Friday, March 1, 2024

What Doctor Do You See For Thyroid Issues

Any Time Your Symptoms Have Gotten Worse

What are the Real Causes of Thyroid Problems? Dr.Berg

If your symptoms are persisting even after taking medication for the thyroid condition, or have worsened, that is another good reason to see your doctor. It is possible that the hormone levels are changing dramatically, which requires an adjustment to your dosage. If the medication isnt working, a surgical procedure to remove part of your thyroid gland might also be necessary.

How Your Primary Care Doctor Can Diagnose A Thyroid Disorder

Though the thyroid is a relatively small gland located at the base of the throat, it can cause big disruptions in a persons health, leading to the need to consult a primary care physician. The thyroid gland produces hormones involved in governing a person’s metabolism. Problems with the thyroid can cover a wide gamut of issues and the symptoms can often be mistaken for other illnesses or conditions.

Although the thyroid is part of the endocrine system, an endocrinologist is not the only type of physician who can diagnose thyroid problems. In fact, primary care doctors are often the first line of defense and in many cases, can often manage thyroid issues themselves without the added need of specialists.

Choosing A Healthcare Provider

Once you know what type of healthcare provider you wish to see, there are several things to consider before you make your appointment. This is an important decision for several reasons. Not only is thyroid disease something that often requires long-term care, but it isn’t always easy to treatand working to find an effective treatment can make a difference in outcomes.

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When You Become Pregnant

If you are taking medication for a thyroid condition and you become pregnant, see your doctor right away. They need to run your bloodwork to see if your thyroid levels are changing and also determine if the medications you have been taking are safe to continue taking while pregnant.

For a full thyroid workup, I recommend consulting with a Functional Medicine practitioner, such as, myself. We keep up with the latest research and use Functional Medicine laboratories, which help to get to the root cause of the problems. I offer a For 30-Minute Thyroid Strategy session. You can book that here. I consult with clients all over the world.

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What Blood Tests Do Doctors Use To Check Thyroid Function

Thyroid Disorders and Treatment

Doctors may order one or more blood tests to check your thyroid function. Tests may include thyroid stimulating hormone , T4, T3, and thyroid antibody tests.

For these tests, a health care professional will draw blood from your arm and send it to a lab for testing. Your doctor will talk to you about your test results.

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When You Have Symptoms Of Thyroid Conditions

If you have symptoms of any type of thyroid condition, whether you have fatigue and sluggishness, weight loss or weight gain, lack of appetite, or mood swings, you need to see your doctor. Even if youre not sure if you have a thyroid problem, you need to get it treated quickly if you do, since they can lead to more serious problems. All that is needed to diagnose a thyroid condition is taking your bloodwork. If you dont have it, your doctor should be able to figure out what is causing these symptoms.

Diagnosis Of An Underactive Thyroid Function Is Made Based On A Combination Of Thyroid Blood Test Results Symptoms And Several Other Factors

is evaluated and diagnosed by a physician, usually an endocrinologist or your primary care doctor. Symptoms, signs, andmore criticallyblood tests are taken into consideration when evaluating the possibility of an underactive , all of which help identify the cause and severity of the disease.

A diagnosis is reached after a thorough review of the patients personal medical and family histories, any risk factors, findings on physical examination, and the results of . There are several types of hormones checked in a blood test to assess your thyroid statusthe most definitive one is the . Often, physicians may decide to check the free , or T4, free T4 index, or total T4 to aid in the diagnosis.

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What Is A Thyroid Disorder

The most common disorders of the thyroid are hypothyroidism , and hyperthyroidism . A patient may also have a goiter or nodules, when part of the thyroid gland becomes inflamed leading to coughing and difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Thyroid cancer can kill normally functioning thyroid cells and form tumors. Hashimotos is a more difficult condition in which the bodys immune system itself attacks the thyroid.

What Tests Do Doctors Use If I Have A Thyroid Nodule

How to Do a Self Thyroid Exam

If your health care professional finds a nodule or lump in your neck during a physical exam or on thyroid imaging tests, you may have a fine needle aspiration biopsy to see if the lump is cancerous or noncancerous.

For this test, you will lie on an exam table and slightly bend your neck backward. A technician will clean your neck with an antiseptic and may use medicine to numb the area. An endocrinologist who treats people with endocrine gland problems like thyroid disease, or a specially trained radiologist, will place a needle through the skin and use ultrasound to guide the needle to the nodule. Small samples of tissue from the nodule will be sent to a lab for testing. This procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. Your health care professional will talk with you about the test result when it is available.

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What Types Of Doctor Diagnose And Treat Hashimotos Disease

A range of specialists may play a role in managing thyroid disease and controlling its symptoms. Some individuals may see only one doctor for their thyroid-related problems, while others may have several doctors who work together to manage their condition.

Here you’ll learn about the different Hashimoto’s thyroiditis specialists and when you should get a second opinion.

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Signs Of Thyroid Trouble

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that 30 million Americans have some kind of thyroid disorder. That’s a surprising number but even more startling is that up to 50% of people with thyroid disease aren’t even aware that they have it.

“Its common for people to chalk up some thyroid symptoms fatigue, irritability, sleep problems to general life stress,” says Tiffany Hor, MD, an endocrinologist at Rush.

Such nonspecific symptoms are often easy to ignore, but the consequences of postponing diagnosis and treatment can be serious: Over the long term, untreated thyroid issues can lead to health complications ranging from an increased risk of osteoporosis to cardiovascular issues.

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When To Be More Proactive

Although most thyroid nodules are benign, some can harbor thyroid cancer. And some types of thyroid cancer are more aggressive than others. You should be more proactive in seeing an endocrinologist if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • A lump in your neck that appears to be growing
  • Swelling or pain in the neck
  • Persistent cough
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing

Also see an endocrinologist if you have been diagnosed with a thyroid nodule and have any of the following risk factors for thyroid cancer:

  • An immediate family member who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer
  • Any kind of radiation exposure, especially to the head and neck area

Thyroid Nodules And Treatment: Get The Facts

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For many patients, being told they have athyroid nodule instantly raises red flags. DoI have cancer? Will I need surgery? Should I be worried?

The answer to these questions is usually, butnot always, no. Thyroid nodules are lumps that form within your thyroid, abutterfly shaped gland located at the base of your neck. Nodules can be solidor contain a variable amount of fluid. If they are completely fluid-filled,they are called thyroid cysts.

Thyroid nodules are more common in womencompared to men and more likely to occur as you get older. The exact reason whysome people get thyroid nodules and others dont is not known, but nodules tendto run in families.

Most thyroid nodules are benign and cause no problems if left untreated. However, approximately 5 to 10 percent of thyroid nodules are cancerous but even then, a patient might not need surgery right away because most thyroid cancers grow slowly.

If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid nodule, the first step is to see an endocrinologist a doctor who specializes in conditions of the endocrine glands, such as the thyroid.

Most thyroid nodules are benign and cause no problems if left untreated. However, approximately 5 to 10 percent of thyroid nodules are cancerous but even then, a patient might not need surgery right away because most thyroid cancers grow slowly.

Iram Hussain, M.D.

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Thyroid Nodule Treatment Options

Most nodules, benign or cancerous, are not an immediate health risk. However, as with most conditions, treating the issue early is less intensive and less invasive than waiting until it becomes serious.

The treatment your endocrinologist recommends will depend upon the nodule characteristics:

If you are diagnosed with a thyroid nodule, dont panic. The majority of thyroid nodules are benign, and most do not require surgery. See an endocrinologist to find the most effective treatment option for you and to get your questions answered.

To find out whether you or a loved one might benefit from a thyroid exam or a second opinion, call or request an appointment online.

Complementary And Alternative Medicine

Some people try other therapies to cleanse the body, restore immune function, and balance the production and release of hormones. You should talk to your doctor if you’re interested in these other methods to make sure they won’t harm you or interfere with your treatment.

A naturopath may use homeopathic mixtures, herbs, preparations based on traditional Chinese medicine , and acupuncture to remove blocks to your ”life force energy.” Naturopaths are authorized to treat thyroid disease in some states, but in others, it’s illegal. While they may help with the stress associated with thyroid disease, there are no good studies showing that these therapies are effective for treating thyroid disorders.

Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to treat symptoms of thyroid disorders by easing muscle tension and improving blood circulation.

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What Is The Thyroid And What Does It Do

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower portion of the front of the neck, just above the collarbone.

The thyroid affects various organs in the body, Dr. Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic, told Newsweek. “It can control temperature regulation, metabolism, gastrointestinal health, heart health, and bone and brain health.”

What Should I Expect When Seeing An Endocrinologist

Most Thyroid Issues Are Secondary to Other Problems Dr. Berg

Youll most likely see an endocrinologist during an outpatient visit to their office. You can expect that theyll ask thorough questions about your medical history, current medications and symptoms. They may also perform a physical exam.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Getting a new diagnosis can be overwhelming. If you have a condition that affects your endocrine system, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, an endocrinologist can help you manage and treat your condition. Theyre experts in their field and have up-to-date knowledge on medications, procedures and technology that can help you. If youre currently seeing your primary healthcare provider to manage your endocrine condition and want more specified care and information, dont be afraid to ask them for an endocrinologist recommendation or referral.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/12/2022.


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What Is Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your throat. It produces hormones that are crucial to many bodily functions, including growth, development, and metabolism. These hormones are called thyroxine and triiodothyronine . Thyroid function depends greatly on another glandthe pituitary, which monitors hormone levels and tells your thyroid how much to produce.

The pituitary exerts this control over the thyroid with the aptly named thyroid-stimulating hormone . When thyroid hormone levels drop, the pituitary releases more TSH to stimulate the thyroid to increase production.

In thyroid disease, you can end up with either too much thyroid hormonehyperthyroidismor too littlehypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism speeds up your body’s systems and processes, while hypothyroidism slows them down, leading to opposite symptoms.

What To Consider In Your Personal And Family Medical Histories

Its important to give your physician as many details as possible about your personal medical history, as well as family history . Be sure to discuss:

  • Your general state of healthparticularly any changes you have noticed in your general overall health.

  • Your familys health historyespecially if a close relative has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism .

  • Whether youve ever had , or radiation to your neck to treat cancer.

  • Any medicines you may be taking that could cause hypothyroidism .

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Symptoms Of Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimotos disease can slowly progress over many years, and you may not experience symptoms at all.

But, eventually, your thyroid hormone production will decline and lead to any of the symptoms below:

  • Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles

When to see a medical professional about your symptoms

Hashimoto’s disease symptoms aren’t always specific to just that condition and can vary from person to person.

Since different conditions can also cause these symptoms, it’s essential you see your doctor immediately to receive a timely and proper diagnosis.

Thyroid disease-related emergencies don’t occur often, but they can occur. For example, extremely severe and untreated hypothyroidism can lead to hypothyroid coma . This is an endocrine emergency that requires urgent care.

When there’s a thyroid hormone deficiency, HC is typically triggered by various factors,³ such as:

  • Congestive heart failure

HC accounts for around 0.1% of hypothyroid patients³ in hospital. It especially affects women who are older than 60.

Insurance And Payment Considerations


Taking the time to review your health insurance policy before making an appointment may end up saving you a lot of money. Many insurance companies cover a wide range of providers, but in different tiers, with lower copays and better coverage for first-tier providers. This doesn’t mean that you can’t see a second tier or out-of-network provider, but the cost of doing so will likely be higher.

Many of the more “open-minded” healthcare providers when it comes to thyroid disease operate on a self-pay only basis. If you can afford it, just a few visits with a truly knowledgeable thyroid doctor could mean returning to wellness sooner than you might under the care of another healthcare provider. That said, if you are being treated and feel that the treatment is successfully controlling your symptoms, sticking with your insurance coverage is probably a wise financial decision.

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Diagnosing Thyroid Conditions At The Barranco Clinic

Various tests will be performed to evaluate the function of your thyroid gland. These include speaking with you about your symptoms, asking a set of questions, a full examination of your neck, and a blood test. A blood test can reveal the amount of hormones being secreted by your thyroid, and whether too little or too much is being produced and released into your system.

Thyroid Tests And Diagnosis

If you have symptoms of thyroid disease, your endocrinology doctor may recommend diagnostic testing. Scripps endocrinologists use blood, lab and imaging tests to diagnose thyroid disorders.

Blood test

A blood sample is collected and checked for abnormal levels of hormones and other substances that can indicate a problem with the thyroid. Blood tests can let your doctor know if your thyroid is functioning properly and if you need treatment.

Nuclear medicine scan

A nuclear medicine tracer is swallowed or injected into a vein and absorbed by the thyroid gland. A camera tracks where the radioactivity is. By measuring the amount of radioactivity that is taken up by the thyroid gland, doctors may determine whether the gland is functioning normally.

If your doctor believes you may have thyroid cancer, you may have additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as a biopsy, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI or PET scan.

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Surgical Treatment For Cancerous Thyroid Conditions

As explained earlier, treatment techniques for thyroid conditions depend on the nature of the condition and whether ENT specialists are required. Ultrasound scans give ENT professionals a better understanding of the patients’ thyroid situation and whether surgical procedures are necessary. Also, thyroid biopsy and surgery are safe options once medical examinations reveal more information about the condition. When you visit ENT specialists, they will usually take you through thyroid function tests, thyroid scans and ultrasonography.

All the above procedures are followed to verify whether the thyroid nodules are cancerous. Cancerous thyroid conditions often require entirely different treatment options.

On the other hand, benign thyroid nodules require hormone suppression therapy to correct the disorders. There are also anti-thyroid medications such as methimazole that effectively treat some categories of patients’ thyroid conditions. Assuming your nodule size is relatively small, an ENT doctor may give you some time to wait so that they can monitor the growth of the tissue.

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