hormone therapy for thyroid disease in seniors
Dr. Jean Chen on Over Treating the Thyroid and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

The thyroid  is a small gland at the front of your neck that produces hormones which help control several different organ systems. If it’s either underactive (hypothyroidism), or overactive (hyperthyroidism), it could cause serious health issues such as weight changes, fatigue, anxiety/depression, or osteoporosis and may require medication to help better regulate it. 

New research shows though that some hormone medications used to treat thyroid conditions, if administered in excess, may contribute to cognitive disorders in older adults.

This particular study evaluating more than 65,000 patients appeared recently in the JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association and showed that those 65 years and older who received thyroid hormone therapy were at an increased risk for developing dementia and other cognitive issues, especially those who were aggressively dosed. 

Our endocrinology experts at Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology treat many hormonal issues, including those affecting the thyroid. One of our board-certified endocrinology specialists, Dr. Jean Chen, shared her thoughts on this study for an article in Medscape.

The article stressed the importance of being vigilant when dosing hormone therapy for older adults to avoid the cognitive consequences of overtreatment. 

“Taking a cautious approach to prescribing thyroid hormone therapy for older patients is

paramount,” said Dr. Chen. “All medical providers need to be aware that the 65 and older population does not need to be treated as aggressively with their thyroid hormone.” 

“We are finding more and more complications from overtreatment rather than benefit in this (senior) population.”

Dr. Chen also explained that symptoms of hyperthyroidism can often mimic those of another condition, so it is important to obtain a thorough diagnosis from a primary care physician before automatically adopting any hormone therapies. Our endocrinologists frequently work in close collaboration with other care providers to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to suit your personal needs. 

Thyroid Specialists in Austin

Our team of endocrinology specialists is experienced at diagnosing and treating all issues affecting the thyroid including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. We provide convenient thyroid ultrasound imaging and biopsy procedures on-site in our clinics and will work with you to formulate the most effective treatment plan possible.

Contact Us Today to Learn More about Managing Your Diabetes and Hormones 

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology and discover how our comprehensive endocrinology services can help you, please contact us at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online.  

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you with helpful wellness and health information.

Dr. Chen Weighs In on Thyroid Supplements for Men’s Health

Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology’s very own Dr. Jean Chen recently shared her expertise on thyroid supplements with Men’s Health. In the article, Dr. Chen and other endocrinologists explain the importance of checking with your doctor for thyroid concerns and why thyroid supplements could do more harm than good. Dr. Chen says doctors generally don’t recommend thyroid supplements because they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

To learn more about the risks of thyroid supplements, read the article here.

To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid conditions, schedule a consultation with one of our board certified endocrinologists in Austin or Round Rock by requesting an appointment online or call (512) 458-8400.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

thyroid nodules
National Thyroid Awareness Month: What you Need to Know about Thyroid Nodules

A thyroid nodule is a growth of thyroid tissue that can sometimes present as a lump in the thyroid gland. According to the National Library of Medicine, thyroid nodules are detected by physical examination in approximately 5-7% of adults. Thyroid nodules are fairly common, and most nodules are benign or non-cancerous. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 90% of nodules are benign. However, although less common, some nodules do contain cancer. 

This National Thyroid Awareness Month, we’re sharing what you need to know about thyroid nodules.

Unfortunately, there is no known cause for most thyroid nodules, even though they are common. There are a few risk factors for developing thyroid nodules, including:

Causes and Risk Factors

  • Increasing age
  • Living in areas of iodine deficiency
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Smoking

Thyroid Nodule Symptoms

Generally, thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms and blood tests like thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) are normal. Though rare, some patients have described symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, or ear
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • A feeling of fullness in the neck

Because symptoms do not usually occur, it’s important to get regular checkups and that you make sure your doctor checks your neck.

Diagnosis and Treatment

It is not possible to differentiate benign from cancerous nodules by symptoms or clinical exams alone. Once a nodule is discovered specialized tests, such as an ultrasound and fine needle biopsy, may be recommended. If you have been diagnosed with a nodule, we offer a Thyroid Nodule Fast Track Program which guarantees you an appointment within two weeks.

Our thyroid ultrasounds and biopsies are done on-site in the comfort of an outpatient setting for your convenience. If you have a thyroid nodule that requires a biopsy, this procedure will be performed in our office with ultrasound-guided technology. In some cases, benign nodules may need to be removed surgically. If surgery is not recommended, your doctor will monitor the nodule for changes. 

Thyroid patients can expect to see their endocrinologist in addition to a physician extender in developing and maintaining a treatment plan for their condition. We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” treatment plan. Our providers take the time to get to know their patients and work diligently to find a plan that is based upon the patient’s needs.

Contact Texas Diabetes Thyroid Specialists Today

To schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist at our Central Austin, South Austin or Round Rock location, call 512-458-8400 or request an appointment online.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

Is there a connection between your thyroid and high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance that your body needs to build cells and produce hormones and vitamin D. You’ve probably heard about the importance of monitoring your cholesterol levels, but did you know that there can be a connection between your thyroid and high cholesterol? In some cases, treating an underactive thyroid could resolve cholesterol problems.

What causes high cholesterol?

There are a few main causes of high cholesterol to consider:

  • Diet – Consuming too many foods that are high in fat.
  • Genetics – Some people inherit genes that cause them to produce too much cholesterol.
  • Hypothyroidism – The decreased metabolism caused by this condition can impact your levels of total cholesterol. 

What is the connection between your thyroid and high cholesterol?

Thyroid hormones regulate your body’s metabolism. If you are affected by hypothyroidism, your metabolism is slowed. This impacts the breakdown of cholesterol and triglycerides in your body, leading to high cholesterol levels.

If you have high cholesterol levels, it’s important to talk with your doctor about whether a thyroid screening can be ordered to avoid undiagnosed hypothyroidism and to ensure you are receiving the correct treatment.

What are some lifestyle changes that will help lower cholesterol?

If you still have high cholesterol after testing for and treating a thyroid diagnosis, there are some steps you can take to help get your cholesterol back into balance – the biggest changes being your diet and exercise routine.  

Incorporate more foods into your diet that substitute monounsaturated fats and try to eliminate trans fats, which are often found in processed foods. It’s also helpful to make sure you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber in your diet. Eating more foods like salmon, almonds, oats, beans, and vegetables will help you to accomplish this. 

Consistent exercise is also an important step to lower your cholesterol. Try incorporating more walks into your day or take a yoga class! Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day can make all the difference.

We know that these big lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help! Our NextStepMD Weight Loss Program is designed to help you lose weight, maintain weight loss, and gain better control of your health. We offer one-on-one sessions and work closely with our patients to recommend the methods that offer the greatest opportunities of success. We’ll educate, motivate and support you as you establish new habits. Our medical team will help guide you through the program with ease and support!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

Next Page »