Hypothyroidism Specialist

Michelle Starke, MD

Gynecologist & Functional Medicine Specialist located in Coral Gables, FL

Hypothyroidism affects nearly 5% of Americans over the age of 12, although it often goes untreated for a long time due to the slow development of symptoms. Dr. Michelle Starke has worked with women for years, accurately diagnosing hypothyroidism and restoring hormone levels back to normal so you can feel healthy again. To learn whether you have hypothyroidism, call the office in Coral Gables, Florida or book an appointment online.

Hypothyroidism

What does the thyroid gland do?

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolism, growth, and many other body functions. One hormone released by the thyroid gland, calcitonin, affects calcium absorption and bone metabolism.

When most patients talk about thyroid hormones, however, they’re not referring to calcitonin. They’re talking about the two key hormones that control your metabolism, commonly referred to as T3 and T4.

The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce T3 and T4, and when they’re released, they affect nearly every cell and system in your body, including:

  • Heart rate
  • Body weight
  • Muscle strength
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Breathing
  • Nervous system
  • Body temperature

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid gland. In other words, the thyroid isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, which generally slows down your metabolism.

There are several primary causes of hypothyroidism:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: the most common cause; it results from an autoimmune condition causing thyroid inflammation
  • Inflammation: previous or ongoing inflammation of the thyroid gland causes damage that interferes with thyroid hormone production
  • Medical treatments: previous thyroid disease leads to partial or complete removal of the gland, or radiation treatment damages the gland
  • Lithium: psychiatric medication known to cause hypothyroidism
  • Abnormal growths: cysts or tumors may inhibit thyroid hormone production

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroid symptoms typically develop gradually. By the time they’re severe enough to notice, you could have been suffering from this condition for a long time.

Although anyone can develop hypothyroidism, you have a higher risk if you’re a woman over the age of 60, have an autoimmune disease, or you have a family history of hypothyroidism.

Since hypothyroidism has such an extensive impact throughout your body, it can cause many possible symptoms. A few examples include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sensitivity to cold temperatures
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Elevated cholesterol

How is hypothyroidism treated?

Dr. Starke treats hypothyroidism with hormone replacement to restore normal levels of thyroid hormones. She begins with a thorough exam and blood tests to evaluate hormone levels and prescribe the proper dose. Your hormone levels are carefully monitored to make sure they stay within a normal range.

If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, don’t wait to get treatment — call Dr. Starke or book an appointment online.