How Thyroid Ultrasonography is Used for Your Care

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What is Thyroid Ultrasonography?

Thyroid ultrasonography is a common procedure that is available in Tampa to diagnose various thyroid conditions. Ultrasonography uses ultrasound waves to create a detailed image of the glands in your neck. The ultrasound procedure is non-invasive, meaning that no incisions or anesthesia are needed, and it is performed on an outpatient basis, so you can go home immediately after the ultrasound. Ultrasound for thyroid conditions works by emitting sound waves through your skin using a special device. Once the sound waves reach your thyroid, they bounce back to the device. The data is compiled by a computer to create an image on a monitor.

Benefits of Thyroid Ultrasonography

Endocrinologists recommend thyroid ultrasonography for many patients in Tampa because the technology is well-proven and provides several benefits, both for the clinician and patient. Your endocrinologist explains why the test is being recommended for your care. Some of the benefits of a thyroid ultrasound test are:

  • Non-invasive and no needles required
  • Images are produced in real-time
  • Covered by most insurances
  • Displays information that is not available through other tests, such as x-rays
  • Guides treatment recommendations
  • Detects nodules that interfere with thyroid function and efficacy of treatments

When is Thyroid Ultrasonography Recommended?

Your endocrinologist may recommend a thyroid ultrasonography test if nodules or lumps are detected during a physical examination. Occasionally, thyroid ultrasound is recommended if you are not responding as expected to treatment. The test may reveal that the lump is attached to your thyroid or other structures in your neck. Once your endocrinologist finds the nodule, the ultrasound allows for an in-depth evaluation of the size, shape, location, and other characteristics that help guide the direction of treatment. Your endocrinologist may also use thyroid ultrasonography to monitor a lump on your thyroid to determine if the nodule is growing.

Detecting Thyroid Cancer with Ultrasound

Thyroid ultrasonography is also recommended when your endocrinologist suspects cancer of the thyroid. Cancer is a term that intimidates many people in Tampa, yet not all cancers are life-threatening or at risk of spreading to other areas of the body. If your endocrinologist suspects, cancer, details will be provided about the possible type of cancer and how it may affect your health.

Preparing for Your Thyroid Ultrasound in Tampa

Preparing for your ultrasound is easy. First, ask your endocrinologist any questions and share your concerns openly. You want to feel relaxed during the ultrasound. Make sure to dress comfortably so that you are able to lay down and stay still during the test. You will need to remove any jewelry prior to the procedure, so you may want to limit what you wear to the appointment. Lotions and other skincare products may interfere with the procedure and will be removed prior to the test.

Thyroid Ultrasonography Procedure

You will lay down on an examination table for your thyroid ultrasonography. A gel is applied to your neck area to help the ultrasound device move smoothly across your skin. The handpiece is moved very slowly to ensure that your endocrinologist sees the necessary level of detail. The device may be moved around the same area several times to get a good visual representation. You may be able to see the monitor during the test, and the technician may describe what you are seeing. After the ultrasound is complete, your neck is cleaned to remove the gel, and you are free to go home.

Thyroid Ultrasound for Biopsies

Your Tampa endocrinologist may recommend a biopsy of the nodule around your thyroid to determine if it is benign or malignant. The biopsy may be performed during the exploratory ultrasound or as a separate procedure. The ultrasound is used to guide the position of the needle that is used to collect tissue from the nodule. The area is numbed with local or topical anesthesia before the needle is inserted. The sample is sent to a lab for evaluation, and results are sent to your endocrinologist.

Results of Your Thyroid Ultrasonography Test

The results of your thyroid ultrasonography are used for the diagnostic and treatment process. Your Tampa endocrinologist reviews the results and schedules a follow-up appointment to discuss the findings. The discussion will include a detailed explanation about the findings, significance to your overall health, and appropriate treatment options. In some cases, nodules and lumps do not require immediate interventions. Rather, your endocrinologist may recommend periodic thyroid ultrasound tests to monitor the lump if the test determines that the nodule is not significantly interfering with thyroid function. In other cases, the nodule may need to be removed. In rare cases, thyroid function is severely disrupted by nodules, and the entire thyroid may need to be removed. If the thyroid ultrasound and biopsy revealed that the growth is cancerous, your endocrinologist works with you to develop a treatment plan that may include a referral to an oncologist.

How the HCB Diet Works

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The HCG diet is an extremely low-calorie weight loss plan that’s combined with injections of human chorionic gonadotropin. It was developed by physician Albert Simeons in the mid-1950s as a way to rapidly lose weight. HCG is found in high levels in women in the early stages of pregnancy.

How the HCB Diet Works

To properly follow the HCG diet, you need to start on the hormones and consume a lot of calories for two to three days. Then you drop to 500 calories a day, and only at lunch and dinner. You stay on the 500 calories a day restriction for 3 to 6 weeks.

There are indications that the HCG diet would work without the hormone shots; at 500 calories a day for 3 to 6 weeks, you’re going to lose weight, and by eating only lunch and dinner, you’re on an intermittent fasting program whether you intend it or not.

What You’re Allowed to Eat

Foods allowed on the HCG diet include

  • Limited Fruits, including oranges, red grapefruit, apples, and some berries
  • High Roughage Veggies, including lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, and tomatoes
  • Lean Meats, including white poultry meat and seafood, as well as lean ground beef

Nutritional experts express concern about the HCG diet and the extremely low-calorie allowance. The health risks of trying to function on 500 calories a day include

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • exhaustion

Additionally, dropping your caloric intake so severely can put you at risk for a starvation response, and this will cause muscle as well as fat loss.

Boomerang Gains

When you put your body into a crisis mode with an extremely low-calorie diet, you set yourself up for the boomerang effect. Yes, you may drop pounds on the HCG diet, but they may include a lot of water and muscle as well as fat.

Worse, your body believes that there is a food crisis in the process, and makes preparations to put as many incoming calories it gets to good use; that is, rebuilding your fat stores. Once you’re eating normally again, you may find that your energy level stays low while your weight goes up as your body protects itself. Your body doesn’t really understand what happened to the fat stores and will do what it takes to get them back.

Thus, as soon as you start eating again, even if you’re only eating enough to stay healthy and not gain weight, you will likely add some fat back. Some dieters give up at this point and return to their former eating habits, regaining all they’ve lost and even more over time.

HCG and Thyroid Function

A physician monitoring your thyroid function if you’re struggling to lose weight will likely encourage you not to participate in the HCG diet. If you’re planning to take in so few calories, you’re functionally resetting your thyroid to fuel your body on an inadequate number of calories.

Your thyroid functions like the thermostat for your metabolism. If you choose a starvation diet, your thyroid turns down the temperature to conserve enough fuel to keep your body going. Your hands will be cold. You’ll be tired. Your gut will likely be a mess. Coming off the diet, your thyroid will keep your metabolism low as your body plans for the next round of starvation.

Kidney Function and Weight Gain

If your endocrinologist is currently treating you for hypothyroidism and weight gain, it’s important that you understand the link between weight gain and kidney function.

The thyroid as the thermostat analogy is important here. If your cleansing organs, such as the kidneys, the liver, and the lower intestines are dialing back due to hormonal imbalances or starvation dieting, your cleansing organs will function more sluggishly. Weight gain around the torso, general malaise, and constipation may be the result.

The eventual damage done by the HCG diet to your entire body may take time to show up. That being said, a lot of this damage is forever. Limited kidney and liver function will alter your quality of life for years to come, and a sluggish gut becomes a sick gut over time, possibly leading to further inflammation, ulcers, and other dangerous conditions.

Make a smart long-term choice in your health. Protect your metabolism, your cleansing organs, and your gut from the damage that can be caused by starvation diets. Work to support your body with good nutrition and effective exercise as you take pounds off logically for best results, now and in the future.

Contact Us

There are logical and safe ways to lose weight, and a full endocrinological workup is key to making the right choice for you. The professionals at Bay Area Endocrinology Associates of Tampa have multiple locations to see you in person and offer telemedicine appointments as well.

Thyroid Treatment and Care During Pregnancy

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Whether your thyroid is underactive (hypothyroid) or overactive (hyperthyroid), getting it back in balance can take time. If your thyroid cannot be managed, your physician may choose to destroy it with radioactive iodine, or RAI. RAI is also used to kill off any remaining thyroid cells after treatment and surgery for thyroid cancer.

Why RAI Works

Any iodine you ingest passes through the thyroid, so any radioactive particles will likely lodge there and not travel through the rest of your body. For a woman who is past child-bearing age, this treatment is a protective decision that removes the risk of any returning thyroid cancer.

When RAI Should Be Avoided

Women who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant should not receive RAI therapy. As noted above, iodine is initially processed by the thyroid upon entering the body. Both men and women who receive large doses of radiation risk infertility. Women who undergo this treatment may face an irregular menstrual cycle after their RAI therapy. The dangers of thyroid scans and radio line treatment for pregnant women, or those planning to become pregnant, become more severe. Undergoing this therapy may concentrate the iodine in your thyroid tissue, but the radioactivity impacts your entire body. Ovulation schedules can be disrupted, and the eggs within the ovaries at the time of treatment will have suffered radiation exposure.

RAI Therapy Risks for Pregnant Women

Thyroid issues during pregnancy are not uncommon. Pregnant women should have their thyroid checked repeatedly throughout their pregnancy, and if any abnormalities are noted, medications to modify the thyroid output will need to be administered. Hyperthyroidism especially increases the risk for both mother and baby, including preterm delivery, stillbirth, miscarriage, and maternal cardiac failure. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include swelling of your thyroid gland, irritability, shakiness, weight loss, and weakness. If you find that you have inflammation or swelling of the thyroid or feel agitated at any point in your pregnancy, it’s critical that you seek medical attention.

How to Avoid These Risks

Make sure that your OB/GYN is made aware of any thyroid conditions you’ve suffered in the past. Get a referral to an endocrinologist who can check your thyroid health before you attempt to conceive if possible, and especially once you know you are pregnant. Managing the condition from the start will greatly reduce the risks for you and your baby. Catching thyroid production abnormalities early will allow you to get on the right medications before the hormonal cascade of pregnancy muddies your tests. No matter what the ultimate course of treatment is, it’s critical that you also get your thyroid checked after you deliver; there are many thyroid conditions that fade after the physical stress of pregnancy has passed.

Diagnosis When Pregnant

Rates of thyroid cancer are on the rise, and more women than men get the disease. It’s not surprising that thyroid cancers are detected during pregnancy; after all, an increase in thyroid activity is likely to bring any palpable cancers to prominence. If you are pregnant and diagnosed with thyroid cancer, experts recommend waiting until after your delivery to operate. If that’s not possible, it’s recommended that you undergo surgical thyroidectomy after 22 weeks. RAI treatment should never be administered to someone who is pregnant or breastfeeding.

Protect Your Thyroid

If you have a family history of any type of thyroid illness, from Hashimoto’s to Graves’ Disease, strive to consume a diet that will protect your thyroid as much as possible. Whenever possible, avoid processed foods, or fried foods with high oil content. A diet high in antioxidants is a great way to protect your entire body from toxins, so take care to include

  • berries
  • cruciferous vegetables
  • yogurt

Seafood and shellfish are both rated highly as a way to keep your iodine intake at a healthy level. However, seafood is often restricted when you’re pregnant. Make sure that your physician and your Tampa OB/Gyn are aware of your family history of thyroid concerns and that your prenatal supplements include plenty of thyroid support to keep your endocrine system working effectively for the safety of you and your baby.

Should you receive a diagnosis of thyroid cancer or unusual thyroid activity while you’re pregnant or during your childbearing years, discuss your plans and your concerns with your physician. Your thyroid illness may not require RAI to completely destroy any remaining thyroid tissue should you need surgery. If you’re at a higher risk of cancer spreading without RAI, plan with your partner to avoid pregnancy for the recommended time after RAI to make sure that the radioactive materials have completely cleared from your system. It may take time for your ovulation cycle to return to normal, so give yourself time before you attempt conception.

What Are The Effect Of Thyroid On Weight?

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According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, over 27 million Americans have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. The larger percentage of this population is made up of women. It is estimated that for every ten thyroid patients, eight are women. The hypothesis formed behind this statistical data is that women experience hormonal imbalance, especially after pregnancy, which will often develop into thyroid disease. A statistical projection states that about 18% of pregnant women develop a postpartum thyroid disorder, and out of the 18%, 5% of the cases develop to a permanent thyroid disorder.

On the other hand, although men are at a lower risk of developing thyroid disorders, their numbers are certainly on the rise. To get a deeper understanding of thyroid disorders, we must first understand the functioning of the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located on the anterior part of the neck, just below Adam’s apple. Its function is primarily the regulation of the body’s metabolism via interaction with various organs like the liver and the pancreas. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, known as triiodothyronine, also known as T3 and thyroxine, commonly known as T4. The thyroid gland also produces calcitonin, which is a hormone that regulates blood calcium levels.

Thyroid hormones are made from iodine and tyrosine. The release of thyroid hormones into the blood circulation is regulated by Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH), which is released from the hypothalamus in response to low blood T3 and T4 levels. Conventionally, the amount of T4 released is four times the amount of T3 released. However, the active thyroid hormone is triiodothyronine. This depicts that there is a deiodination activation reaction that converts T4 to T3.

Thyroid disorders
Thyroid disorders can be classified broadly into three: hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and a malignant thyroid gland. The main indicator of thyroid malfunction is the development of goiter, which is a large mass found on the neck. Other symptoms vary depending on whether it is hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

What is the relationship between thyroid activity and weight?
As earlier stated, the thyroid gland plays a vital role in the body’s metabolism. Hyperthyroidism is associated with high Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which may potentiate weight loss. The cause of hyperthyroidism is primarily due to the over-proliferation of the thyroid cells, which may potentiate malignancy.

Hypothyroidism is associated with a low basal metabolic rate, which may potentiate weight gain, the cause hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency, Hashimoto’s diseases, or surgical removal of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that targets and destroys the thyroid gland. Iodine is used in the production of thyroid hormones, therefore reduced intake of iodine results in reduced levels of T3 and T4.

Endocrinologists have tried coming up with theories to explain the relationship between thyroid hormone levels and weight. A study conducted on over 6000 people for six years tried to assess the correlation between the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and body mass index (BMI). The results were published in the International Journal of Obesity, which revealed a direct correlation between high BMI and high TSH levels, as seen in hypothyroidism cases.

Another study was conducted in 2004 that was investigating sleep-related disorders and obesity. The study revealed that 12% of its patients had subclinical symptoms of hypothyroidism. In addition, 25% of a group of patients comprised of 72 members scheduled for a gastric bypass had subclinical symptoms of hypothyroidism. Furthermore, they discovered a direct relationship between neck circumference and BMI. However, these studies did not reveal a direct relation between TSH levels and BMI.

Although fat accumulation is the primary cause of weight gain, it is not the major culprit in the case of hypothyroidism. Weight gain in hypothyroidism is attributed to the accumulation of body fluids due to reduced kidney function. Therefore, it is quite difficult for patients with hypothyroidism to lose weight. On average, a patient with hypothyroidism can gain about 5-10 pounds or more depending on its severity.

Patients with hyperthyroidism recorded increased levels in the basal metabolic rate, which leads to significant weight loss. To maintain one’s healthy weight, it demanded that one eats food rich in calories to counter the metabolic demand. The effect on weight in hyperthyroidism is much predominant than in hypothyroidism.

What is the effect of the dramatic changes in weight due to thyroid disorders?
Drastic weight gain may have a direct impact on a person’s self-esteem, especially if they cannot point out the cause. Low self-esteem can lead to anxiety and depression. On the other hand, dramatic weight loss may be a cause of concern and anxiety. All these may potentiate mood swings, depression, and anxiety disorders.

What are the measures are taken to deal with the drastic changes in weight?

For weight loss, a patient diagnosed with hypothyroidism needs to be on thyroid hormone supplementation in the form of levothyroxine. This will increase the basal metabolic rate and improve kidney function.

It is also recommended that such patients adopt a lifestyle change by incorporating more calorie deficient foodstuffs like fruits, vegetables, and whole grain. They should be more active by engaging in regular exercises like jogging, swimming, or cardio workout. This will help keep the BMI at the average standard range and counteract the fatigue associated with hypothyroidism.

For patients diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, the medical intervention involves symptomatic management and the use of drugs to reduce thyroid hormone formation. In severe cases, surgical removal of the thyroid gland is recommended.
With therapy, significant weight gain will be noticed.

For more information or questions about the thyroid function and its effect, contact Bay Area Endocrinology Associates in Tampa.

All About the Cytology Adequacy Assessment

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Thyroid health is an important indicator of overall health. The thyroid is a small gland located at the bottom of the neck. It releases hormones that help to regulate bodily functions into the bloodstream. The thyroid is key when it comes to processes like growth and metabolism. Changes to the thyroid can cause disruptions in some bodily systems. Changes to weight, mood, and frequency of sweating can all be caused by thyroid nodules. At Bay Area Endocrinology Associates in Tampa, we see people with suspected nodules all the time.

There are plenty of symptoms for thyroid nodules. In some cases, they’re large enough to be felt or seen. When nodules are present, they may be linked to overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones. Overproduction is known as hyperthyroidism. Weight loss, insomnia, and weakness are all symptoms of this issue. Hypothyroidism means the underproduction of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of this disorder include dry skin, being cold all the time, trouble remembering things, and depression.

Cytology and Testing the Thyroid

For nodules that aren’t visible to the naked eye, diagnosis is done with radiological imaging tools. These include CT or computed tomography scans, and PET or positron emission tomography scans. Once a nodule has been identified, it can be further tested. This is important because some thyroid nodules are cancerous. Identifying those before cancer can metastasize and spread is a crucial step any thyroid doctor needs to take.

In order to find out what’s going on inside the thyroid nodule, doctors send patients for thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy. This is performed with a fine, thin needle. It’s inserted into the thyroid and draws out some cells. Cytology is the study of the structure and function of animal cells. In effect, it means that a scientist is going to look at animal cells under a microscope and make determinations about them.

The Nuts and Bolts of Cytology

There are a few different ways that scientists may prepare slides in order to evaluate the thyroid health of a particular patient. The direct smear, cytospin, and cell block are all different ways of preparing the sample to be looked at under a microscope. After putting the samples on the slides, they need to be fixed in place. They will also need to be stained so that the lab workers can see the cells properly. There are three commonly used dyes for this purpose: diff-quick, Papanicolaou and hematoxylin, and eosin or H&E. H&E is one of the most widely used stains. It makes the interior of a cell look pink, and the nucleus or center looks purple.

When the slides are ready, someone will look at them under the microscope and interpret them. This is where the term adequacy really comes into play. Adequacy refers to the characteristics of the cells in the sample. In order to determine cytology adequacy, a pathologist or cytology technologist will look at a few different factors. These include how many cells are present, what types of cells they are, the presence of colloid, and the way the cells are put together. Colloid is important. Colloid nodules are benign. This is the result that every patient and doctor wants to see coming back from the lab.

For a thyroid cytology sample to be judged as adequate, it needs to meet a standard of, basically, abundance. This can mean 5 or more groups of 10-15 well-preserved cells. Others set the standard higher. For them, adequacy can mean 8 groups of 10 or more well-preserved cells. If there’s inflammation or abundant colloid in a sample, these standards don’t apply.

Assessing an Adequate Sample

Having an adequate sample is great. That means there are enough cells present to make a judgment about what’s going on with the thyroid. When it comes to actually assess the cells, there are a few different determinations a pathologist can arrive at. Adequate samples can show signs of things like thyroiditis. In this disorder, the gland is irritated. It may be producing too much or too little hormone. Adequate samples can also show problematic, atypical cells. Adequate samples may also be judged to have only a colloid present.

There’s a possibility of a sample being interpreted as inadequate. This can mean it doesn’t have enough cells present to make a determination. Samples can also be judged as “blood obscured.” In general, physicians will let their patients know what the results were. Even when things are good, and the results indicate that growth is benign, that’s not necessarily the end of the road. Responsible physicians will want to monitor thyroid nodules. That can mean scheduling more biopsies down the road and getting more cytology adequacy assessment test results. The thyroid is one of the body’s most important structures. Monitoring its health can be key to overall well-being.

At Bay Area Endocrinology Associates, we do our own biopsies. We run our own lab tests. We know that thyroid testing is important to our patients. As endocrinologists, we take it just as seriously as they do.

Why Are Endocrinologists Important?

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There are a variety of different doctors in the Tampa area that can help the body run properly. Endocrinologists specialize in hormones and metabolism. Without a functional metabolism, the body cannot process food and energy in the correct way. By diagnosing conditions that affect the thyroid, adrenals, blood pressure, metabolism, and hormones, endocrinologists can help treat issues early before they become worse.

What Does An Endocrinologist Do?
This particular type of doctor is trained to focus on a number of different conditions ranging from a person’s stress response to their metabolism. While there are many symptoms that may appear unrelated, their treatment can revolve around a similar condition.

To become an endocrinologist, one must obtain a certification exam in addition to their medical degree. After finishing medical school they will usually work in a hospital or clinical setting for three years. The hands-on experience is necessary before they start specifically training in endocrinology for another two to three years. Because of this rigorous program, those who begin private practice are often already well-educated in their field.

What Types of Conditions Do Endocrinologists Treat?
Since there are a number of reasons to make an endocrinology appointment, it’s helpful to know which conditions are commonly diagnosed.

Hormone-related diseases are primarily treated through endocrinology. Issues surrounding metabolism, respiration, reproduction and even energy levels can all be related to specific hormones in the body.

Hyperthyroidism is one common condition that occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Unexplained weight loss, an elevated heart rate, and anxiety are all symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Generally, the underlying cause of this particular thyroid problem is Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disease that can impact one’s quality of life.

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. These symptoms are almost directly opposite of hyperthyroidism. Weight gain, depression, and dry skin are all signs that there is a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. This, too, can be caused by an underlying autoimmune disease.

Diabetes is commonly diagnosed by an endocrinologist. Issues with weight gain and metabolism are frequently handled in this department. By running hemoglobin A1C readings and other blood tests, these doctors can check to make sure are healthy. Typically an endocrinologist can teach you about insulin levels and provide the proper treatment necessary to have a healthy life.

Multiple endocrine neoplasia is a rare genetic condition that is only passed on through family members who also have the disorder. Although this condition is scarce, multiple endocrine neoplasia can cause tumors that can lead to an imbalance of hormones.

Hypopituitarism happens when the pituitary gland is not able to release enough hormones to properly function over time. Women can stop having their periods with this particular condition. Although there may be many different reasons for the occurrence of hypopituitarism, the diagnosis can be found by visiting an endocrinologist.

Although symptoms for these conditions may seem vague at first, they should not be ignored. By visiting the right doctor, they can obtain a correct medical history and diagnosis so that proper treatment can be started as soon as possible.

What Is the First Appointment Like?
Visiting a new doctor can be nerve-racking. If you haven’t seen a medical professional in a long period of time, you may feel apprehensive about going. By updating your medical history and providing accurate health insurance, a specialized doctor in the field of endocrinology can help assess where you are and how your health has changed over time.

Depending on the exact reason you are seeing an endocrinologist, the questions asked in a first appointment may vary. Many people book an appointment when they notice an extreme difference in their energy levels or weight. With thyroid conditions, people can lose or gain a significant amount of weight in a very short period of time. Although some may believe it is water weight or that it will somehow disappear on its own, weight fluctuations caused by thyroid conditions usually require medication. Before your first appointment, try to find out as much about your family history as possible. If you are suffering from a thyroid condition, other family members may have dealt with the same problem.

Thyroid, diabetes and hormonal conditions often run in both nuclear or extended families. Understanding if anyone related to you has had a prior problem with their metabolism or hormones can be incredibly valuable for a doctor to know. If you do not know your family’s medical history, this is not detrimental to the appointment, but it could save you extra testing or exams.

Common questions asked in a first appointment usually pertain to the patient’s past health and medical history. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve had prior thyroid surgery or cancer treatment that could have potentially exposed your thyroid to radiation. If there are other health-related conditions that do not pertain to the thyroid, be sure to mention it. Just because you may not see the connection doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

Gastrointestinal issues are also an important topic to discuss. While some people shy away from this type of health concern, it is imperative when prescribing the right amount of medication. Problems with the intestines can inadvertently impact how much medicine is in the body and can do significant harm if they are not correctly regulated.

Endocrinology is an extremely important specialty in the medical profession. By effectively regulating the body’s hormone production, energy levels, mood, and metabolism can all properly function. Although the symptoms surrounding hormonal issues may at times seem vague, they can greatly impact our ability to live a happy life. Seeing an endocrinologist can be an easy solution to fix a difficult problem.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? What Are Its Symptoms? How Is It Treated?

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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to stay inflamed. It eventually hampers the thyroid’s ability to produce thyroid hormones. It is more prominent in women than men and can be found in children.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is treated with medicine and can be helped by eating foods that do not cause inflammation.

Note: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also known as Hashimoto’s disease and chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.

What Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is caused by your immune system attacking your thyroid. The resulting inflammation initially causes your thyroid to leak. The leaking of hormones causes your thyroid to become overactive and produce an excess of hormones. Eventually, though, the inflammation prevents your thyroid gland from producing enough hormones.


  • Thyroid: The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. The hormones it produces help the body to use energy, stay warm, and help the brain, organs, and muscles to work properly.
  • Thyroxine: The main hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism, also known as an overactive thyroid, is a condition where the thyroid is over-producing hormones.
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid. The thyroid gland is not capable of producing enough thyroid hormones to keep the body functioning normally.
  • Endocrinologist: An endocrinologist is a doctor that specializes in the body’s glands and the hormones they produce.

What Are the Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis leads to hypothyroidism. As the number of thyroid hormones decreases in your system, your body processes start to slow. As your body slows:

  • You tire easily.
  • You feel colder than others around you.
  • Your skin becomes drier.
  • Constipation becomes a problem.
  • You become forgetful and depressed.
  • You gain weight without knowing why.
  • For women, your menstrual cycle can become irregular or heavy.
  • Your thyroid may become enlarged into a goiter.

How is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diagnosed?

In addition to considering symptoms, an endocrinologist will administer a thyroid function test.

The pituitary gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) to activate the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones. As the level of thyroid hormones decreases in the bloodstream, the pituitary gland increases the output of TSH to trigger the thyroid to produce more hormones. The endocrinologist will be looking for a high level of TSH and a low level of free thyroxine.

A thyroperoxidase (TPO) antibodies test may also be done. Thyroperoxidase is an enzyme that helps make thyroid hormones. Antibodies attack the thyroperoxidase enzymes, limiting the ability of the thyroid to produce hormones. The presence of TPO antibodies may suggest Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but it not does necessarily indicate hypothyroidism.

If you have a family history of thyroid problems, early detection of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism is possible and helpful to you. The well-trained and experienced endocrinologists in Tampa, FL at the Bay Area Endocrinology Associates can help you to diagnose your symptoms and provide you with the best treatment.

Interesting fact: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is named after the Japanese medical scientist and doctor who discovered it in 1912, Hakaru Hashimoto. The disease was identified as an autoimmune disorder in 1957.

How Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Treated?

If you test positive for TPO antibodies but test normal for TSH and free thyroxine, you do not need any treatment. Even if you have a mild case of hypothyroidism, you still may not require any medication.

But if you have a strong case of hypothyroidism, then you will need thyroid hormone replacement treatment. Thyroid hormone replacement treatment consists of taking synthetic hormone medication, like Levothyroxine. Synthetic thyroxine works in your body the same as your own thyroid hormones would.

The only safety concerns with taking synthetic thyroxine are taking too much or too little. You will be monitored for a period of time as the correct amount is determined.

How to take thyroid hormone medication: Your thyroid hormone should be taken on an empty stomach. Food in your stomach can affect the absorption of the hormone into your system. Try to take the hormone at the same time each day. This will help the level of thyroxine to remain stable in your system. Check with your doctor about any interaction between the thyroid hormone and other medications you are taking.

Because thyroid hormones are slow-acting, it may take several months for your symptoms to go away. Since your thyroid will not get better, taking thyroid hormone replacement medication may be a life-long practice.

What Is the Best Diet for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Diet will not cure Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but eating the right foods may help you to feel better. Since Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, eating certain types of food may help you to feel better.

Foods that are good:

  • Whole foods.
  • An array of colorful, high-fiber fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole grains.
  • Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish.

Foods to avoid:

  • Processed foods.
  • Refined sugars and grains.
  • Saturated and trans fat.

At Bay Area Endocrinology Associates located in Tampa, FL, we specialize in the treatment of all thyroid conditions including cancer, nodules, hyper and hypothyroidism. We perform our own thyroid ultrasounds, biopsies, and labs. Contact us today for any of your thyroid concerns.

Thyroid And Bone Loss: Can These Two Be Related?

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Osteoporosis And Your Thyroid

Most people don’t associate their thyroid health and their bone health, but the two are closely connected. If your thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, you can be at risk of developing osteoporosis. Those who are Caucasian and are slightly built have the highest incidence of hyperthyroidism osteoporosis, but anyone who has too much thyroid hormone can develop it.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone condition that can affect any person at any age. Typically, it occurs as a result of the aging process, but there are other causes. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become brittle and they can break easily because they’re very fragile. More than 2 million fractures annually can be attributed to osteoporosis, and most of them occur in the hip, spine or wrist. Almost 80 percent of the 54 million Americans who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis are women, and this can be due, in part, to hormonal fluctuations and the fact that men’s bones are denser than women’s bones. Statistically, as many as 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men who are more than 50 years old will incur a broken bone that’s attributable to osteoporosis.

The exact causes of osteoporosis are as yet unknown, but the process and the ramifications of it are well understood. Diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome and kidney disease can contribute to the onset of osteoporosis, as can some medications that cause bone loss, such as steroids and anti-seizure medications. However, hyperthyroidism is a very common contributor to the onset of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, that uses estrogen can help maintain bone density, but many women are reluctant to use HRT because of its potential side effects. Resistance activities such as walking uphill or lifting small amounts of weight can help to increase bone density and offset the deleterious side effects of osteoporosis, even if it’s caused by hyperthyroidism. If you suspect that you have hyperthyroidism osteoporosis, then you should schedule an appointment with your Tampa endocrinologist who can perform the necessary diagnostic tests. At Bay Area Endocrinology, we perform all our tests on site, we don’t send them to a lab for processing. Whether you need a biopsy, lab work, an ultrasound or another type of test, it will all be done on site, so you won’t have to wait days to get started on treatment.

What Is Hyperthyroidism?

Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones: T3, which is triiodothyronine, and T4, which is thyroxine. About 80 percent of the total production of these two hormones is the T4 hormone, and 20 percent is the T3 hormone. When you have hyperthyroidism, your body produces an excess amount of thyroid hormones, so you experience symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, insomnia, heat intolerance, brain fog, and bone loss. Although the other symptoms are rather self-explanatory, bone loss can be puzzling.

If you have hyperthyroidism, you excrete excessive phosphorous and calcium through your urinary tract and your bowels, so you’re continually losing some of the minerals that are necessary for maintaining healthy bones. Whether you have hyperthyroidism because your thyroid is overactive or because you’re taking too much thyroid medication, the result is the same. If you’re taking thyroid medication, you should have your blood checked annually at a minimum because your body chemistry changes, so your dosing requirement may periodically change. If you have trouble maintaining your weight or if you repeatedly have a fractured or broken bone, you may have hyperthyroidism osteoporosis. In order to receive a correct diagnosis of this disease, you’ll need to have your condition diagnosed by your Tampa endocrinologist, so call us today to schedule an appointment and get started on your treatment regimen.

How Does Hyperthyroidism Cause Osteoporosis?

When your thyroid is overactive, which it is if you have hyperthyroidism, it causes your body to flush vital minerals and nutrients from your body. This includes the calcium and phosphorous that you need to maintain healthy bones, so over time, your bones will thin and become brittle because they no longer have the minerals they need to stay strong and healthy. Even if you take calcium supplements or other types of supplements, if your hyperthyroidism osteoporosis is left untreated, your bones will continue to deteriorate and you’ll run the risk of fractures and stooped shoulders.

What’s The Solution For Hyperthyroidism Osteoporosis?

If you think you have hyperthyroidism osteoporosis, then call our office to schedule an appointment. If you’re taking thyroid medication, call our office for your annual blood test so that you know your dosage is correct. If you have other endocrine issues, such as diabetes, obesity, low testosterone levels or any other endocrine problem, we can help you. Bay Area Endocrinology Associates in Tampa has multiple locations to serve you, and our on-site lab makes it very convenient to get your tests done.

What Is the Thyroid Gland and What is a Thyroid Nodule?

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The thyroid gland controls a lot of different areas. It releases hormones that help us to breathe, our heart rate, the central nervous system and regulates our body temperature. Without the proper regulation of hormones that control metabolism, our bodies can become distressed. So any time that the thyroid gland is deprived of nutrients or becomes out of balance, it is crucial that steps are taken to get it functioning properly.

Thyroid nodules refer to one or more growths that are found within the thyroid. If you visit your physician on a routine medical exam and this term is brought to your attention, do not panic. About 90% of all nodules are non-threatening and can treated. They can be present in your thyroid without your knowledge. An endocrinologist feel a small lump in your neck or discover one through an ultrasound of the thyroid. Nodules can either filled with fluid or can be solid throughout.

Do I Have a Throat Nodule?
There is a way to identify a throat nodule if it is prominent. Stand in front of a mirror and raise your chin so that your neck is exposed. Swallow and look around the area of the windpipe and Adams apple for any type of bump. Using your hands, feel for anything that seems abnormal. If something appears, contact your physician.

How Did I Get A Thyroid Nodule?
You may have heard that thyroid problems originate from lack of iodine. This is true in part. While Western diets have iodine added in many of their foods, there are still unexplained reasons why many people in the United States develop nodules.

Thyroid Adenoma – This is a benign tumor that is common. Usually singular, it can protrude from the neck and be easily spotted. Some are harmless and retract while others produce thyroid hormone known as hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid. An endocrinologist can provide treatment for this type of growth.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – This is an autoimmune disorder where antibodies attack the thyroid gland causing chronic inflammation. This condition is usually hereditary and not yet understood what causes it. Occurring mainly in middle-aged women, it can evolve in men and children of any age.

Thyroid Cancer – Although rare, thyroid cancer can emerge and be spotted by difficulty in swallowing, a nodule close to the Adam’s apple that gets larger, or swollen glands in the neck. Only the proper testing performed by an endocrinologist can evaluate and provide the right plan of action.

Those most prone to thyroid nodules are men over 60 or men under 30 years old.

How Can Thyroid Nodules Be Treated?
Before treatment can be rendered, the type of thyroid nodule must be determined. Your endocrinologist may take ultrasounds of your thyroid or check your thyroid hormone levels. If he/she makes the determination that the nodule is benign, periodic checks will be scheduled. If a change is noted from a follow-up visit, medication may be prescribed in order to keep your hormone levels in balance. Radioactive iodine has been used to keep nodules from producing too much hormone activity. However, this procedure will never be used on a female that is pregnant as the radioiodine could do permanent damage to the unborn. This form of treatment can cause the nodule to shrink. Other anti-thyroid medicines and surgery may be suggested depending on the diagnosis. Anytime that cancer is suspected, surgery is the best approach. Removing all thyroid nodules that are cancerous is necessary to stop the growth. If malignancy is confirmed, the entire thyroid along with any abnormal lymph nodes, will be removed.

Will Thyroid Nodules Come Back?
If you have had nodules in the past or if they are hereditary, the side of caution is always recommended. Depending on your individual history, you may be scheduled for follow-ups that include biopsies, thyroid scans or ultrasounds. Fortunately, 90% to 95% of all thyroid nodules are benign. Once you understand what the role of the thyroid gland and thyroid nodules are, the scenario will not be as stressful.

If you are concerned that you may have one or more thyroid nodules and live in the Tampa, Florida area, there are specialists ready to review your concerns. Bay Area Endocrinology Associates focus on the treatment of all thyroid conditions including cancer, nodules, hyper and hypothyroidism. All thyroid ultrasounds, biopsies, and lab work is done onsite for quick diagnosis and treatment plans. Complex metabolic conditions, like diabetes, obesity with a comprehensive weight loss program, and hormone deficient states such as low testosterone are also included in this practice. There are multiple locations in the area for your convenience. Reach out to Bay Area Endocrinology Associates today for professional help with any thyroid nodules or other thyroid related conditions.

Myths About Hypothyroidism

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Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. This is a common condition. However, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about it.

Myth: Only Women can get Hypothyroidism

Fact: This condition is more common in women. In fact, women are 5 to 8 times more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men. However, it is important for men to see a endocrinologist if they suspect that they have a thyroid problem.

Myth: Hypothyroidism Makes you Fat

Fact: Your metabolism is controlled by your thyroid. If your thyroid is not functioning properly, then your metabolism will slow down. However, there are other factors that can cause you to gain weight. That is why many people still struggle with their weight after they get their hypothyroidism treated.

Myth: Hypothyroidism Only Affects Older People

Fact: Hypothyroidism is most common in people who are over the age of 60. However, it is important to note that hypothyroidism can develop at any time. Younger women are at an increased risk of developing hypothyroidism while they are pregnant. They are also more likely to develop it immediately after they give birth.

Myth: You cannot Take Medication for Hypothyroidism While you are Pregnant

Fact: There are a lot of things that you will have to avoid while you are pregnant. This includes Aspirin, alcohol, and sushi. However, you can still take your hypothyroidism medication while you are pregnant.

Myth: Hypothyroidism Always has Symptoms

Fact: Many people in Tampa have hypothyroidism and do not know it. Fatigue, constipation, weight gain, depression, and joint pain are some of the symptoms that a person may experience if they are suffering from hypothyroidism. However, not everyone experiences those symptoms. If you experience any of those symptoms, then you will need to see your doctor.

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