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Endocrinology

Thyroid Nodules

By Endocrinology

Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths that form lumps on the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland that is located in the lower front portion of your neck. These growths are very common and no one yet knows the cause of them. In cases of hypothyroidism, there is a higher risk of nodules growing. Fortunately, most nodules are benign and do not contain cancer. However, in rare cases, they can be cancerous.

Thyroid nodules typically do not have any symptoms. It is important to know that many thyroid tests may have normal results, despite having cancerous nodules present. This is why it is vital to be sure your doctor examines your neck and feels your thyroid gland during your routine visits. Many nodules can be felt by a professional. Ultrasounds of the thyroid can be performed to get a closer look at the gland and any nodules it may contain. In rare cases, nodules can grow large enough to be plainly visible by the eye or cause pain, difficulty breathing, or difficulty swallowing.

If nodules are present, a blood test and ultrasound may be ordered to check the function of the thyroid overall as well as any suspicious features of the nodules themselves. Nodules may also be biopsied by a fine needle in a nearly painless and simple procedure. Most times, no cancer is found and nodules can be left alone unless they are large enough to cause difficulty breathing or swallowing. However, if cancer is found, it may be determined that the best course of action is to remove the thyroid.

At Bay Area Endocrinology Associates, we are a team of endocrinologistswho specialize in all thyroid-related disorders including but not limited to: nodules, cancer, and overactive and under-active thyroidfunction. We also focus on a number of other metabolic disorders. We are located in Tampa, Florida. Please give us a call if you have any metabolic or thyroid concerns.

Get the Facts About Osteoporosis

By Endocrinology

Osteoporosis is a type of bone disease that occurs when too much bone is lost, not enough bone is made or a combination of both. This causes the bones to weaken and puts patients at high risk for fractures. In the United States, approximately 54 million people have osteoporosis.

Exploring the Causes

When healthy, the bones look like a honeycomb when viewed under a microscope. When this condition is present, however, the holes that can be viewed are much larger. They have lost mass or density and contain a tissue structure that is abnormal. Once someone is in their early 20s, they have reached peak bone mass. The bones are constantly renewing themselves and as old bone breaks down, new bone is made. However, as aging occurs, the creation of new bone does not keep up with the breaking down of old bone, resulting in a loss of bone mass.

There are certain risk factors that people have no control over that increase the chances of developing this condition. These include being female, being of Asian descent or white, having a smaller body frame, being older or having a family history of osteoporosis. The following are additional risk factors that someone has some control over:

  • Lowered sex hormone levels
  • Overactive adrenal or parathyroid glands
  • Too much thyroid hormone
  • Eating disorders
  • Not getting enough calcium
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • Certain medications, such as those for gastric reflux, transplant rejection, seizures or cancer
  • Certain medical condition, such as celiac disease, liver or kidney disease, lupus, multiple myeloma, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Tobacco use

Learning About the Symptoms

In the early stages, it is common for patients to experience no symptoms. However, as the weakening of the bones progresses, it is possible to experience:

  • Back pain associated with a collapsed or fractured vertebra
  • Stooped posture
  • Over time, patients might lose some of their height
  • Bone fractures that occur with minimal trauma

Delving into the Diagnostic Process

Those concerned about their bone density should speak to their doctor or specialist, such as an endocrinologist. In most cases, the process starts with a bone density scan. This may involve the use of bone densitometry or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Patients will be assessed both a Z score and T score. The Z score looks at a person’s bone amount compared to others in their age group. The T score looks at a person’s bone amount compared to younger people. Most commonly, the bones associated with the wrist, hip and spine are evaluated for this testing.

If a patient has a bone fracture or injury that prompted their osteoporosis evaluation, the following tests might also be discussed:

  • Spinal CT scan to look for fractures or abnormal alignment
  • Spinal MRI to look for signs of underlying disease that could have caused the problem, such as cancer, and to explore how new the fracture is
  • Bone x-ray to look for bone fractures

Examining the Treatment Options

There are treatment options available. Once it is determined that someone has osteoporosis, doctors often start by examining their lifestyle and general health. Ensuring that patients achieve a healthy body weight, get sufficient protein, have adequate vitamin D and calcium levels and get enough exercise are often explored. From here, medical interventions can be discussed.

Using the information obtained via testing, patients and their doctor can discuss their bone density and fracture risk to determine which type of treatment is needed. Those considered to be at a higher fracture risk might be prescribed bisphosphonate medications, such as alendronate, ibandronate, risedronate or zoledronic acid. These medications come in different options concerning their administration. Some are oral pills that are generally taken monthly or weekly, while others are injected yearly or quarterly.

If patients are not able to take bisphosphonate drugs, there are a couple of other options that might be explored. The first is denosumab which works similar to bisphosphonate medications. Every six months, patients have it administered via injection under the skin. The second is teriparatide which works similar to the parathyroid hormone. It is usually prescribed for two years and patients get an injection each day under the skin. After the two years is up, another drug for osteoporosis is usually given to maintain the bone growth achieved with teriparatide.

If hormones are contributing to a patient’s osteoporosis hormone therapy might be considered. For example, if a woman’s osteoporosis is linked to reduced estrogen levels, she might be prescribed estrogen replacement therapy. There are risks with estrogen, however, such as an increased risk of endometrial and breast cancer, and blood clots. Because of this, doctors might discuss drug raloxifene with their patients. It does not carry all of the risks of estrogen but mimics its beneficial effects. In men, if testosterone is low and contributing to osteoporosis, they too might consider hormone replacement therapy.

Patients who consume excessive amounts of alcohol or smoke might work with their doctor to make the necessary changes. Preventing falls is also important since fractures are more likely when bone density is reduced. Using mobility aids, and making changes at home, such as getting rid of throw rugs and installing grab bars can be beneficial.

Tampa residents over age 50 who break a bone or have other risk factors for this condition should consult their doctor or specialist. Testing bone density is not difficult and can provide a wealth of information about bone health, as well as let patients know if treatment should be considered

Hypothyroidism: Your Diet and Lifestyle

By Endocrinology

You’re among the 40 percent of the U.S. population who has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. You’ve undergone treatment for it, and you have regular blood tests to monitor your TSH levels. Everything should be fine then, right?

Maybe not. Your diet and lifestyle play an important role in maintaining good thyroid hormone levels, just as taking the proper dosage of thyroid medication are important. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to eat a healthy, nourishing diet although there are stipulations.

Absorption of thyroid supplements may be hindered if the tablets are taken with a high-fiber meal. Foods or supplements that are high in iron should not be consumed with thyroid medication and the same applies to foods or supplements that are high in calcium, aluminum, or magnesium, some ulcer medications, and some drugs that lower cholesterol. The best option is to take the thyroid medication by itself on an empty stomach.

The current trend toward adding or eliminating cruciferous vegetables has no validity, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Excessive consumption of these vegetables can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb iron, but enormous quantities would have to be consumed in order for that to happen.

One of the most important aspects to good thyroid health is to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and a healthy, varied diet. Another important aspect is to consume adequate amounts of good quality water, which equates to about an eight-ounce glass per waking hour. Not only does this help with constipation, which can be an issue with hypothyroidism, it helps the lymphatic system flush the metabolic toxins out of the body.

Bone broth contains amino acids that can help prevent mineral deficiencies and may help improve the immune system.

Stress, hormonal changes, inflammation, poor diet, and overuse of prescription medications can trigger hypothyroidism, even if you’re on medication, so it’s important to eliminate these factors from your lifestyle, particularly if hypothyroidism runs in the family.

If you’re having problems with your thyroid or your body is telling you that something isn’t right, make an appointment with your Tampa endocrinologist right away.

5 Reasons Why You Should See a Tampa Endocrinologist

By Endocrinology

According to some estimates, more than 30 million people have thyroid disorders. Half of these people have issues that are undiagnosed. This blog post will reveal 5 symptoms of a possible thyroid condition. If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms on this list, visit a Tampa endocrinologist right away.

Feeling a Little Low
Have you been feeling a little blue lately? Some experts think that when your body produces a lower amount of thyroid hormone, this negatively affects the serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that affects your mood, so when lower amounts of the thyroid hormone slows everything down, it’s easy to understand why you may be feeling a little “blah.”
You’re Dealing With Excess Fatigue

Excess fatigue can often be linked to hypothyroidism, a disorder that comes about when your body produces too little of the thyroid hormone. You might want to see an endocrinologist if you’re still tired after 8-9 hours of sleep.

You’re Feeling Very Anxious Lately
The constant feeling of being “wired” and extra “jittery” is often associated with hyperthyroidism. This disorder occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of its hormone.
You’re Suffering From Brain Fog

When your thyroid isn’t functioning well, your cognitive functioning can become compromised. Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) can cause you to have trouble concentrating while hypothyroidism (too little hormone) can cause brain fog.

You Have Dry Skin
Dry and itchy skin can be a result of hypothyroidism. Your skin can change its textures and appearance due to a slowed down metabolism, which can happen when your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. When this happens, you don’t sweat as much. This lack of moisture can cause your skin to become flaky and dry.

If you’re dealing with excess fatigue, the jitters, a change in cognitive functioning, or have an extreme change in the appearance of your skin, schedule a visit with your Tampa endocrinologist. They can take your medical history, run tests, and use their specialized knowledge to treat your particular thyroid issues.

For more info, be sure to check out our website at https://www.thyroiddoctortampa.com

Pregnancy & Thyroid Conditions

By Endocrinology

Pregnancy is a wonderful and very exciting time in a woman’s life. Certainly, the mother to be looks forward to the birth of her child. A lot of planning is involved along with concern about the health of the child. This is also a time for the mother to really pay attention to her own health. Did you know that a large number of pregnant women were found to have under-active thyroids? Certainly, an under-active thyroid might affect the unborn child. A concerned mother’s first thought is treating the thyroid condition or consulting with an endocrinologist for more information.

The Thyroid

The thyroid is a small gland in the front of the neck. Its main function is to supply thyroid hormones to the organs in the body. Thyroid hormones directly affect important functions in the body. For example, the metabolism or the way that the body burns fat. If your body is producing too much thyroid hormones, you might feel jittery, nervous, or warm. If your body is not producing enough hormones, you might feel cold or tired.

Low Thyroids And Pregnant Women

Formerly, reports suggested that a pregnant woman with a low thyroid condition might give birth to a baby with impaired brain development or even miscarry the child. Of course, this was a cause for great alarm in those women suffering from this health condition. However, recent health reports state that hypothyroidism during pregnancy does not pose a threat to the unborn child. Still, some women might have questions about this condition and should discuss it further with an endocrinologist in Tampa.

Testing Pregnant Women

There are two trains of thought on testing pregnant women with low thyroid conditions. The old established idea was to treat the condition, while the mother was still pregnant. Thus, dramatically reducing the chances of any birth complications or abnormalities. However, the new train of thought is that treating a pregnant woman for this condition might cause more harm than good. Still, it is important to take this on a case by case basis and leave it up to the discretion of the doctor treating the woman.

Understanding Thyroid Disorders

By Endocrinology

The thyroid gland is small compared to many other organs, but it has a big role when it comes to keeping you active and healthy. A member of the endocrine system, the thyroid produces hormones that regulate the functioning of the body, and a malfunctioning of the organ can cause a number of ailments. An endocrinologist in Tampa is an expert at recognizing and treating thyroid disorders.

Understanding the Thyroid Gland

Shaped like a butterfly, the thyroid is located in your neck below the voice box. The gland produces hormones that, among other things, control breathing and heart rates, regulate cholesterol levels and exert control overweight and muscle development. The thyroid is itself activated by hormones produced elsewhere in your body, allowing it to produce its own hormones.

Thyroid Gland Disorders

Nearly 30 million Americans are believed to experience thyroid disorders every year, although only about half of those affected are properly diagnosed. Hypothyroidism involves insufficient hormone production, which can lead to such health problems as excessive fatigue, depression, and obesity. Excessive hormone production, known as hyperthyroidism, can result in such conditions as anxiety, mood disorders, and even hair loss. A goiter is an enlargement of the gland itself, which can hamper breathing and swallowing. The thyroid can also be affected by nodules, which are often benign but can occasionally be cancerous.

Diagnosing and Treating Thyroid Disorders

A variety of methods are available in detecting thyroid abnormalities, but it will usually take a combination of two different tests to make an accurate diagnosis. Such diagnoses may involve laboratory tests, biopsies or the use of ultrasound equipment. Thyroid disorders are often treated with hormones, although diet and lifestyle changes may in some cases be sufficient.

Seeking Help from a Tampa Endocrinologist

Using the latest technology, Tampa endocrinologists have the ability to diagnose thyroid conditions and recommend the best course of action for each case. The doctors will accomplish this while providing their patients with care that is both professional and personalized. If you suspect a thyroid problem, learn more about the services available from Tampa endocrinologists by visiting www.thyroiddoctortampa.com.

Signs of Hypothyroidism

By Endocrinology

The thyroid glad plays a vital role in regulating human metabolism, which is the rate that the body converts food and oxygen into energy. As people age, the rate at which the thyroid secretes hormones into the bloodstream slows. Although this process is natural, in some individuals it slows too much, causing a condition called hypothyroidism, or slow thyroid.

Who is Affected by Hypothyroidism?

Many people don’t even realize that they have hypothyroidism as this condition can creep up on you. The condition is more common in women than men, with about 13 percent of women between the ages of 35 and 65 afflicted with it and more than 20% of women aged 65 or older.

Symptoms

Unexplained weight gain is the most common symptom of those afflicted by a slow thyroid. True hypothyroidism has several other defining characteristics that include:

  • Fatigue and less overall energy
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Loss of appetitie
  • Cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure, elevated levels of cholesterol and increased homocysteine
  • Depression and memory problems
  • Dry, flaky skin and brittle nails
  • Constipation
  • Muscle aches and pain around the joints

Diagnosis

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s wise to consult a Tampa area endoncrinologist as many of these signs may also be present in other diseases and conditions. In addition to a physical exam, your doctor will check for other signs, such as an enlarged thyroid gland and may order tests to determine levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). This is the best screening test to determine if you have hypothyrodism and long checking for levels of T4, the thyroid hormone thyroxine.

Treatment

Once you have been diagnosed with a slow thyroid, most treatments are simple. The condition is usually treated via daily doses of synthetic T4, also known as levothyroxine sodium. The goal of the treatment is to lower TSH to the midpoint of normal and maintain it at that level. Once the proper levels are established, your levels will be checked about every six months.

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