THE HEART OF THE MATTER
a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 617.3

Guest: Dr. Jack Baskin, President, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Orlando, FL

Topic: Thyroid treatments

Host/Producer: Steve Girard

NEMA: Those of us with low thyroid hormone levels can feel tired and listless, and endocrinologist H. Jack Baskin of Orlando, Florida says the low thyroid output can also be a cause of depression...but can easily be treated...

BASKIN: Well, if the thyroid is not functioning enough, and it's only function is to make thyroid hormone, we just give the added thyroid hormone. We have synthetic human thyroid, which is identical to the thyroid the body makes. It's absorbed well from the stomach, so simply taking a pill a day corrects the patient who is hypothyroid.

If the thyroid is over producing, there are several ways that have been used to treat it. In the past, surgery to remove part of the thyroid was the treatment. Today, we give a dose of iodine that has been made radioactive, and this radioactive iodine goes into the thyroid just like any other iodine, but it dissolves part of the thyroid. So, It's kind of like having surgery in pill form...and it slows down the thyroid, it makes it quit overproducing the thyroid hormone.

So, either an under active or an overactive thyroid can be treated today with medicine.

NEMA: Ask your doctor about thyroid and depression. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.