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Endocrine Disorders

Sansum Clinic’s board-certified endocrinologists specialize in diagnosing and managing a wide range of hormone-related conditions caused by the endocrine system producing too many or too few hormones.

On-site Ultrasound Diagnosis of Thyroid Conditions

Sansum Clinic Endocrinology features a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine to diagnose various thyroid and parathyroid conditions. The use of ultrasonography enables our endocrinologists to biopsy thyroid nodules in the office, and often the day of the consultation, as a convenience to our valued patients.

Endocrine Disorders We Treat

Specialties include:

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when your pancreas stops making insulin, a hormone that helps cells use and store sugar (glucose) for energy. Without insulin, sugar stays in your blood, and, if left unchecked, can cause serious complications involving the heart, kidneys, nerves and eyes. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but usually starts in children or young adults. While there’s no cure, people can live long, healthy lives with treatment, which involves daily insulin intake, a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin. In type 2, the body doesn't make enough insulin or can't use it the right way. This makes it hard for your cells to get sugar from the blood for energy. If you are overweight, get little or no exercise or have type 2 diabetes in your family, you are more likely to have problems with the way insulin works in your body. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle.

Pregnancy-related (Gestational) Diabetes

The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which helps your body use and store sugar from food. When you are pregnant, the placenta makes hormones that can make it harder for insulin to work, leaving sugar in the blood. High blood sugar may develop into gestational diabetes, a (most often) temporary form of the condition that can cause problems for both mother and baby. With treatment, which focuses on a healthy diet and exercise, most women give birth to healthy babies.

Adrenal Gland Disorders

The adrenal glands are located on the top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can't live without, including sex hormones and cortisol, which helps you respond to stress, among other functions. Adrenal disorders can cause your adrenal glands to make too many or not enough hormones. Tumors, bleeding and infection can cause adrenal gland problems that can be fatal without quick treatment, which may involve surgery, medication or hormone replacement.

Endocrine Disorders During Pregnancy

In addition to gestational diabetes, the other major endocrine concern women face during pregnancy is hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland. Before birth, a baby is entirely dependent on the mother for the thyroid hormone until the baby's own thyroid gland can start to function, usually not until the end of the first trimester. Without proper production of the thyroid hormone, the child may experience a developmental delay after birth. Treatment of hypothyroidism during pregnancy typically requires thyroid hormone medication.

Graves’ Disease

Graves' disease is a rare but usually not life-threatening condition resulting in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). Because thyroid hormones affect a number of different body systems, signs and symptoms can greatly vary and significantly influence your overall well-being. Treatment involves medication or oral radioiodine, which destroys overactive thyroid cells over time.

Lipid Disorders

Lipid disorders are abnormalities in the amount of fatty substances, called lipids, in the blood, which affect the way cholesterol is used in the body. High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke. Factors such as heredity, certain drugs and diets high in saturated fat can lead to unhealthy elevations in lipid levels. Treatment focuses on lifestyle changes, including weight loss, nutrition, exercise and medication, if necessary.

Osteoporosis and Bone Health Disorders

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects your bones, making them thin, brittle and easy to break. Osteoporosis affects millions of older adults, most commonly women over age 60. Other risks include family history and lifestyle factors like smoking or insufficient calcium and vitamin D. Treatment includes medicine to reduce bone loss and build bone thickness, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits.

Parathyroid Gland Disorders

Parathyroid gland disorders lead to abnormal levels of calcium (too low or too high) in the blood that can cause brittle bones, kidney stones, fatigue, general aches and pains and more. Treatment may involve calcium tablets, medication or, in extreme cases, surgery to remove the overactive parathyroid gland.

Pituitary Gland Disorders

Your pituitary gland is a pea-sized gland at the base of your brain that makes hormones that affect growth and the functions of other glands in the body. With pituitary disorders, you often have too much or too little of one of your hormones. Injuries or certain medications can cause pituitary disorders, but the most common cause is a pituitary tumor, which is fairly common in adults. They are not brain tumors and are almost always benign. Treatment options, especially with large tumors, include medical, surgical and/or radiation therapies.

Testosterone Deficiency

Some men do not make enough of the male hormone called testosterone, which allows them to produce sperm and develop and keep normal physical male traits. Low testosterone can lead to problems such as loss of sex drive, muscle weakness, infertility and weakened bones. Aging, injury to the testicles or groin area, certain medications or other conditions may cause low testosterone. Treatment may include testosterone replacement, which can be administered via a shot, patch or gel on the skin or in an oral tablet.

Thyroid Nodules and Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid nodules are growths or lumps in the thyroid gland in the front of your neck. This gland controls how your body uses energy. Most thyroid nodules are not cancer, and do not cause problems nor need treatment. If tests show cancer, though, or if the nodule is causing problems with swallowing or breathing, surgery is required to remove it. It is not clear what causes thyroid nodules, though people who have been exposed to radiation or have a family history have a greater chance of getting them.

See an Endocrine Disorder Specialist

For more information about our comprehensive care, or to make an appointment at our Endocrinology Department, please call (805) 681-7820.

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