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1515 North Flagler Drive, Suite 430, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 8200 Jog Road, Suite 200, Boynton Beach, FL 33437 550 Heritage Drive, Suite 150, Jupiter, FL 33458 1041 State Road 7, Suite 1, Wellington, FL 33414
 

Division of Integrated Thyroid Care

About The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is one of the most important glands in your body.  Perfect thyroid function is essential for your general health, metabolism and overall sense of wellbeing.  In addition, the thyroid influences almost every other organ in your body.shutterstock_134702270

Thyroid conditions are very common.  You may have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) which can cause a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, changes in weight, issues with bowel habits and changes in your hair and skin.  In addition, nodules of the thyroid occur in 4-7% of the general population.

One of the biggest problems in the field of thyroidology is that the range of normal for thyroid function varies so widely.  It is essential that your physician takes a careful history and performs a thorough physical examination, along with evaluating special thyroid tests.  In doing so, your thyroid function can be accurately assessed and properly treated.

The physicians at PBDES have over 150 years of cumulative thyroid experience from the finest institutions in the United States.  Our team of dedicated specialists will work with you throughout the course of your thyroid treatment.  Our thyroid center office is uniquely equipped to assist you with your thyroid condition:

  • Treatment protocols are recommended after a comprehensive review of your specific symptoms and test results
  • Same-day diagnostic and screening services for thyroid conditions allow you to receive your diagnosis faster
  • All offices at PBDES have the same state-of-the-art high definition ultrasound machines
  • On site laboratory for fast reliable results
  • Supportive post-operative care is available following thyroid cancer surgery
  • In-house I131 hot lab to treat hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer, supervised by Lab Director Dr. Jaime Steinsapir

 

shutterstock_133227362Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists is excited to announce that it has the capability to give oral radioactive iodine therapy for patients with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and patients with thyroid cancer.  We are the only physician office in Palm Beach County licensed to administer this treatment and the lab is directed by Dr. Jaime Steinsapir, who is certified in this procedure.

Iodine is essential for proper function of the thyroid gland, which uses it to make the thyroid hormones that circulate in our bodies.  Iodine, in the form of iodide, can be made into a radioactive isotope, Iodine I131.  When ingested into the body, it is taken up selectively by the thyroid, and this allows us to treat patients with hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer.  In the case of an overactive thyroid, this treatment can safely eradicate some of the thyroid tissue so that the thyroid function can return to normal.  With thyroid cancer, therapy with Iodine I131 will remove any remaining thyroid tissue that is left after surgery.

This treatment is given by mouth in pill form and is safe to use in individuals who have had allergic reactions to seafood or X-Ray contrast agents. Patients are educated in radiation safety precautions after treatment to avoid radiation exposure to others, following guidelines approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Bureau of Radiation Control from the Florida Department of Health.  These precautions depend on the amount of radioactive iodine being administered.

The Radioactive Iodine Laboratory is located in the West Palm Beach office of Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists.  The Laboratory will help to integrate thyroid care throughout our offices in Jupiter, Boynton Beach, Wellington and West Palm Beach.

Evaluating and Treating Thyroid Nodules

When a patient is diagnosed with a thyroid nodule or nodules, they need to be evaluated for the possibility of malignancy.  Fortunately, the vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign.  It is not usually possible for a physician to determine whether a thyroid nodule is cancerous based on an examination or blood tests, so other tests need to be done.

Thyroid Specialists West Palm Beach

Thyroid ultrasonography is a procedure for obtaining pictures of the thyroid gland by using sound waves that pass through the skin.  All offices at PBDES have the same state-of-the-art high definition ultrasound machines.  In examining thyroid nodules, certain characteristics such as size and consistency can help determine whether a nodule is benign or not.  However, the best use of a thyroid ultrasound is guiding the placement of a biopsy needle and following nodules over time to make sure they are not growing or changing substantially.

Nodules of a certain size and with certain characteristics will require a biopsy.  This is a simple procedure that is done with ultrasound guidance to obtain a sample of the tissue which is sent to a pathologist in order to determine the nature of the nodule.  Sometimes the answer is not clear and further testing is needed.  PBDES is affiliated with several facilities capable of analyzing the genetics of the thyroid tissue.  This technique enables us to determine with a much higher degree of accuracy if the nodule is benign or malignant, and can save the need for surgery in many cases.

If surgery is required, we will assist you in finding a surgeon that can address your medical needs and who uses the most current approaches available.  Following surgery, your PBDES endocrinologist will monitor your progress and coordinate your post-operative therapy.

Hashimoto’s Disease and Thyroid Hormone Treatment

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common thyroid disease in the United States.  It is an inherited disease that is about 7 times more common in women than men.  It is characterized by the production of immune cells and autoantibodies by the body’s immune system, which can damage thyroid cells and compromise their ability to make thyroid hormone resulting in hypothyroidism.  The thyroid gland may also enlarge in some patients, forming a goiter and nodules.

Many patients with Hashimoto’s disease may have no symptoms for many years and the diagnosis is made incidentally when an enlarge thyroid gland or abnormal blood tests are discovered as part of a routine examination.  However, patients with Hashimoto’s disease who develop hypothyroidism are likely to do develop symptoms:  fatigue; forgetfulness; dry skin; brittle hair and nails; constipation; sore muscles; weight gain; menstrual irregularities.

A physician experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease can detect a goiter by performing a physical examination and can recognize hypothyroidism by identifying characteristic symptoms and doing the appropriate laboratory tests.  These tests include measurement of thyroid function and antithyroid antibodies.  TSH, produced by the pituitary gland is the most accurate indication of thyroid function.  It will rise dramatically even before the levels of thyroid hormone (T4 and T3) circulating in the body become low in someone with impending hypothyroidism.

Patients with hypothyroidism must take a pill containing thyroid hormone every day to replace the thyroid hormone they lack.  Synthetic T4, called levothyroxine, is exactly the same as the T4 made by the body.  Some patients may also require T3 therapy, which is another thyroid hormone that circulates in our bodies.  This can be achieved by adding liothyronine or by taking Armour Thyroid, which has T4 and T3 in it.  It is important that your physician base appropriate treatment not only on blood tests, but on symptoms due to the broad normal range of thyroid levels.

Thyroid Specialists Wellington