Clinicians

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck.The American Thyroid Association estimates more than 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disorder. Of these disorders, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one of the most common, believed to be the leading cause of primary hypothyroidism in North America. But it may surprise you to learn that Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also known as chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, is actually an autoimmune disease, like type-1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

An autoimmune disorder causes your immune system – which usually fights off infections – to attack otherwise helpful parts of your body. In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, your immune system attacks your thyroid, which can cause inflammation and lead to an underactive thyroid gland.

Hashimoto’s most commonly affects older women, though it can strike either sex at any age. Risk factors include prior autoimmune diseases or a family history of thyroid problems.

The symptoms for Hashimoto’s are often vague and easily confused with other health problems. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Hoarse voice
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in your shoulders and hips
  • Pain and stiffness in your joints and swelling in your knees or the small joints in your hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness, especially in your lower extremities
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
  • Depression

Fortunately, Hashimoto’s can typically be treated fairly easily with a daily pill to maintain proper thyroid hormone levels.

To determine if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis—or any number of other thyroid issues—have your doctor check your blood for your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (or TSH) levels.

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ABC News: Having Heart Surgery Is Like Flying

by Columbia Surgery on July 10, 2014

On July 10th, Dr.Michael Argenziano, Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery wrote a guest post for the ABC News Blog on why he became a heart surgeon:

I’m a cardiac surgeon. I’m lots of other things, of course-a husband, father, and Little League coach-but I’ve spent the 30 years since high school graduation essentially working toward one goal, to become the best cardiac surgeon I can be.

Cardiac surgery appealed to me because it was a chance to make a real, measurable impact on the lives of people every single day, helping people out of literally life-threatening situations. As much as I enjoy this, it is the impact that these operations have on their extended families that is most gratifying. I am reminded of the importance of human life every day when I walk into the family waiting room after performing surgery, to find as many as dozens of people, usually from multiple generations, waiting on pins and needles to learn if their family member is going to be OK. Having endured illness and death in my own family, I can never forget that what for me is just one of hundreds of operations I perform each year, for that patient and family is one of the most significant and terrifying moments in their lives. I consider it the ultimate privilege to be trusted with that patient’s life.

When Dr. Mehmet Oz and I met Mr. Carratala, the nervousness, uncertainty, and fear that this street-toughened police detective felt was palpable in the room. He, like most of us, was used to being healthy and in control of his life and surroundings. But he had suffered the unimaginable-a stroke-while on vacation, and in a whirlwind of doctor’s visits and invasive tests learned that he harbored a life-threatening defect in his heart. An abnormal hole in the wall between two of the heart’s chambers had allowed what would normally be a harmless speck of clot to cross over to the left side of his heart and be pumped to his brain.

We explained that although he would need open-heart surgery to close the hole and prevent another stroke, we’d be able to do this minimally invasively, through only a small incision between his ribs. This small consolation seemed to calm and reassure him, although I think what really made him and his family feel better is that we told them that the problem was fixable, and showed confidence that all would be well. Dr. Oz likes to say that the most important role of a physician is not as a healer, but as a teacher (the word “physician” means “teacher”), and I have to agree. I enjoy explaining complicated heart problems and how I’m going to fix them to patients as much as I enjoy actually doing the work. And I understand that one of my most important jobs is to take the burden of anxiety away from the patient by taking control of the situation.

I like to tell patients that having heart surgery is like flying on a commercial airliner. The risk of disaster is quite low, but that’s not because flying an airplane is easy. It’s because the pilot and his team are highly trained professionals, who repeatedly pull off the miracle of getting a 100-ton metal tube to fly in the sky without incident. That’s what heart surgery is like – you’re doing freakish things with a person, connecting them to complicated machines, stopping and opening the heart, making repairs, then starting it up again – and everyone expects it to go smoothly every time. And my kids ask me why I lost my hair…

People often ask me if I like my job, if the rewards are worth the tremendous effort and dedication. The answer usually depends on how my last patient has done, so that day the answer was yes.

Michael Argenziano, M.D., is Chief of Adult Cardiac Surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, where he is also Director of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery and Program Director of the Residency in Thoracic Surgery. He received his M.D. from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and completed his training in cardiothoracic surgery, mechanical cardiac assistance, and surgical electrophysiology, all at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He is married to Maria Rodino, a Columbia-trained endocrinologist, and they have six children, the oldest of whom will be attending Columbia in the fall and plans to be a heart surgeon himself. Argenziano now appears on ABC News, “NY Med.”

Read the original posting here.

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Cytoreduction Surgery and Heated Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

June 1, 2014

TweetOffering long-term survival for patients with cancers of the abdominal lining Diagnosis of cancer that has spread to the abdominal wall lining (peritoneum) is typically considered a lethal diagnosis. But at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, many patients with these advanced cancers can expect long-term survival, thanks to refined surgical approaches and intra-abdominal chemotherapy. According to […]

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Surgery Research Competition

June 1, 2014

TweetThe 23rd Surgery Research Competition was held May 22, 2014 at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia campus. According to Henry M. Spotnitz, MD, George H. Humphreys II Professor of Surgery, “The annual Surgical Research Competition demonstrates the enthusiasm and scientific acumen of young investigators determined to push back the frontiers of research. Their work indicates that reduced federal […]

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Alcohol Abuse And Acute Pancreatitis

April 24, 2014

TweetIf I were to ask you what health risks are associated with excessive drinking, what would you say? Cirrhosis of the liver? Heart disease? A weakened immune system? You’d be correct—those are all health risks associated with excessive drinking. But another common though less talked about problem is pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a condition in which […]

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Did the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster increase my chances of getting thyroid cancer?

April 22, 2014

TweetIt’s Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week, so we’re revisiting this Q&A with Dr. McConnell, in which he explains why the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is less likely have long term cancer implications for the surrounding area than did the Chernobyl disaster. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan that occurred in March 2011 not only […]

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Third Annual Peter D. Stevens Course on Innovations in Digestive Care

March 11, 2014

TweetAs patients demand greater access to interventional and minimally invasive digestive care treatments, clinicians must be knowledgeable on the newest technologies and innovations. These are the market forces of healthcare at work. – Dr. Michel Kahaleh. NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Weill Cornell Medical College are pleased to extend an invitation […]

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Shanta Modak, PhD, Inducted as Fellow to National Academy of Inventors

February 28, 2014

TweetCongratulations to Shanta Modak, PhD, a research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center, who was inducted as a fellow to the National Academy of Inventors for her work to develop infection-resistant medical devices. In collaboration with Professors of Surgery Henry M. Spotnitz, MD, and Mark A. Hardy, MD, Dr. Modak developed a new formulation in […]

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Emile Bacha, MD is Featured on ABC’s The View with Barbara Walters

February 27, 2014

TweetIn honor of February being “heart month,” the February 21, 2014 episode of ABC’s The View, entitled “Barbara’s Heart to Heart,” featured Emile Bacha, MD, Director, Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian. In this episode, Dr. Bacha escorts Barbara Walters through the hospital where she underwent heart surgery four […]

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Koji Takeda joins the Section of Cardiac Surgery

January 21, 2014

TweetAssistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center Assistant Attending Surgeon, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The Section of Cardiac Surgery warmly welcomes Koji Takeda, MD, PhD, faculty member as of January 1, 2014. Dr. Takeda has been a fellow at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia specializing in heart failure surgery, LVAD implantation, and heart transplantation since January 2013. As a dual […]

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