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What You Need To Know About Thyroid Ultrasonography and Its Importance 

By Endocrinology

Thyroid ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the thyroid. It is a gland located in your neck that secretes hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, breathing, digestion, and weight. It is used to help identify swelling or enlargement of the gland.

Why Do I Need Ultrasonography?

The ultrasound identifies the cause of swelling or enlargement of the thyroid-gland. The ultrasound can help determine whether the gland enlarges due to a fluid-filled cyst or inflammation. Also, it helps to identify nodules, abnormal masses, and other thyroid-abnormalities. It would be best to visit any of our facilities in tampa, to consult a qualified doctor. Our medical personnel can perform ultrasounds, biopsies, and lab services. Also, we treat complex metabolic conditions like diabetes and obesity. For obesity, we have a comprehensive weight loss program.

Role of Ultrasonography in Thyroid-Disease

The ultrasound works to:

  • diagnose and monitor treatment of thyroid-cancer or goiter – makes it possible to detect and manage abnormal growth in the gland (a nodule, tumor, cyst).
  • Help diagnose another condition that affects the gland, such as infection or inflammation.

What Are the Risks of an Ultrasound?

No radiation remains in a person’s body from the ultrasound procedure. Risks associated with exposure to high-intensity sound waves during an ultrasound include:

  • No radiation remains in a person’s body from an ultrasound exam.
  • There are no known long-term risks associated with diagnostic levels of ultrasound.
  • Pain, brief discomfort, or mild irritation where the transducer is placed on your neck, if a person has inflamed tissues due to thyroiditis
  • Bruising at the site of the ultrasound

Preparing for the Ultrasound

Your endocrinologist will explain the procedure and offer you the chance to ask questions about the possible risks and benefits.

You should let them know if you:

  • have a pacemaker or any other implanted medical devices
  • have concerns about anesthesia (numbing medication) and want to discuss the options with your anesthesiologist

What Should Tell My Doctor?

Explain any allergies, including drug allergies you have. Let them know if you have anything that might interfere with imaging, such as metal objects in your body. Discuss past surgeries and procedures. Tell them about medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicine, herbs, vitamins, and supplements. Diagnostic tests may be recommended to help determine the cause of a thyroid disorder.

What Do I Need To Do?

You will be asked to sign a consent form that permits the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if anything is not clear. Tell them about your past and current health history, including recent illnesses, accidents, or trauma. Let them know if you have had any anesthesia in the past and how long it has been since you had surgery or anesthesia. Also, inform the physician if you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant. You can refuse treatment at any time during this process by saying “no” or refusing to sign the consent form.

How Is Ultrasonography Conducted?

The ultrasound is done in a doctor’s office or an outpatient center. If necessary, the doctor may do the test as an outpatient at a hospital or ambulatory clinic. The free-standing facility works for high-risk patients with difficult imaging studies or more complex procedures. The sonographer applies a conductive gel to the transducer and then presses it against your skin. You may feel pressure as they move it or discomfort when applying the gel, but the procedure is typically not painful for most people. Do not eat anything for four hours before having this test performed. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before the test. Wear comfortable clothing for your exam. You may be asked to wear a gown.

The Different Types of Ultrasounds

Several types of thyroid-ultrasounds may be done based on your specific medical needs, including:

  • Thyroid-sonogram – if your health care provider suspects you have a nodule or abnormal growth in the thyroid-gland. A sonogram can also help detect fluid around the thyroid-gland (cyst or goiter).
  • Follicular imaging – sometimes done if you have hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroid-vascular imaging – helps the endocrinologist assess the vascular supply to the thyroid-gland. A thyroid-vascular ultrasound may check for abnormal blood flow in or near the thyroid-gland.

Who Will Help You Understand Thyroid-Ultrasound Results?

A radiologist interprets your thyroid-ultrasound. This is a doctor who specializes in giving and interpreting diagnostic imaging studies. They will send their written report to your physician or health care provider within 24 hours of completing the test.

Normal: The ultrasound shows a smooth, soft gland without any nodules, cysts, or asymmetry and normal vascular pattern and compressibility.

Unusual: The ultrasound reveals the gland’s nodules, cysts, or asymmetry and an abnormal vascular pattern.

How You Will Get Your Results

Your health care provider will contact you with your test results within 24 hours. If needed, you will be scheduled for further testing or additional procedures at that time. If you have a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider, be sure to tell the staff that you had an ultrasound and when. Now that you understand ultrasonography and our services you can visit our facilities in Tampa, Florida for more information. We have many offices around this area for your convenience. Contact us. We will be more than happy to talk to you.

 

The dangers of thyroid scans and radio line treatment for pregnant women

By Endocrinology

The thyroid gland lives in the front of the neck. A diseased gland may become inflamed and swollen. Because an enlarged gland can impede breathing and swallowing, getting tested as soon as you notice any change in the gland is critical.

Signs There May Be A Problem With Your Endocrine System

Symptoms of a diseased gland can include a variety of conditions.

You may notice

  • a change in your weight for no reason
  • a change in your skin condition
  • a change in your mood, from feeling agitated to feeling depressed
  • constantly feeling worn out
  • always being too hot or too cold
  • an irregular menstrual cycle

If you are feeling tired and your period stops, the first assumption is that you may be pregnant. In addition to getting a pregnancy test, you will probably also want to get your gland checked so you can get in front of any illness or imbalances that need to be addressed quickly.

How an Endocrinologist Checks Your Glands

When you go in for a hormone test, you can expect to undergo a blood draw. This gland secretes the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). This illness can impact your body weight and your menstrual cycle, but it can also impact the regularity of your heartbeat.

In the event that your gland is overactive or underactive, you will need to have the gland itself scanned. Because the easiest way to look at the gland is to highlight the tissue with a radioactive product, your fertility status will need to be checked first. If you are currently breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, you are not a good candidate for any radioactive product.

The Scan Procedure

The scan procedure requires that you receive a radionuclide. Once ingested or injected, this radionuclide will embed itself in your gland so the gland will show up in a nuclear scan.

The risk to a woman who is pregnant is that there is a possibility that the radionuclide will cross the placental barrier. While changing up the dosages and extending the scan time can reduce the risk of breaching the placental barrier, avoiding this treatment unless absolutely necessary is wisest.

Radio Line Treatment

In the event that your gland is found to be diseased, cancerous, overactive or underactive, you may need to have radioiodine treatment to destroy the gland to avoid more serious disease in the future.

Radioiodine treatment is taken as a liquid or a capsule. The process of killing off the thyroid gland can take up to six months, so it is critical that you discuss your fertility plans with your endocrinologist before you undergo this treatment. The radioactive material will stay in your tissues for an extended time and may pass through the placental barrier should you become pregnant. This therapy is also not recommended for a woman who is breastfeeding.

Pregnancy Risks

One of the biggest risks in determining the best treatment for glandular disease is the chance of missing an undetected pregnancy in the earliest stages. When discussing your symptoms with your physician, carefully review your calendar to make certain there is no risk of an early stage pregnancy. Your Tampa endocrinologist can help you schedule a test to be absolutely certain.

For adolescent women under the care of a parent, the ability to have a frank conversation with your physician may be a worry. If your physician recommends the test as a matter of course, take it so you can be sure.

Other Glandular Connections

It is also possible that a problem with your thyroid is connected to other glandular concerns. The pituitary gland tells the other gland to release T3 and T4. When T3 rates go up, the pituitary gland is informed that it needs to back off stimulating hormone production. Any breakdown in that communication loop can lead to too much or too little hormone production.

One step further up the line is the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is not a gland, but is the core of your brainstem. This primitive region of the brain is closely tied to the function of your responses to emotional stress, such as the panic response or the fight or flight response.

In the event that the hypothalamus is not functioning well, or the pituitary gland is not transmitting the right data, this critical gland could appear to the cause of the problem. A blood test will probably not be enough to track down the source of your condition.

In the event that your hormone levels are not within normal levels, you will need to get additional testing done. If you are of child-bearing age, take the opportunity to get a pregnancy test to avoid the risk of transmitting radiation across the placental barrier to the fetus.

The Role of Cytology Adequacy Assessment

By Endocrinology

Cytology adequacy assessment is the process of determining if a specimen meets the requirements defined by law for adequate cellularity. If a specimen does not meet these requirements, it may be rejected and/or re-examined.

Adequate cellularity consists of two components: appropriate numbers of cells for adequate interpretation and the presence of both squamous epithelial cells (SCC) and endocervical cells. The first assessment is made using the microscopic evaluation, while the second can only be ascertained by taking a cytology brush specimen from an area that has not been previously sampled.

This article will include what cytology adequacy assessment is, why cytology inadequacy assessment occurs, and some examples of this in practice.

What is Cytology Adequacy Assessment?

Adequacy assessment is the process of determining if a specimen meets the requirements defined by law for adequate cellularity. If a specimen does not meet these requirements, it may be rejected and/or requalified. Adequate cellularity has two components: appropriate numbers of cells for adequate interpretation and the presence of both squamous epithelial cells (SCC) and endocervical cells.

The first assessment is made using the microscopic evaluation, while the second can only be ascertained by taking a cytology brush specimen from an area that has not been previously sampled. This article will include what cytology adequacy assessment is, why cytology inadequacy assessment occurs, and some examples of this in practice.

Cytology Adequacy Assessment for the Thyroid

Cytology adequacy assessment is used in various ways for all types of fine-needle aspiration biopsies, including some which are not yet standardized, such as thyroid FNAB performed by an endocrinologist. The use of cytology adequacy assessment is most commonly associated with the evaluation for malignancy, where any tumor cells present must be adequately sampled to allow the pathologist to make an accurate diagnosis. Small amounts of neoplastic cells or relatively poor cellularity may preclude an adequate sample from being taken. Cytologic adequacy assessment is also used when there is a question of contamination.

Contamination can be present in a FNAB when there are cells that appear to be benign on cytology but could represent a hematogenous spread of malignant cells from another site. In this case, further evaluation (fine needle aspiration or open biopsy) is warranted to evaluate for the presence of cancer. However, in some instances, it could also occur due to inadequate specimen cellularity if the sample has not been taken high enough into the gland. This results in an interpretation that does not accurately reflect the true tumor extent, and treatment decisions may be based on incorrect information leading to unnecessary surgeries or radiation therapy.

Cytology adequacy assessment is performed by looking at both endocervical and squamous epithelial cells. Therefore, the specimen should include both cells from the uterine cervix and thyroid gland for evaluation of adequacy. In addition to looking at the adequacy of cellularity, one must also evaluate the extent of sampling concerning needle tract length (the distance between initial puncture site and final location where tissue is collected) within the gland as well as the position of needle tip when collecting sample.

How is the Procedure Performed?

To evaluate for adequacy, the cytologist in Tampa must assess the amount of aspirate collected and the number of cells present in an adequate sample. The technologist will note if there was an adequate amount of fluid obtained and also count how many cells are present on a slide at low power. If the amount of fluid is inadequate, another cell block may be prepared from the same area and submitted for evaluation.

The second assessment involves the interpretation of endocervical cells as well as squamous epithelial cells (SCC). Looking for both SCC and cervical epithelium allows identification of non-epithelial contaminants within FNAB specimens, which could be misdiagnosed as malignancies. Looking specifically for SCC has been shown to be more accurate than looking at all squamous epithelial cells, as SCC makes up only about 20% of the total squamous population.

The presence of cervical endocervical and glandular tissue is also important for the evaluation of adequacy in cervical cancer biopsies, though some institutions evaluate adequacy using cellularity alone.

Limitations:

There are limitations with cytology adequacy assessment which include the fact that it can only be used for evaluable specimens. Therefore not all patients will have their specimen reviewed by a pathologist trained or experienced in stringent criteria required for adequate criteria. In addition, this review is not performed in every institution, and there exists variation between different medical facilities on the interpretation of; adequate, adequate with modification, or inadequate categories. The adequacy rating also does not take into account the presence of nodules which may have significant risk for malignancy, and therefore additional evaluation and follow-up would be needed for patients with these findings.

If low cellularity is present in a suspected malignant FNAB, it is likely due to sampling error as opposed to a true tumor defect. However, if SCCs are identified, this could indicate a hematogenous spread of neoplastic cells from cervical or upper aerodigestive tract sites. Furthermore, cytology adequacy assessment cannot assess adequacy using frozen sectioned tissue, so it does not give an accurate interpretation of sampled areas when dealing with patients who had previously undergone surgery.

In summary, cytology adequacy assessment is a tool used to evaluate whether the sample was collected high enough in the gland, whether it was collected long enough (the needle tract), and how many cells were adequate for interpretation of diagnosis and clinical management.

No single assessment criterion or rating system can completely replace the pathologist’s visual examination of adequacy during the evaluation of FNAB specimens. However, having this information available as an adjunct to clinical and radiologic features as well as pathology allows for a complete review. The physician should also be made aware that no guidelines have been established for frozen section adequacy, but some studies have shown that cytology adequacy assessment using frozen sections gives similar evaluations to those obtained from formalin-fixed tissues.

Reference:

Bomeli, S. R., LeBeau, S. O., & Ferris, R. L. (2010, April). Evaluation of a thyroid nodule. Otolaryngologic clinics of North America. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2879398/.

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.

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