Thyroid Cancer on the Rise

Scientists are tracking an increasing trend in thyroid cancer, but the reasons for this proliferation are unclear. Some studies have suggested that the rise in diagnoses is actually due to the increase in imaging scans that have led to greater detection capabilities.

Thyroid cancer occurs when abnormal cells begin growing and reproducing on the thyroid gland. This gland, located in the front of the neck, is responsible for producing hormones that regulate a host of bodily functions, including metabolism.

In the past, most cases of thyroid cancer were found after a physician noticed a lump in a patient’s neck. However, there are quite a large number of cases lacking any neck abnormalities.

The exact cause of thyroid cancer is unknown, but possible factors that could be linked to the noted increase in occurrence may include the following:

Autoimmune disorders
Environmental triggers
Iodine nutrition

The good news is that the trending types of thyroid cancer are actually less aggressive forms and rarely ever fatal. Thyroid cancer is not incredibly common, and when spotted early, it typically responds well to treatment.

While the exact reasons for the increasing rates of thyroid cancer are unclear and a bit controversial, the rate of death from thyroid cancer has remained stable. If any abnormal lumps are detected or a person has a history of thyroid disease in his or her family, routine check ups are a wise decision.

How Does Thyroid Disease Affect the Eyes?

Thyroid disease has far reaching effects to all parts of the body. Though the link between hyperthyroidism and Graves’ eye disease is not completely understood, an obvious connection does exist. Graves’ eye disease occurs in roughly 50 percent of patients who suffer from Graves’ hyperthyroidism.

Often referred to as Graves’ disease, thyroid orbitopathy is characterized by swelling in the soft tissues and muscles surrounding the eye socket. Patients typically experience periods of inflammation and swelling followed by periods of healing.

Graves’ disease is frequently seen among those with thyroid gland issues, whether underactive or overactive. It is often associated with an overactive thyroid gland. However, about 10 percent of those who are diagnosed with Graves’ disease have no thyroid issues at all.

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by the reaction of antibodies and lymphocytes with certain proteins, connective tissue and fat located around the eyeball itself. It is vital to note the difference between Graves’ disease and eyelid spasms that occur in many thyroid patients as a result of excessive thyroid hormones.

• Inflammation of eye tissues
• Red, painful, watery eyes especially in sunny or windy weather
• Eyelids become swollen and filled with fluid
• Eyes bulge and appear to be pushed out of their sockets
• Reduced clarity of vision particularly in seeing color
• Blurred or double vision
• Decreased range of motion in the muscles of the eyes

There are not diagnostic tests that can specifically confirm the presence of Graves’ eye disease. However, the antibodies found in Graves’ hyperthyroidism are the same as those found in the eye disease. Most often, symptoms are a key marker for diagnosis of Graves’ disease.

As with diagnostics, there is not presently an effective treatment for Graves’ eye disease. However, since hyperthyroidism seems to be clearly linked, it is critical to treat thyroid issues as quickly as possible. When thyroid concerns are speedily addressed, many patients notice improvement in their eyes.

Some of the changes to the eyes tend to resolve within a 24 month period without any treatment measures. The bulging effect and double vision may not disappear entirely, causing cosmetic concerns and decreased visual acuity.

Regular eye exams are essential to monitoring overall eye health and tracking any further changes. In severe cases, corticosteroids or operations may be deemed necessary.

Risk Factors
The overall impact of the disease depends on the function of the thyroid gland as well as age, gender and environmental factors.

Don’t let Thyroid Disease be a Pain in the Neck!

Roughly 200 million people all over the world suffer from some form of thyroid disease. For the most part, thyroid disorders are treatable. However, when left untreated the effects are far-reaching to all systems of the body.

An awareness and basic understanding of thyroid disease is critical to helping patients and their families effectively manage treatment and care. A proactive stance is crucial for identifying symptoms that may be difficult to diagnose in order for preventative measures to be taken early on in the course of thyroid disease. Careful monitoring is a lifelong necessity as well.

Basic Anatomy

Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that weighs in at about 20 grams. Its role is to secrete hormones that regulate all functions of the body, especially growth and metabolism.

Types of Thyroid Disease

Though a variety of thyroid diseases exist, most of them manifest themselves in one of two ways. An overactive thyroid characterizes hyperthyroidism; hypothyroidism is marked by an underactive thyroid. Thyroid cancer is another condition that may require treatment from a multitude of specialists, including an endocrinologist, nuclear medicine specialist, oncologist, or surgeon.

Symptoms of Thyroid Disease

Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the severity and progression of the disease. Below is a breakdown of symptoms for the two basic forms of thyroid disease. Some or all of the symptoms may be experienced at various times.

• Changes in vision
• Diarrhea
• Goiter
• Heat intolerance with profuse sweating
• Muscular weakness
• Rapid heartbeat
• Sleeplessness and general restlessness
• Tremors
• Weight loss with increased appetite

• Constipation
• Dry skin
• Goiter
• Memory loss
• Muscular Weakness
• Persistent fatigue
• Sensitivity to cold
• Slower cognitive function
• Thick, puffy skin
• Weak, slow heartbeat

Emotional Effects

It is important to recognize that thyroid disease is not limited to physical symptoms. Those suffering from hyperthyroidism may feel nervous or irritable while those with hypothyroidism are often fatigued or depressed.

Families and patients alike need to understand that these emotions are normal and will often resolve with proper treatment. Since thyroid diseases can appear gradually, symptoms may also diminish over a long period of time. For some people, these emotional symptoms can be the first, and at times only, indication of a thyroid disorder.

Newborn Screening

Congenital hypothyroidism can have devastating effects on children for the rest of their lives. For this reason, newborn screening is an essential step for early intervention and treatment.

Signs you may have Vitamin D Deficiency

If you are lacking any particular vitamin or mineral, the systems of your body will not function at optimal levels. Many people believe that they are not at risk for being vitamin D deficient since so many foods and beverages are fortified with it. However, consuming more processed foods that are loaded with synthetic vitamins will not solve a dilemma in which vitamins work synergistically to unlock key nutrients essential for cellular function.

Moreover, vitamin D is not a typical vitamin. It is a fat-soluble, steroid hormone produced within the body during exposure to the sun. Here are some warning signs that you may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency.

1. Changes in hair, skin, or nails – Look for cracking or splitting of the nails, sudden hair loss, or dry and irritated skin.

2. Muscular cramping – This is especially prevalent in the legs.

3. Aches and pains – Persistent muscular weakness as well as aching bones can signify a lack of vitamin D. Bones are more likely to fracture or break when vitamin D levels are below normal.

4. Sweaty head – This classic symptom can even show up in newborns who are lacking vitamin D.

5. Feeling depressed – Serotonin levels drop as sun exposure decreases. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may be associated with low vitamin D.

6. Low energy levels – Increased sleepiness during waking hours may be a symptom.

7. High blood pressure – Vitamin D helps to regulate blood pressure. When it’s missing from the equation, blood pressure numbers are likely to creep up.

8. Gut issues – An unhealthy gastrointestinal system will limit the absorption of vitamin D, especially among those with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition to these symptoms, some populations are simply at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. This includes those over the age of 50, people with darker skin tones and those who are overweight.

Best Food for Sinus Problems

Sinus sufferers may be surprised to learn of the incredible link between the foods you eat and the symptoms from which you suffer. Food can either nourish and sustain your body or it can cause inflammation and exacerbate existing problems. Your pantry might be more effective than your medicine cabinet.

Leafy Greens
Vegetables with dark, green leaves are loaded with key vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients that are great at fighting inflammation and may even help ward off cancer. Onions, tomatoes and limes belong to this same group as far as benefits and also leave your food bursting with flavor.

Eating leafy greens leaves less space for inflammatory, mucus-producing foods. These vegetables, which boast high levels of fiber, can fill up your stomach without adding to your waistline.

Seafood, especially wild-caught, coldwater fish, is loaded with omega fatty acids that serve to bolster the immune system and reduce inflammation. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are wonderful for staving off infections, not to mention all of the brain boosting and heart strengthening properties.

Chili Peppers
Chili peppers, such as jalapenos, habeneros, and cayenne, contain a chemical compound called capsaicin, which gives them their heat. Though this sudden burst of spice can be a bit intense, it actually possesses powerful pain-relieving properties. As with most other healing foods, chili peppers can reduce inflammation. As an added bonus, the kick of the chili peppers can stimulate a runny nose, thus reducing congestion.

Honey and Maple Syrup
More than merely a delicious sweetener, honey boasts inherent antibacterial properties. Honey can actually kill the bacteria that often cause sinus infections. Additionally, honey can soothe the sore throat that is symptomatic of most sinus infections.

Consuming local honey can help you to develop immunity to allergy attacks produced by inhaling pollen in the air. It also serves as a fantastic sweetener, providing a perfect alternative to mucus-producing sugars.

Maple syrup is another great option for a natural sweetener that can reduce sinus inflammation.

Garlic and Turmeric
Hailed for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, garlic is best when consumed raw. In order to get the most benefit from its unique compounds, mince it, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before adding it to food.

Found most often in curry dishes, turmeric, a bright orange spice, holds anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Tea and Broth
Hot teas and organic broths are a great way to stay hydrated while breaking up the mucus lurking in your sinuses.

Treatment Options for Unsightly Spider Veins

If you have spider veins, you’ve probably stopped wearing shorts and bathing suits. You might think that your ability to show off your legs is gone forever. But that’s not necessarily true. Treatment is available for both spider and varicose veins.

Why Do I Have Spider Veins?

Spider veins are cause by a backup of blood in the body. They are usually blue or red and appear near to the surface of the skin. These veins are sometimes referred to as roadmap veins because their spread appearance looks similar to a roadmap or to spider webs.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, heredity is the largest factor in your risk of developing spider veins. 80% of people (mainly women) with spider veins have a family member who also had spider veins.

There are other risk factors that can also lead to spider veins:

  • Hormonal changes: The hormonal shifts of puberty, menopause, or use of hormones (such as birth control methods containing progesterone or estrogen.)
  • Sun exposure: In very fair skinned people, sun exposure can cause spider veins, particularly on the checks or nose bridged
  • Standing: People in professions that involve standing for long periods, such as those in the medical field or in manufacturing, are at a higher risk for spider veins.
  • Age: The chance of spider veins becomes more likely as people advance in age.

Contrary to what you might have heard, the ADA asserts that sitting with your legs crossed does not cause spider veins, nor does weight gain. In fact, dramatic weight loss can show hidden spider veins.

Treatment: What works, what doesn’t

When it comes to treating and preventing spider veins, there are some things that just don’t work. Taking vitamin supplements, for example, will not help prevent or treat the appearance of spider veins. Likewise, tanning will not help hide the appearance of spider veins; in fact tanning can make the veins spread beyond where they already exist.

The treatment option that really works for reducing spider veins is called sclerotherapy, a process available at Accent Plastics. During scelerotherapy, a technician injects a very fine needle into each of the affected veins. The needles contain a “sclerosing” solution that causes the blocked blood vessels to eventually collapse and fade from view. It usually takes around four to six weeks for the spider veins to disappear.

Sclerotherapy is a fairly affordable treatment – the American Society of Plastic Surgeons report that the average national cost of sclerotherapy is around $350.

Occasionally, however, more than one sclerotherapy treatment is required before the veins disappear from view. In other cases, your plastic surgeon may want to combine sclerotherapy with laser therapy, in which a laser beam of light destroys the spider vein through the skin.

Between sclerotherapy and laser therapy, your spider veins can be effectively treated. If you’re interested in discussing your treatment options with our board-certified plastic surgery team, contact our Gainesville office today. At Accent Plastic Surgery, we’re here to help you look and feel your best through a wide array of treatments.

Have Allergies? Be Careful Driving!

Have you ever been so busy rubbing your eyes or sneezing while driving that your concentration isn’t on the road? Have you ever worried that your allergies could be affecting your performance behind the wheel? A recent study has found that untreated allergies do affect your driving, almost as much as driving while intoxicated.

The study, published in Allergy, the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, focused on 19 people in their early 30’s who suffered from both grass and tree pollen allergies.  During the allergy off-season, the study participants were treated for their allergies with either a placebo pill or nasal spray, or a true antihistamine or steroid nasal spray. Following their allergy treatment, they were given a nose spray of grass and tree allergens to provoke allergy symptoms.

Participants then took a 60-minute driving test.  A camera in the car recorded how often the participant veered for the center lane, a common test used for assessing drunken driving.

The findings revealed that those participants who received a placebo had the greatest impairment. In fact, the scores for those participants were comparable to driving with a blood-alcohol level of .03%, which is just under the legal blood-alcohol level of .05% in most countries (the US limit is .08% ).

Perhaps what is most scary about the study is that the allergy sufferers who had not received treatment had such significant driving impairment in easy driving conditions. That’s impairment without other drivers on the road, cell phones, or unexpected road hazards.

Take Care of Untreated Allergies

The study reminds us that allergies aren’t just a quality of life problem; they can also be a danger to your health if not properly managed. At Accent ENT, we’re dedicated to the successful treatment of even the most severe allergy and sinus problems.

For most people, allergies can easily be managed with the use of simple control measures including sublingual therapy, antihistamines and steroid nose sprays. Our doctors work to help make sure that you have the most effective, non-invasive treatment for your situation.

If you do suffer from allergy or sinus problems that do not improve with these simple medical maneuvers, our ENT specialist may perform tests to determine if surgery could help relieve your chronic and acute allergy problems such as ongoing sinus infections. We offer minimally invasive, effective surgeries, such as balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery. Learn more about our allergy and sinus treatments.

If you’re suffering from ongoing sinus or allergy problems, don’t let them rule your life, and certainly don’t choose to sneeze and drive. Contact Accent’s ENT specialists in Gainesville today to schedule an appointment.

Caring for Your Contacts: 3 Rules You May Not Know

If you wear contact lenses, you know the general rules: wash your hands, rub and rinse your lens, insert. But did you know that there are some other rules you should also follow when it comes to your contact lens’ use? Even if you’ve been using contact lenses for years, here are three rules you may not know:

1) Change Your Lens Case

How long have you been using the contact lens case you just used this morning? Many people never change their contact lens case, but if you’ve been using yours more than just three months, its time to start using a new one.  Lens cases have the potential to contaminate your contact lenses and infect your eyes, according to the American Optometric Association. Make sure that you also clean your lens case everyday using sterilized solution, allowing the case to air dry, preferably upside down so the cavities don’t collect debris.

2) Put Your Contact Lenses in BEFORE You Put On Makeup.

Putting your makeup on before you put in your contacts can cause irritating particles to get trapped between your lens and your eye when you put in the contact. Make sure that you put your contacts in before you put on makeup, especially eye makeup. At the end of the day, you should also take your contacts out before you take off your makeup to prevent getting any on the lens during the removal process. You may also want to avoid makeup with glitter and hard pencil eyeliners; opt for a soft pencil instead.

3) Only Use Recommended Solution

Don’t use sterilized saline solution to clean or store your contact lenses in. Always use the multipurpose solution recommended by your optometrist.  Don’t top off the solution in your lens case. You should always dump out the solution in your contact case from the day before and replace it with new (which you would have to do anyway, if you’re cleaning your case daily as recommend). And make sure that you always close the cap to your solution, no matter what kind of hurry you’re in.

Closing the cap ensures that you’re keeping your solution sterile.

Making sure that you know and follow all the recommendations for contact use will help ensure that your eyes are healthy and that you can continue wearing contact lenses. Always make sure that you follow the recommendations of your optometrist when it comes to the replacement schedule of your lenses, as well as their recommendations about solution.

At Accent on Eyes, we’re here to make sure that your eyes stay healthy, through proper eye care and comprehensive eye exams. Visit our Gainesville Optical Store to learn more about your eyewear choices.

Inhaled Insulin Gains Advisory Board Recommendation


Afrezza, an inhaled form of insulin, has recently received the approval of a governmental advisory committee that recommends new drugs to the Food and Drug Administration, according to the New York Times.

About the Drug

The inhaler is a rapid action form of mealtime insulin. The drug is taken through a small, whistle shaped inhaler into the lungs where it disperses into the blood stream. The drug gained recommendation for the effective treatment of both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes in adults. The FDA usually approves products recommended by the advisory committee for public use.

Afrezza is developed by the MannKind Corporation. It has sought FDA approval twice before, but the committee required the company to gather more clinical data about the safety and efficacy of the drug. The drug company Pfizer had released an inhaled form of insulin in 2006 called Exubera, but it didn’t take hold with the public.

The makers of Afrezza say their inhaler is different because its small size makes it more user-friendly. They propose that the drug may be useful for Type-1 diabetes sufferers who are weary from multiple insulin injections throughout the day, as well for those who are newly diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes but who are resistant to trying insulin injections.

While the advisory committee agreed that the drug would be useful for some patients, they also agreed that it wasn’t as effective in managing insulin levels as some other treatments.

Facts About Diabetes

Afrezza may be of interest to the millions of Americans who suffer from what many doctors consider an epidemic. Here are some facts about diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association,

  • Type-2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in the United States, though there are also cases of gestational diabetes and type-1 diabetes. In Type-2, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin to break down glucose in cells, or the cells do not respond to the insulin that the body produces.
  • [Read more…]

Facebook Picture Saves 3-Year Old’s Eyesight

When Tennessee mother Tara Taylor posted a picture of her 3-year old daughter, Rylee, on Facebook, she was just expecting some “likes.” But when several friends looked at the picture, they saw something else besides an adorable little girl: Rylee’s left eye was glowing.

Taylor’s friends alerted her that, while it was probably nothing, a glowing yellow pupil could indicate a vision problem with Rylee, and they encouraged her to make an appointment for her daughter with an eye doctor.

It turns out that Taylor’s Facebook friends helped save Rylee’s left eye from blindness.

After visiting an ophthalmologist, Rylee was diagnosed with Coats disease, a rare degenerative eye disease that usually occurs in childhood, with an onset beginning as early as 12 months. In Coats disease, the eye’s blood vessels are abnormally dilated, twisted, and leaky. These abnormalities prevent the normal blood flow to the retina. Instead, the fluid leaking from the blood vessels causes fluid to build up in the retina.

If enough fluid builds up, it can cause the retina to detach, which equates to a loss of vision. A common sign of Coats disease is a yellow glowing eye captured in flash photography; just what Taylor’s friends saw in her Facebook photo.

Fortunately for Rylee, her condition was caught early enough to prevent a complete loss of vision in her left eye. She now sees an ophthalmologist specializing in retina disorders every few months to receive treatments that help keep Coats disease at bay.

According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, there are five defined stages of Coats disease, and the type of treatment a patient receives depends on the stage of Coats disease they have:

  • Stage 1: Abnormal blood vessels are apparent in the retina, but aren’t yet leaky. An ophthalmologist can treat this stage with laser therapy and some, if not most, vision can be saved.
  • Stage 2: The abnormal blood vessels have begun to leak in the retina. Vision may be normal if not much fluid has leaked, or, if a good deal of fluid has built up, vision loss may be severe. Laser therapy and cryotherapy can be used to help save some amount of vision, depending on how significant the fluid buildup is at time of treatment.
  • Stage 3: The build of fluid is so significant that it has caused the retina to detach. Depending on the progression of the disease, cyrotherapy or surgery to reattach the retina can be used to help restore some amount of vision.
  • Stage 4: The retina is detached and raised pressure in the eye has caused the onset of glaucoma. In this stage, vision is not treatable.
  • Stage 5: Blindness occurs and the accompanying glaucoma may be painful.

Coats disease is dangerous to children’s vision precisely because they’re at an age during the disease’s onset that they’re unlikely to express (or are unaware) of any changes to their vision. And while children may receive a vision screening at school, this vision screening may not pickup on potential eye disease, or the school screening may catch a disease like Coats too late.

In addition to any vision screenings, all children should have a comprehensive eye exam, which includes a close evaluation of eye health. The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children have an eye exam at the age of three years, before beginning first grade, and every two years thereafter.

At Gainesville’s Accent on Vision, we’re here to serve your vision needs, regardless of your age. If you’d like peace of mind that your child’s vision is developing normally, make an appointment with our expert medical staff today.