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Thyroid Question and Answer with Dr. Joel Turner

April 27, 2017
You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your thyroid and the effect this butterfly-shaped in your neck has on your health. But the hormones the thyroid produces affect nearly every metabolic process in your body, from how fast your body burns calories to how fast your heart beats. Dr. Joel Turner, who specializes in endocrine surgery, discussed the many conditions that can change how your thyroid works, how these problems are detected, and what treatments are available with ABC2News Good Morning Maryland host Ashley James.

One of the most frequent questions asked during this Facebook Live conversation was the effect of an underactive thyroid on your weight. If it seems like no matter what you try you’re not losing weight or are even gaining weight, could your thyroid be the culprit? Explained Dr. Turner, “Most people who are having trouble losing weight, in fact most people in the general population, have a thyroid that’s functioning normally.” He says the best way to start figuring out how to effectively control your weight is to talk your primary care doctor or visit a comprehensive weight loss center like the one at GBMC and develop a personalized exercise and nutrition plan.

Dr. Turner and Ashley also talked about whether people with a family member who’s had thyroid cancer are at increased risk of being diagnosed with the disease, what medical and surgical treatments are available to treat an underactive or overactive thyroid, and how an endocrinologist can help you manage thyroid autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s disease and Grave’s disease.

Asked whether there are natural or holistic treatment options for thyroid conditions, Dr. Turner explained that although there are a growing number of “natural” thyroid treatments and supplements, there have been no studies on whether they are safe and effective. A viewer also asked if changing your diet, for example going gluten or dairy-free, can improve the health of your thyroid. “That would not affect your thyroid,” Dr. Turner explained. “But eating a salad filled with dark, leafy greens can help you get the iodine you need for healthy thyroid function.”

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