, and increased risk of diabetes.

If you have any doubt that you, or a loved one, may have a malfunctioning thyroid gland, it can be diagnosed by a visit with a board certified Tampa Endocrinologist, . A defective thyroid can sidetrack your normal performance. The sooner you have a thyroid disorder treated, the sooner you’ll be back on track.

How to Choose the Right Endocrinologist for You

By Endocrinology

Hormones have control or influence over most of our body functions. Energy levels, growth, and reproductive health are all dependent on the right hormones being secreted at the right time. Even our mental health and mood are affected by the presence of these potent biochemicals.

Hormonal imbalances can become chronic and lead to drastic changes in the way you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. Choosing an endocrinologist providing prompt, comprehensive, and competent care throughout all phases of treatment is crucial. In addition, hormones affect the most private and sensitive functions of our bodies. Finding a specialist with whom you feel relaxed and comfortable is also important. Here are suggestions to consider.

Ask your Primary Care Doctor

Your family doctor can be an excellent starting point in your search. Primary care doctors relate to endocrinologists frequently. They also share treatment plans and outcomes with one another. Choosing a specialist your general practitioner recommends may also ensure better communication and coordination when managing chronic conditions.

Consult Association Directories

Every specialty has their own association. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has provider searches within a certain-mile radius of your location to assist you. In addition, there are also websites, such as Healthgrades, which supply vital information regarding schooling, certifications, specific areas of interest, and gender. Many of these sites also supply reviews and testimonials from patients they have served, providing insight as to bedside manner, responsiveness, and attentiveness.

Call Your Insurance Company

Choosing an in-network provider will save you both time and money, allowing you to concentrate on your treatment and recovery. Many people choose this as a starting point when conducting their search.

Research Hospital Affiliation and On-site Services

Hospital access may be required either as an inpatient or for outpatient services. Research hospitals in your area to determine which offer the highest standards and best outcomes for your condition. Many hospitals have physician referral services to connect you with endocrinologists affiliated with their system. Look for physicians performing their own testing and treatment services. Specialists with on-site labs can offer the convenience of managing your condition in-house.

Bay Area Endocrinology Associates in Tampa, Florida specializes in a comprehensive treatment approach for all thyroid conditions. On-site lab, and ultrasound services are provided, meaning shorter wait times and fewer trips to off-site diagnosing facilities. Specialty services are also available for other metabolic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and other hormone deficiencies.

Thyroid Disorders: Too Fast or Too Slow

By Endocrinology

The Thyroid is the Body’s Gas Pedal

The thyroid gland is the body’s accelerator. It controls the speed of your internal body functions, known as your metabolism, by secreting hormones which speed things up. When your body needs to slow down, the thyroid decreases the production of these hormones. Another gland in the brain, the pituitary gland, keeps tabs on the thyroid and secretes its own stimulator to motivate production when levels are low. Disorders and diseases mainly affect the amounts of hormones produced in two ways: too much or too little. The result is a metabolism that is too fast or too slow.

Too Much Means Too Fast

When your thyroid is producing too much of its hormones, you have a condition known as hyperthyroidism. The easiest way to remember symptoms associated with the condition is the word, “hyper.” Metabolism is abnormally fast, and you will probably feel restless, agitated, and anxious. You will have trouble sleeping and may lie awake with your mind racing, regardless of how tired you are. You may shake. Your heart will race, and you may feel hot even though your AC is set to turn your house into a deep freeze. You also use the bathroom more frequently and will lose weight although you can’t stop eating. Your endocrinologist will probably perform tests to rule out Grave’s Disease and examine your neck for lumps and bumps known as adenomas or nodules. You may also experience neck swelling referred to as a goiter. It is very important to see your doctor as a potential crisis may occur that can threaten your life known as thyroid storm.

Too Little Means Too Slow

Hypothyroidism is the exact opposite. It results from an under-producing thyroid. It is easier to remember, “hypo rhymes with low and metabolism is slow,” when describing the symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of an underactive thyroid, you will feel tired, you will have no energy, and may even be sad. Mood swings are common. The fact that you are gaining weight regardless of how little you eat, make them even worse. You will feel cold a lot, and everyone may wonder why you are wearing a sweater in July. Everything seems to slow down, even your bowel habits. You may forget things and feel weak. Your endocrinologist will perform tests to rule out causes such as Hashimoto’s Disease or thyroid tumors.

Pedro I. Toya of Bay Area Endocrinologist Associates offers comprehensive services to treat thyroid disorders. He does all his laboratory testing and diagnostics on site offering a one-stop center. In addition, services for advanced metabolic conditions, diabetes, and weight management are available.

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