Thyroid hormones regulate many aspects of cell and organ function, including energy metabolism and brain development and function. The GW Medical Faculty Associates endocrinologists evaluate, monitor and treat all thyroid disorders.
When the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone, the diagnosis is hypothyroidism; if too much hormone is produced, the result is hyperthyroidism.
Unexplained fatigue and/or weight gain are common symptoms of hypothyroidism. Other effects of this condition can include high cholesterol and depression. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include unexplained weight loss, racing heart rate, anxiety and sleep problems.
Hypothyroidism is treated by thyroid hormone replacement. The prescription medication levothyroxine is biochemically identical to the major thyroid hormone made by your own thyroid gland. Using sensitive biochemical tests, our endocrinologists can exactly match your thyroid replacement dose to your individual requirement.
There are several options for treatment of hyperthyroidism including medications, radioactive iodine and surgery. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. At The GW Medical Faculty Associates, thorough discussions between endocrinologist and patient determine the choice of treatment, balancing patient priorities and concerns with the physician’s recommendation.
Goiter refers to an enlarged thyroid gland. There are many different causes of goiter and not all of them require treatment. Thyroid nodules or goiter may be found by the patient or may be discovered during a routine physical examination.
We use a number of techniques to evaluate goiter and nodules. Blood tests can help to determine if a goiter or nodule is causing hyperthyroidism. Imaging studies, including thyroid ultrasonography and the nuclear thyroid scan, can further characterize a nodule. Fine needle aspiration is done to obtain a small sample of thyroid cells for analysis.
Although most goiters and thyroid nodules are benign, about five to ten percent are malignant. Long-term outcomes for the most common forms of thyroid cancer are excellent. We refer patients to highly experienced thyroid surgeons for removal of these tumors. Following surgery, scans and imaging procedures may be required; some patients need radioactive iodine treatment. Thyroid hormone replacement is initiated after surgery and closely monitored thereafter.