The thyroid is a small gland located in the front lower part of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate weight and temperature to keep our bodies balanced. When something goes wrong with this gland, it can lead to an overactive or underactive thyroid. This results in an array of symptoms that can be mild or severe. Most thyroid disorders cause heat intolerance, weight changes, and fatigue. Thyroid disorders affect men and women, possibly two percent of the United States population. To make a proper diagnosis, your doctor will take a thorough history and perform a physical exam, along with lab tests such as thyroid hormone levels and antibody measurements. If you think you may have a thyroid disorder, it is crucial to see a Humble thyroid disorder specialist for proper testing and treatment. Here are some of the most common thyroid disorders.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition caused by an overactive thyroid. This can cause weight loss, rapid heart rate, and fast speech. It is most common in women over forty with a family history of thyroid issues. In some cases, hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves’ Disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid. Treatment for hyperthyroidism may include medications to control symptoms, radioactive iodine treatment, or surgery.
Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by an underactive thyroid gland. It can cause problems such as fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and feeling cold all the time. This disorder is much more common in women than in men, and it usually occurs after a stressful event such as pregnancy or surgery. Hypothyroidism may be caused by Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that leads to the destruction of thyroid cells. Treatment for this condition includes medications that replace thyroid hormone and sometimes radioactive iodine treatments to deactivate overactive parts of the gland and reverse the effects of overactivity.
Thyroiditis is a condition where the thyroid becomes inflamed. There are two types of this disorder: acute and chronic. Acute thyroiditis usually lasts for a few weeks and causes fever, pain in the neck or throat area, difficulty swallowing, or breathing problems. An infection may cause this, and treatment typically requires antibiotics. Chronic thyroiditis is a much less common condition that lasts for six months or longer, causing symptoms such as fatigue and weight gain. This can be caused by an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s antibodies attack the thyroid cell membranes.
A goiter is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland gets bigger and starts to push against the other structures in the neck. This can make it hard for you to swallow and cause discomfort or pain, especially when turning your head. A goiter may be caused by hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, Graves ‘ Disease, or Hashimoto’s Disease. In some cases, a goiter may be caused by thyroid cancer. In this case, your doctor will likely order tests such as an ultrasound or a biopsy.
In summary, thyroid disorders can affect many aspects of your life. The most common thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, goiter, and thyroiditis. If you are experiencing symptoms of thyroid disorders, it is crucial to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.