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Endocrinology

Radioiodine Therapy – An Important Treatment for Your Thyroid

By | Endocrinology

The thyroid gland is extremely important for overall health. The hormones produced and stored have an effect on our metabolism and on virtually all of the organs in the body. Radioiodine therapy has been effective treatment for more than 60 years for certain thyroid diseases.

What is Radioiodine Therapy?
The thyroid gland is unique, requiring large amounts of iodine in order to function. It is the only bodily tissue that takes up and retains iodine. Iodine is “pumped” into the thyroid’s cells, where it becomes concentrated and is known as iodide.

Iodide is made radioactive and given to the patient in either liquid or capsule form. It is absorbed by the thyroid and is able to destroy thyroid cells, but it has little effect on the rest of your body.

When Would an Endocrinologist Recommend Radioiodine Therapy?

Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid)
Before effective treatments were developed, the death rate was 50% for those suffering from severe hyperthyroidism. Today, few people die from this disease. An endocrinologist treats hyperthyroidism with surgery, antithyroid drugs and radioiodine therapy depending on the circumstances. Treating hyperthyroidism with radioiodine therapy doesn’t increase the risk of thyroid cancer for the patient.

Radioiodine therapy is typically effective, safe and easy. It is often an endocrinologist’s first treatment choice for hyperthyroidism. The patient usually receives the maximum benefit from this treatment within six months.

Thyroid Cancer
Since the thyroid gland absorbs just about all of the iodine in your body, radioiodine therapy is often used to treat the two most common forms of thyroid cancer, papillary cancer and follicular cancer. This treatment can also be used following surgery to eradicate any remaining cancer cells.

Can a Pregnant Woman be Treated With Radioiodine Therapy?
Before treatment, pregnancy testing is required. If a woman’s pregnancy is discovered after being treated, consult a gynecologist as terminating the pregnancy should be considered.

Breast-feeding isn’t allowed following radioiodine treatment. The baby’s thyroid could be damaged by even a tiny amount of radioactive iodine in the mother’s milk. Both men and women should postpone having a child for at least six months.

In the Tampa Bay area, Bay Area Endocrinology Associates has multiple board certified endocrinologists treating thyroid and metabolic conditions, including Dr. Pedro I. Troya. Since the practice is focused on a single specialty, they have the experience needed for the most challenging thyroid conditions.

How to Choose a Great Endocrinologist 

By | Endocrinology

It can be unsettling enough to learn you have thyroid problems but then comes the confusion of having to find an endocrinologist. It may not seem like it now, but this is a position of power. It’s scary to be sick, but an endocrinologist is a path to finally getting some answers. This specialist is an important team member in your quest to really understand your thyroid issues and gain control over them. With a few easy steps, the process of searching will feel much less intimidating.

Check Your Insurance Plan
We’re starting here because it’s often the deal-breaker when looking for a new doctor. It’s disappointing to get excited over your top pick, only to find they are not in your network. Checking this first gives you a list of qualified providers your plan will allow you to use without penalty. There is usually a number you can call on the back of your insurance card to find out which physicians are in your network. Luckily, there are many endocrinologists in Tampa, which gives you quite a lot of choice.

Ask Around and Research
Now that you’re armed with a workable list, you can begin your research. You can check with your friends, family and social media connections to see if anyone has had experience with a physician on your list. Your other doctors may have recommendations for you as well. You can check the AACE (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) website as well. Research each doctor online and check out their website. Look at their education and how involved they are in their field.

Decide Your Preferences
Each person, depending on their needs, will have their own ideas for what makes a great doctor. You might want one that specializes in the thyroid as opposed to someone who is a generalist or specializes in diabetes. Perhaps you want a doctor who is near another you visit regularly. You may need an office that is near your home, work or public transportation. Some people even choose a doctor that participates in the same sport they do, so they will be on the same wavelength. Deciding what’s important to you will help you narrow it down.

Write Down Your Questions in Advance
It’s easy to get flustered when meeting new doctors and forget to ask all the questions you were thinking about before your appointment. Writing them down in advance, when you are calm and collected, will make sure you cover all the bases.

Bring the List with You
Bringing the list with you will help ensure you don’t forget anything important. You can even create the list on your phone, so you’ll know for sure you have it with you.

Don’t feel bad about your questions. Think of your body as a company that is hiring team members. Interviews are very important in this process and will pay dividends by landing you a doctor with whom you can really communicate. You’ll find your endocrinologist is the MVP in managing your thyroid dysfunction.

Pay Your Top Picks a Visit
If there isn’t already a clear choice, a visit to your favorites will help you decide on someone. You will likely see your endocrinologist for many years, so you want to feel welcome and comfortable in the office. Is the seating comfortable? You may be waiting on days you don’t feel very well. Is the staff welcoming? They will be your primary point of contact when making appointments. Break out your list. Does the doctor answer your questions in an informative way? You’ll want your condition and your medications explained in a way you can understand. You want to be able to trust that they hear your questions and will respond with appropriately informative answers.

Don’t be Afraid to Change Your Mind
We can feel like everything we decide is permanent and we are stuck now, but it’s not true. We have power over our choices. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It’s okay. It’s not a mistake. You just learned something, and you can move on. If you aren’t happy with your endocrinologist, you are free to choose another. Simply start at the top of the list and work your way down again. Be sure to note what bothered you about the last doctor, so you can make sure it’s not an issue with the new one.

Putting it All Together
We’re hoping this article has taken away some of the overwhelm our prospective patients can feel when faced with having to choose a new doctor amidst a health crisis. We’d like to invite you to take a look around the website and check out our experience. If you feel comfortable, we’d love to hear from you and discuss how we can help you manage your thyroid challenges.

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.

Diagnosis

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.

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.

Diagnosis
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.

Complications
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 https://thyroiddoctortampa.com.

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.

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.

Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism: Which One Do I Have?

By | Endocrinology

Overview Of Thyroid Disorders

If you’re one of the approximately 14 million people in the U.S. who have an undiagnosed thyroid disorder, you may be wondering why you’re always tired, or why you’ve lost weight when there are no other mitigating factors. Your problems may stem from a thyroid disorder. A normally functioning thyroid produces hormones that help keep your body in homeostasis, which means that all of your systems are working together to maintain a healthy body. The two hormones that your thyroid gland produces are called triiodothyronine, orT3, and tetraiodothyronine, or T4. These hormones regulate bowel function, pulse rate, temperature sensitivity, metabolism, and other body functions. When the thyroid doesn’t produce enough of these two hormones, it’s called hypothyroidism; when it produces too much of them, it’s called hypothyroidism. Grave’s disease is the most common presentation of hypothyroidism and you may notice additional symptoms such as bulging eyeballs, vision problems, ridges in your fingernails, and thickening of the skin near the ankles.

Do You Have Hypothyroidism Or Hyperthyroidism?

If you have hypothyroidism, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:

-Exhaustion, no matter how much sleep you get

-Unexplained aches and pains in your joints and muscles

-Dry skin

-Intolerance to cold temperatures

-Constipation

-Depression

-Brittle fingernails and hair

 

If you have hyperthyroidism, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:

-Tiredness

-Inability to concentrate

-Increase in your appetite

-Enlarged thyroid gland/swelling at the base of the neck

-Insomnia or trouble sleeping

-Agitation and/or nervousness

-Intolerance to heat

-Increased bowel function

-Increased perspiration

-Trembling hands

-Weight loss that’s not attributable to other factors

-Increased pulse rate

 

What Causes Thyroid Disorders?

Thyroid disorders are an autoimmune function and statistically, those who have one autoimmune disorder are more likely to develop another autoimmune disorder. Arthritis, for example, is an autoimmune disorder so if you have arthritis, you may be more prone to develop another autoimmune disorder, such as thyroid disease. Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your own cells because it perceives them as invaders. Antibodies are released and this results in inflammation and cell damage to the area.

Although the exact cause of autoimmune disorders isn’t yet known, medical science speculates it to be a combination of both environmental and genetic factors. Thyroid disease isn’t thought to be contagious, but if one family member has it, it’s more than likely that another family member will develop it. One twin is 30 percent more likely to develop Grave’s disease if the other twin has it, and those who live in the same household are more likely to develop the disease even though they aren’t biologically related.

 

How Are Thyroid Disorders Diagnosed And Treated?

In order to confirm a diagnosis of a thyroid disorder, your endocrinologist will order a blood test, which will indicate whether your T3 and T4 levels are too high or too low. If they’re too high, it may indicate you have a hyperactive thyroid, if they’re too low, it may indicate that you have an underactive thyroid. Other test options may include a radio iodine uptake test or a thyroid scan.

Treatment of hypothyroidism is simpler than treatment of hyperthyroidism. If you have hypothyroidism, your endocrinologist may prescribe additional thyroid hormone for you to take on a daily basis. This will supply the necessary hormones to your body and should alleviate many of your symptoms. You’ll most likely need periodic blood tests to ensure that your level of thyroid hormone is adequate for your endocrine system. Lifestyle changes such as pregnancy, weight loss or gain, activity decrease or increase, and many other factors have the potential to change your requirement of thyroid hormones, so following your endocrinologist’s recommendation for blood tests is important.

Treatment of hyperthyroidism is more complex. In the past, surgery was sometimes used to remove the hyperactive thyroid but modern medicine typically uses less invasive procedures. Since there are limited ways to make an overactive thyroid less active, it’s usually treated with either radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medication. Radioactive iodine is administered orally and may require some safety precautions but it isn’t absorbed by other cells in the body. The objective of the radioactive iodine treatment is to kill some of the thyroid cells so that the overall production of thyroid hormone is reduced. There’s the possibility, however, that too many thyroid cells will be eliminated and the body will then be in a state of hypothyroidism. To date, there’s been no evidence that use of the radioactive iodine pill causes cancer.

Anti-thyroid medications take longer to be effective because they gradually slow your thyroid’s production of hormones to a normal level. Sometimes this is a permanent cure and sometimes it isn’t. This method also takes longer than the radioactive iodine treatment, sometimes up to a year, and there’s the possibility of a relapse. These medications can have side effects and may not be appropriate for everyone.

Those who live in the Tampa area and have additional questions about their thyroid symptoms can contact Bay Area Endocrinology and schedule an appointment or have their questions answered by one of our friendly and caring staff. Dr. Pedro Troya and Dr. Carlos Fumero specialize in the treatment of all types of thyroid disorders, including cancer and complex metabolic issues. Multiple locations ensure that there’s an office near you that will help you find a solution to your thyroid issues.

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