adrenal disorder
What are Adrenal Disorders?

The adrenal glands are located at the top of the kidneys and produce a variety of hormones that help regulate essential bodily functions including the immune system, metabolism, blood pressure and how the body response to stress. When your adrenal glands don’t produce enough or produce too much of these hormones, adrenal disorders can occur.

We asked board certified endocrinologist Dr. Jean Chen to provide her insights on some of the top questions around adrenal disorders.

What are adrenal disorders? 

Adrenal disorders are a category of diseases that are due to dysfunction of adrenal glands. This is where the glands may over or under produce certain adrenal hormones.

What adrenal disorders are treated at Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology?

There are several adrenal gland disorders that can range from temporary concerns to chronic conditions. We see patients with:

What are the symptoms of adrenal disorders and when should you contact a healthcare provider?

There are a large range of symptoms that can occur due to adrenal issues. You may see unexplained weight changes, blood pressure abnormalities, frequent sickness or fatigue, or weakness. You should contact your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms.

How are adrenal disorders diagnosed?

A patient’s history and examination will help determine the blood and urine tests we ordered to look adrenal hormone levels. If the results are abnormal, additional imaging tests including CT or MRI scans may be recommended. 

How are adrenal disorders treated at Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology?

Once a diagnosis is made, our adrenal experts can help tailor a treatment plan that fits best for the patient. Depending on the type of adrenal gland disorder, treatment can include medication, radiation therapy, or surgery. 

If you think you may have an adrenal disorder, contact your healthcare provider immediately. These conditions can be serious if left untreated.

If you’d like to learn more about our full range of endocrine services, please call Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online

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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.

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insulin pump
Should I Get an Insulin Pump?

If you’re living with diabetes, you know that managing your blood sugar levels can be a challenge and a chore, especially if you are taking multiple insulin injections a day. If you are ready to consider switching to an insulin pump, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and remember, the choice is up to you.

An insulin pump is a small, computerized device that you wear to deliver insulin automatically – either in small continuous doses or close to mealtime. In this blog, we’re sharing some insights from endocrinologist Dr. Tira Chaicha-Brom about the benefits of insulin pumps and what to consider prior to use.

Benefits and Types of Insulin Pumps

There are many different insulin pumps available on the market. Patch pumps have no electronic component and do not have a feature for automatically adjusting the insulin delivery – you must manually press a button to deliver the insulin. However, Dr. Chaicha-Brom says they tend to be more discrete and are convenient for patients who do not want to carry the insulin pens and needles around. 

If you are comfortable using technology and are already using multiple daily injections, you can consider a closed loop pump. With a closed loop pump, there is a level of manual skill needed to manage the pump, as well as a need to be able to read a screen. As a safety benefit, the closed loop pumps will suspend the delivery of insulin if your blood sugars are trending low or give more insulin if your blood sugars are too elevated. This adjustable insulin delivery can improve consistent blood sugar levels while offering flexibility for patients. Closed loop pumps also deliver bolus insulin with meals, which requires patients to enter information and push a button to deliver the insulin. 

Insulin Pump Considerations

Insulin pumps are not permanent, but if you decide to get an insulin pump, you will always be required to wear the device. While some types of pumps can be placed discretely on the body, it is often difficult to conceal it, especially if it has a cord or tube for the insulin to flow through. 

“Patients need to consider that they will have a device attached to their skin at all times,” emphasizes Dr. Chaicha-Brom. “Most patients should be on a sensor as well, so that typically means having two devices to manage.”

Dr. Chaicha-Brom also explains that carb counting is a major component of using an insulin pump. The amount of insulin you need is calculated by entering how many carbs you are consuming along with your current blood sugar. 

“Prior to starting on a pump, patients should have a solid understanding of carb counting. If you do not already know how to count carbs, it is recommended that you meet with a registered dietician for training.” 

Cost is another factor to consider. In addition to the cost of the pump itself, you will need to purchase supplies that are changed several times a week. In short, insulin pumps are more expensive than injections. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that an insulin pump is not something you can get and then forget about. You will need to engage with the pump regularly throughout the day and continue to check your blood glucose.

An insulin pump can be a great way to help you manage your diabetes while increasing your flexibility and freedom. If you’re interested in getting an insulin pump, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits to decide if it is right for you.

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reduce prediabetes risk
How to Reduce Your Prediabetes Risk

Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be clinically diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can have serious side effects including an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. 

There is consistent evidence that shows the relationship between blood glucose and cardiovascular risk extends into the prediabetes range. While there is not as much evidence that shows treating mild hyperglycemia (prediabetes) reduces risk for these complications, treating prediabetes can help prevent or delay diabetes onset and preserve insulin production function.

What is the Data?

It is estimated that 37.3 million people (11.3% of the US population) have type 2 diabetes. However, 96 million people over the age of 18 are estimated to have prediabetes (which is 38% of the adult US population) and 26.4 million people with prediabetes are over the age of 65. Overall, approximately 25% will progress to diabetes over the next 3-5 years.  

Recent Research

A recent study indicated that about 5 percent of people diagnosed with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within a year. Early intervention of lifestyle changes – such as diet and exercise – can help reduce your risk. Dr. Lindsay Harrison recently discussed this research with Healthline, saying, “The benefits of intervention persisted over 10 years after the start of the study. There is evidence that reverting to normal glucose even briefly had a long-term reduction of progression to diabetes. Overall, lifestyle intervention is both effective and cost-effective. Although lifestyle changes have not been shown to reduce morbidity or mortality thus far, lifestyle changes are generally beneficial and do not have adverse effects.”

There have been several other studies in the prediabetes population which show that changes in lifestyle slow the progression to diabetes.  For example, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) found that intensive lifestyle and metformin interventions reduced the cumulative incidence of diabetes by 58 and 31 percent respectively compared to placebo. The study found lifestyle changes to be particularly effective for individuals over age 60, while metformin was more effective in individuals younger than age 60.

Reduce Your Risk

As you can see, lifestyle changes are a big factor in reducing your risk developing type 2 diabetes after being diagnosed with prediabetes. Some steps you can make include:

  • Develop healthy eating habits
  • Incorporate additional exercise into your routine 
  • Quit smoking

If you’re looking to start making some of these lifestyle changes, we can help! Our NextStepMD program is designed to help our patients lose weight, maintain weight loss, and gain better control of their health. Our medically supervised program is for our patients with diabetes, but is also open to patients who have prediabetes or don’t have diabetes at all. Our weight loss strategies include the use of nutrition education, diet and exercise plans as well as FDA-approved weight loss medications if necessary.

If you’d like to learn more about our full range of diabetes services, please call Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology 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 helpful wellness and health information.

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