Team Up with an Endocrinologist to Manage Thyroid Function

2016-05-03If your thyroid gland isn’t functioning properly, it can affect everything from energy levels to heart function to digestion. Patients with thyroid disorders may suffer from a wide range of symptoms. Understanding how a thyroid disorder can impact your health is the first key to feeling better. We’ve compiled information about two of the most common thyroid disorders and tips for coping.

Hypothyroidism

If your thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone, it results in a condition known as hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. Symptoms may include feeling colder, getting tired more easily, dry skin, depression, and constipation.

Hypothyroidism is generally caused by the body’s immune system rejecting the thyroid cells and is usually a lifelong condition. There is no connection between diet or iodine intake in altering the course of the disease. A family history of thyroid disease is common.

Taking a thyroid hormone supplement is the standard course of treatment for hypothyroidism. Your initial hormone dose will be selected based on weight, age, and other medical conditions. Your physician will closely monitor thyroid levels and make adjustments as needed.

Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid gland can result in hyperthyroidism. Patients may experience nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, racing of the heart, anxiety, unexplained weight loss, difficulty sleeping, fine, brittle hair, and weakness in muscles.

Treatment for hyperthyroidism may include antithyroid drugs to block the gland’s ability to make new thyroid hormone, radioactive iodine taken in a capsule form, or surgery.

Consider the following tips for helping manage the effects of hyperthyroidism.

  • Add calories. If you’ve lost weight, you may need to temporarily add extra calories to your diet until your hyperthyroidism is under control. Ask your doctor about how to add calories that are nutritious and healthy.
  • Consider a calcium and vitamin D supplement. Hyperthyroidism can contribute to thinning bones, so be sure to get 1,000 mg of calcium per day, or more if you are a woman over the age of 51. You should also take in 600 IUs of vitamin D each day.
  • Get plenty of rest. Try to get 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night and avoid intense schedules. This will help combat the fatigue that can be brought on by hyperthyroidism.

Team Up With an Endocrinologist

Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in treating hormone imbalances, including thyroid disorders. The Endocrinology team at LeBauer HealthCare in Greensboro works with patients to diagnose thyroid disorders, develop individualized treatment plans, and provide ongoing care and monitoring. Learn more about our Endocrinology services or call our office at 336-832-3088 for more information.

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