January marks Thyroid Awareness Month

  Tuesday, January 30, 2024
  Community, Health

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – JAN. 30, 2024 – The start of the new year is a time for self-reflection and growth, an opportunity to focus on improving one’s health.

Thyroid health is an essential but often neglected aspect of overall well-being. This month marks Thyroid Awareness Month, highlighting thyroid disorders affecting more than 20 million Americans. 


“Your thyroid is a little organ right in your neck. It looks like a butterfly and makes the thyroid hormone,” said Dr. Henry Reinhart, Endocrine and General surgeon at UT Health RGV. “Thyroid hormone is responsible for many things, including metabolism and energy.” 

Small but mighty, Reinhart said the thyroid gland is an integral part of the body, and maintaining a healthy thyroid remains vital for good health because it regulates breathing, heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, cholesterol and body temperature. 

Thyroid disorders include several conditions that can affect how the gland functions. These disorders can have hypothyroidism, where the thyroid produces insufficient hormones, and hyperthyroidism, characterized by an overactive gland. 

Henry Reinhart, MD, board-certified Endocrine and General surgeon at UT Health RGV, conducts, diagnoses, and provides advanced medical thyroid treatments and care in the Rio Grande Valley so patients don’t have to leave the Valley for specialized care. (UTRGV Photo by Jennifer Galindo)

“Thyroid cancer starts when cells rapidly grow and multiply, forming a tumor that can spread throughout the body,” Reinhart said. “As the cells advance, they may lead to a neck lump, swollen lymph glands, voice changes, and difficulty swallowing.”

Symptoms for thyroid disorders vary depending on the thyroid disorder, which can include extreme fatigue, weight changes and mood swings.

Undiagnosed thyroid disease poses significant health risks and can lead to the development of severe conditions.


“If you’re feeling tired or unwell, go see a doctor. You may benefit from getting some bloodwork done,” Reinhart said, “If you feel some lumps or bumps in your neck, we can conduct ultrasounds to see if your thyroid needs some care.” 

According to Reinhart, regular checkups are crucial for women, who are often the most at risk for developing thyroid disorders, usually five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.

This was especially evident for Susana Montes, a mother of two and a military spouse from the Rio Grande Valley.

“I realized I had a larger nodule on my thyroid,” Montes said. “It was starting to affect my sleeping, making it harder and harder to have a good quality of life.”


The first step in fighting back against thyroid disease remains early detection through health checkups. Treatment may involve medication, lifestyle changes, or, in some cases, surgery.

Regular monitoring and medical guidance are crucial in managing thyroid disorders effectively. After researching treatment options, Montes describes her journey in finding the right healthcare option.

“I learned of a relatively new procedure called radiofrequency ablation and was relieved that I didn’t have to leave the Valley to get help,” she said. “The treatment was successful and has improved my quality of life.” 

Early detection remains critical in combating thyroid disorders, enabling timely intervention and personalized treatment plans for effective management. He recommends regular health checkups to ensure a healthy thyroid.

Reinhart explains that without timely identification and treatment, individuals may unknowingly face potential complications that could impact their overall well-being and quality of life.

“Through noble techniques, we can treat thyroid diseases here in the Valley so our patients don’t have to leave home,” he said. “We have seen incredible results, and the great aspect of this is that in most cases, we can conduct treatments in the clinic, and patients can go home the same day.”

To schedule a consultation with Reinhart, visit UTHealthRGV.com or call 1-833-887-4863.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.