Receive Trustworthy Care From a Thyroid Doctor in El Paso
As a thyroid doctor in El Paso, Dr. Egbuonu is committed to providing trustworthy diagnosis and treatments for thyroid diseases. We recommend a professional thyroid exam as many times it opens the doors to discovering conditions such as thyroid cancer, Graves’ disease, and hypothyroidism, all of which can impact aspects of your health. Our clinic places a strong emphasis on finding viable solutions to these conditions and will help guide you through the available treatment options.
Understanding Your Thyroid
The thyroid is a small butterfly-like shaped endocrine gland located at the base of your neck (below the Adam’s apple). The gland creates several hormones, collectively known as thyroid hormones, that travels in your blood to other parts of the body. This hormone helps maintain your metabolism, the rate of your heartbeat, body growth and development, as well as your body’s temperature. The size and shape of the thyroid gland can vary as well as its ability to produce hormones. Most commonly, the under or overproduction of the hormone thyroxine (T4) is what leads to issues related to the thyroid. Too much thyroxine may lead to an enlarged thyroid gland and thyroid diseases while too little thyroxine may cause autoimmune diseases as well as a reduced metabolism. Since thyroid hormones play a significant role in your health, it’s important to recognize the disorders associated with your thyroid.
Common Thyroid Disorders and Treatment Options
Thyroid disorders tend to be more common in women than in men. It’s estimated that one in eight women will develop issues related to the thyroid throughout their lifetime. Changes in a woman’s menstrual period, problems getting pregnant, and complications during pregnancy are all heightened with a thyroid disorder. If you are a woman who’s suffered or suffers from anemia, Type 1 diabetes or a goiter disease, you should consider speaking with a doctor about being tested for thyroid disease.
Thyroid disorders include:
- Thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is relatively uncommon and while there is no defined reason as to why people get it, there are traits that increase your risk. These include inheriting abnormal genes, having an iodine deficiency, and being exposed to too many X-rays. Thyroid cancer is curable and treatment options include surgery, radiation, as well as hormone treatments.
- Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition caused by hyperthyroidism, where the gland overproduces hormones. Symptoms of the disease include sweating, dramatic weight loss, heart pounding, and trembling. If treated promptly by a thyroid doctor, it will have minimal health consequences. Upon the diagnosis of Graves’ disease, a thyroid doctor may prescribe an anti-thyroid medication.
- Hypothyroidism. Low production of thyroid hormone causes hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid. It is most common among women who are 60 years of age and older. If left untreated, it can lead to numerous health issues such as infertility, obesity, joint pain, and even heart disease. Medication is available is to help treat hypothyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism. Contrary to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism occurs when the gland produces too much of the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include anxiety, sensitivity to heat, an increased appetite as well as sudden weight loss. Common treatments include anti-thyroid medications and beta blockers.
- Thyroiditis. Thyroiditis refers to the inflammation of the thyroid gland. Many times there are no symptoms specific to the condition but people may experience weight gain, constipation, dry skin, depression, as well as low exercise tolerance. Treatments include radioactive iodine therapy and hormone medications.
- Goiter. Goiter refers to the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, which may cause people with the condition to have trouble coughing, swallowing, and breathing. It is generally caused by the underproduction of thyroid hormones or in some cases an iodine deficiency. Depending on the condition, a thyroid hormone replacement medication with levothyroxine may be able to help.
Methods of Prevention
Consulting with a thyroid doctor is your first line of defense. Dr. Egbuonu will examine your condition and offer you tactical methods of prevention based on your health. Some examples of preventing issues related to your thyroid include:
- Avoid “starvation” diets. These diets can lead to a reduction in thyroid hormones.
- Exercise but avoid excessive endurance activities. This includes exercises such as long runs. Overexhaustion reduces your level of thyroid hormones.
- Limit the number of X-rays you receive. The thyroid gland is sensitive to radiation and radiation may increase your risk of thyroid cancer.
- Put down the cigarettes. Ingredients in cigarettes such as thiocyanate and nicotine damage the thyroid. Smoking may also increase your risk of hypothyroidism.