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Author: brandmunki



Why awareness is so important?

February is American Heart Month. This month not only holds the holiday built to celebrate love (Valentine’s Day), it is also an excellent time to educate yourself on heart health.

Check in on your health overall

Tracking things like your body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and even your weight are essential factors in keeping a healthy heart in general.

Keep up a steady relationship with your doctor. Visiting your primary care physician and openly discussing ways to reduce the issues stated above is very important if you want to keep those numbers steady. Some key components that your doctor will inform you to look out for are of the following:


  • Limit your salt intake
  • Cut down on sugary drinks/processed foods
  • Alcohol consumption should be reduced to one drink a day (for females) and two (for males)
  • Neglect smoking completely. If you struggle with this habit, talk with your primary care physician who can help you get on the right plan to quit!

Mental health should be a top priority as well.

Emotional, psychological, and social well-being can affect how our heart functions. Mental health involves how we think, feel, act, and make choices. Some mental health concerns that can lead to heart dysfunction include the following:

  • Anxiety leading to abnormal heartbeat
  • Depression
  • Chronic stress
  • Neglecting one’s diet leading to metabolic disease
  • Refraining from exercise (bad behavioral patterns in general)

Incorporate exercise in your daily routine

Weight is something that affects your mood and overall health (mental and physical). Excess weight can also lead to greater issues such as stroke, heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

A simple solution is to step outside and take a walk. It will keep your heart rate up and increase oxygen to the heart. Daily exercise will contribute to a healthy heart and better you!




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Thyroid Awareness Month

Thyroid Awareness Month

What and where is the thyroid?

The thyroid gland itself is a small organ located in the front of the neck. It is shaped sort of like a butterfly, and wrapped around the front part of your trachea. It has two lobes – a right and a left – which each expand around the sides of your neck like butterfly wings. The small connecting portion in between is called the isthmus. The function of the thyroid is complex, but in the most simple terms it releases hormones that regulate the body’s overall level of metabolism.

How can the thyroid affect weight?

Your thyroid secretes hormones that regulate your metabolic rate. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Symptoms can include things that you might expect if your body is “revved up,” such as tremors, palpitations, weight loss, heat intolerance, etc.

Conversely, when the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone – a condition called hypothyroidism – then you see opposite effects. People with hypothyroidism will have a lower metabolic rate, and thus suffer from fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, and a number of other problems. In this way, hypothyroidism can be associated with obesity.

Common symptoms of thyroid disease


  • · Nervousness, anxiety, irritability
    · Weight loss
    · Insomnia
    · Muscle weaknesses
    · Diarrhea
    · Mood swings
    · Sensitivity to heat
    · Vision impairment or irritation of eyes
    · Enlarged thyroid gland/goiter
    · Menstrual cycle irregularity


  • · Fatigue
  • · Constipation
  • · Weight gain
  • · Depression
  • · Muscle cramps and weakness
  • · Cold Insensitivity

The most common diseases linked to an imbalanced thyroid are:

  • · Hashimoto’s disease (associated with hypothyroidism).
  • · Graves’ disease (associated with hyperthyroidism)
  • · Goiter
  • · Thyroid nodules

Treatment options


There are multiple causes of both hyper- and hypothyroidism, and thus there are multiple treatment options available. The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement with a daily dose of levothyroxine, which is a manufactured thyroid hormone that comes in a pill form. Hormone levels need to be monitored closely by your physician, and the dose may need to be adjusted from time to time. Treatment of hyperthyroidism is more complex, and may vary from medications to surgical removal of the thyroid gland.

Thyroid nodules are very common, especially in women and the elderly. However, occasionally thyroid nodules can either secrete too much hormone and cause hyperthyroidism, or they can turn into thyroid cancer. Thus, any time a thyroid nodule is identified, it should be evaluated. This usually involves checking thyroid levels and getting an ultrasound of the thyroid gland. Based on the size, appearance, and function of the nodule(s), sometimes you may need additional imaging tests or even a needle biopsy. When it is felt that the nodules need to be removed, then it is best performed by a surgeon experienced in endocrine surgery.

Questions to consider for your Physician

If you are concerned about your thyroid, its function can easily be determined with some simple laboratory tests through your primary care physician. If the thyroid is dysfunctional, then you should seek the guidance of an endocrinologist – a physician that specializes in managing hormonal disorders. If it is felt that you might require surgery for a thyroid disorder, then you should seek out a surgeon who specializes in endocrine surgery, such as Dr. St. Julien.




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