Thyroid Dysfunction Specialist

Leo Kao, MD -  - Primary Care Physician

Lakewood Ranch Health

Leo Kao, MD

Primary Care Physician & Concierge Medicine located in Lakewood Ranch, FL

More than 12% of Americans can expect to have thyroid dysfunction during their lifetime, but women are 5-8 times more likely than men to face thyroid problems. At Lakewood Ranch Health, Leo Kao, MD, offers comprehensive treatment for thyroid dysfunction, whether you have an underactive or overactive thyroid gland. Don’t wait to get help because untreated thyroid disease increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment online or call the office in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, today.

Thyroid Dysfunction Q&A

How does the thyroid gland support my health?

Your thyroid gland produces three vital hormones. One of them keeps your bones strong by regulating blood levels of calcium.

The other two hormones, referred to as thyroid hormones, regulate virtually every part of your body, including your:

  • Metabolism
  • Body weight
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle strength
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Body temperature

When your blood levels of thyroid hormones go above or below the normal range, you develop thyroid dysfunction.

What type of thyroid dysfunction is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the gland fails to produce enough hormones. The top causes include an autoimmune disease, an over-response to hyperthyroidism treatment, and surgery to remove part or all of the gland.

Low thyroid hormones cause symptoms such as:

  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Hoarseness
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Puffy face
  • Constipation
  • Sensitivity to cold

When hypothyroidism goes untreated, it can cause high cholesterol and nerve damage. 

What type of thyroid dysfunction is hyperthyroidism?

The first step is drawing your blood to determine your levels of thyroid hormones. Once Dr. Kao determines the type of thyroid dysfunction, he prescribes a treatment such as:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Hand tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Thinning skin
  • Frizzy, brittle hair
  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased sensitivity to heat 

Hyperthyroidism typically develops when you have thyroid nodules or a goiter that produce hormones, an autoimmune disease, or an inflamed thyroid gland.

How is thyroid dysfunction treated?

The first step is drawing your blood to determine your levels of thyroid hormones. Once Dr. Kao determines the type of thyroid dysfunction, he prescribes a treatment such as:

Hypothyroidism treatment

The primary treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement therapy to restore normal blood levels of thyroid hormones. Most people find that their symptoms go away as their hormone levels improve.

Hyperthyroidism treatment

The treatment you receive for hyperthyroidism depends on the condition’s underlying cause and your overall health. The possible treatments include taking medications or surgery.

Dr. Kao may prescribe medications that reduce thyroid hormone production. Another medication called radioactive iodine lowers thyroid hormones by making the thyroid gland shrink.

If you can’t tolerate medications, Dr. Kao may recommend surgery to remove part or all of the gland. You may also need surgery if you have functioning thyroid nodules or a goiter.

If you have symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, book an appointment online or call Lakewood Ranch Health today.