Reasons To See An Endocrinologist
Typically, youâll see an endocrinologist in an outpatient setting after being referred by your primary care doctor. However, an endocrinologist could be called in to consult during an inpatient visit if there are concerns about an underlying hormone-related disorder.
Patients see endocrinologists for reasons ranging from diabetes management to problems with their thyroid, certain types of cancer, adrenal disorders, and more. Your doctor will likely refer you when there are concerns about:
Difficulty Managing Diabetes with Standard Treatments
Individuals with diabetes typically see a primary care doctor regularly and may take medication to help keep their blood sugar levels stable. However, if standard treatment doesnât get your blood sugar levels under control, your primary care doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist will look for additional strategies to help control your diabetes.
Thyroid disorders can involve too much or too little of different types of hormones produced in the thyroid. You may be referred to an endocrinologist when a thyroid disorder is first diagnosed to review your condition and create a treatment plan. If there are no other complicating factors, youâll complete follow-up care with your primary care doctor.
Ask An Endocrinologist About Any Kind Of Doubt You Have In Your Mind Regarding Your Thyroid Issue
You might be seeking advice from a general physician regarding your thyroid issue. However, if you are in any kind of doubt, you can always ask an endocrinologist regarding your problem and seek expert consultation. The endocrinologist might ask you to do further tests and investigations to be sure whether you are getting the right treatment. Again, if all the tests are already done, the endocrinologist might just look through them and offer his expert opinion. Your general physician might not be able to answer many questions that you have in mind regarding thyroid, but the endocrinologist will be able to do the same.
What Are The Treatment Options
Most thyroid nodules require no treatment. Depending on the type of nodule and related symptoms, different treatment options may be appropriate. In some cases, thyroid surgery is needed. Your endocrinologist or ENT specialist, or otolaryngologist, may order or perform:
- Thyroid function tests, including thyroid stimulating hormone
- Blood tests, or radiology examination
- An ultrasound to see the size and appearance of the nodule
- A fine needle aspiration biopsy, which is a safe, relatively painless procedure. In this procedure, a small needle is passed into the lump, and tissue samples containing cells are taken and then sent to a pathologist for testing.
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Can I Switch To Another Thyroid Drug
Several different brand names and generic versions of thyroid hormone replacement are available. Still, its a good idea to stay on the same medicine. Even though all of these drugs contain the same active ingredient, they can also contain different inactive ingredients that might affect your treatment.
The Difference Between An Endocrinologist Thyroidologist And Osteopathic Doctor
An endocrinologist is probably going to be your first choice in top thyroid doctors when you are looking for a purely medical approach to treatment. Endocrinologists treat diseases associated with the hormone systems in the body. The thyroid is a major player in the body’s hormone production.
A thyroidologist is more specific. They specialize only in thyroid function and disease and are often surgeons who can perform the delicate thyroid surgery needed to remove tumors or nodules on the thyroid gland that can cause hypothyroidism.
A doctor of osteopathy is a more all-around physician who is trained to consider the patient’s whole health when making a diagnosis. In many ways, those who find traditional thyroid testing incomplete or inaccurate to diagnose their thyroid problems will have a more positive outcome from a doctor who isn’t focused on a single type of test to diagnose a thyroid condition.
|Facts About Thyroid Disease|
Once you have narrowed down your choices near you, it is important to make the best choice for you. Even the best thyroid doctors may not be a perfect fit for you or your personality.
Make an initial consultation appointment.
During this meeting, you should seek information from the doctor regarding his philosophy of treating hypothyroidism. This isn’t an examination or testing. Don’t expect, or even request blood tests at this time. As the doctor how he evaluates possible thyroid problems.
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Traditional And Conventional Doctors That You Can See
These are doctors that are conventionally trained and consist of both MDs and DOs .
These doctors have gone to medical school and completed residency and are usually board certified in a specific area of practice.
They have gone through at least 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, and anywhere from 3-4 years of residency after medical school.
Unfortunately, being board certified and having completed residency does not guarantee that they are the “best”, though.
The good part about standardized medicine is that you can expect a certain degree of competence among all types of physicians.
The bad part about standardized medicine is that this competence is pretty much the same regardless of what type of doctor you see.
These types of doctors rarely think “outside” of the box and stick to the rigid guidelines provided by boards and governing medical bodies.
Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you are someone that fits the stock standard mold of thyroid management.
But what if you are someone who doesn’t respond to conventional medications like levothyroxine or Synthroid?
What if you are someone who has abnormal reactions to medications or presents with abnormal symptoms?
What if you are someone who prefers to take a more natural approach to manage your thyroid?
If so, then these are typically not the best doctors for you.
Having said that, they aren’t all, and some may work well for you.
Family Practice Doctors or Primary Care Physicians
What Can I Expect Once I Decide To Proceed With Surgery
Once you have met with the surgeon and decided to proceed with surgery, you will be scheduled for your pre-operative evaluation You should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight on the day before surgery and should leave valuables and jewelry at home.
The surgery usually takes 2-2½ hours, after which time you will slowly wake up in the recovery room. Surgery may be performed through a standard incision in the neck or may be done through a smaller incision with the aid of a video camera . Under special circumstances, thyroid surgery can be performed with the assistance of a robot through a distant incision in either the axilla or the back of the neck. There may be a surgical drain in the incision in your neck and your throat may be sore because of the breathing tube placed during the operation. Once you are fully awake, you will be allowed to have something light to eat and drink. Many patients having thyroid operations, especially after hemithyroidectomy, are able to go home the same day after a period of observation in the hospital. Some patients will be admitted to the hospital overnight and discharged the next morning.
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More About Diagnosing Thyroid Diseases
Val Jones, MD, is the CEO of GetBetterHealth.com , a compilation of the best of the medical blogs. A transcript and the full audio podcast of this conversation can be found there.
What Will Be My Physical Restrictions Following Surgery
Most surgeons prefer that patients limit extreme physical activities following surgery for a few days or weeks. This is primarily to reduce the risk of a postoperative neck hematoma and breaking of stitches in the wound closure. These limitations are brief, usually followed by a quick transition back to unrestricted activity. Normal activity can begin on the first postoperative day. Vigorous sports, such as swimming, and activities that include heavy lifting should be delayed for at least ten days to 2 weeks.
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When You May Want To See An Endocrinologist
If you need an oncologist or a surgeon, you will know it, as either, you will have a diagnosis of thyroid cancer or a thyroidectomy will have already been recommended to you.
When that’s not the case, you may assume that an endocrinologist is a better choice for you than your primary care doctor or OB/GYN. Endocrinologists specialize in the endocrine system, but not everyone with a thyroid condition needs to see one of these specialists. This is fortunate as there is currently a significant shortage of endocrinologists in the United States.
With conditions such as autoimmune hypothyroidism, people may actually receive better care from another specialist simply because they are able to see them more regularly many endocrinologists’ appointments are booked far into the future or they are not taking any new patients.
However, in certain circumstances and when particular conditions are already diagnosed , seeing an endocrinologist is a good idea:
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism persist despite “normal” lab tests
- TSH fluctuates unpredictably
- Heart disease along with a thyroid problem
An initial evaluation with an endocrinologist may also be helpful for those with new-onset Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and for those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant with thyroid disease .
If you do see an endocrinologist, it’s important to find one who specializes in thyroid disease rather than another endocrine condition such as diabetes.
Why Hypothyroidism Is Not Diagnosed On Symptoms Alone
Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are fairly common complaints found in people with a normally functioning thyroid gland, so it can be hard to decipher if the symptoms are related to the thyroid. One of the best ways to figure out if your symptoms could be related to a thyroid condition is to consider how long you have been experiencing them.
For example, have you always felt cold when others were warm? Did you just start to notice decreased energy? If you are starting to notice new signs and symptoms, it could be related to a thyroid issue. However, only a physician can diagnose a thyroid problem.
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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.
Thinking About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they’re not right for everyone.
If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials.
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Ask A Doctor For The Tests That Should Be Done To Diagnose The Thyroid Problem Correctly
To get the right treatment process you must choose the best doctor who is well experienced and who is updated with technology and all types of equipment needed for the treatment. Wher some doctors like to stick to old treatment methods for thyroid, while others will try new methods. They might ask for carrying out various kinds of investigations. Most doctors will only ask to do a TSH test. But a proficient doctor will ask to do Free T3, Total T3, Free T4 and Total T4 for overall thyroid testing. Investigating all the variables helps in getting the larger picture and proper treatment can be done. The best doctor for thyroid treatment will check all variables and then start treatment accordingly.
Why Would You Go To An Endocrinologist
You would be referred to an endocrinologist by your family doctor, or you can visit him/her on your own if
- You are a diabetic and
- Your high blood sugar level has not been controlled by your doctors treatment
- Your doctor does not have experience in treating diabetes
- You are on many insulin shots or on an insulin pump
- You have developed complications of diabetes
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Research Credentials And Experience
Take time to research the doctors credentials and experience. Look for a surgeon who is board certified in otolaryngology or general surgery and performs thyroid removal on a regular basis. You may want to look for a surgeon who is board certified in pediatric otolaryngology for a child who needs thyroid surgery. The more experience a doctor has performing , the better prepared the doctor is to anticipate and prevent complications.
Also, confirm that the doctor is in good standing with state and federal agencies and that he or she has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. Youll find all this information on Healthgrades.com.
What Causes The Immune System To Attack The Thyroid Gland
Dr. Mandagere: Thats really the million dollar question that we dont completely understand. We do know how the process works, though.
All of the organs in our body have little markers lets call them red flags that tell our immune system that they belong to, and are part of our body. When the immune system doesnt see or sense these red flags it produces antibodies that attack the gland. Over time, this impairs its ability to produce thyroid hormone, which causes hypothyroidism.
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How Do I Take Thyroid Hormone
Your doctor might suggest that you take this drug in the morning when your stomach is empty. Having food in your stomach can prevent thyroid hormone from fully absorbing. Some medications and supplements can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone. Its usually recommended to take levothyroxine four hours before or after taking these.
How Thyroid Nodules Are Treated
Once a thyroid nodule has been identified, an otolaryngologist will take steps to learn more about its character. Fine needle aspiration cytology may be used, in which a small needle collects a few cells of the nodule so that they may be examined under a microscope to help pinpoint a diagnosis. For some patients, it will be recommended that they simply have regular ultrasounds to monitor the nodules. Others may be treated with medications, while some thyroid nodules are best treated by surgical removal of part of the entire thyroid gland.
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What Is An Endocrinologist
An endocrinologist is a medical specialist who treats people with a range of conditions that are caused by problems with hormones, such as diabetes, menopause and thyroid problems.
Hormones are part of theendocrine system, series of glands that produce and secrete hormones that control many different bodily functions. The endocrine system includes:
- the pituitary gland
How To Choose The Best Doctor For Thyroid Treatment
There are different glands in the human body from where various kinds of hormones are secreted, which helps in stimulating various important functions in the body. Among them, the thyroid gland needs special mention. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland, which is located right at the base of the neck. There are various functions that are controlled by this gland in the body. However, there might be problems in this gland leading to various health disorders. The thyroid can be underactive or overactive . To treat these problems, it is important to see a doctor at the earliest. The next question that arises is how to choose the best doctor for thyroid problems. The following article will give you the complete information of how you can choose the best doctor for thyroid and even can also get the information of the specialists who deal with problems of endocrine glands and they are the best people to consult with these kinds of problems.
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Rachel Hill Thyroid Patient Advocate
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.