Thyroid Testing & Treatment
What Are Thyroid Disorders?
A thyroid disorder is any condition that affects the function of the thyroid. The thyroid’s role in the body is to use iodine to create hormones that regulate metabolism in the body. The main disease that can affect the thyroid includes hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer.
Hypothyroidism is where the thyroid is under active while Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too many hormones. A goiter is an abnormal swelling of the thyroid gland that signals other problems. Thyroid nodules are abnormal but non-cancerous lumps in the thyroid while thyroid cancer is a lump that have turned malignant.
What Are the Symptoms of Thyroid Diseases?
Each disorder can produce different symptoms. Hypothyroidism symptoms are typically mild and include fatigue, depression, weight gain, intolerance to cold, being tired, having dry and coarse hair and skin, constipation, muscle cramps, high cholesterol, and swelling in the legs.
Hyperthyroidism is the opposite and include sweating and heat intolerance, increased bowel movements, tremors, nervousness, increased heart rate, weight loss, and fatigue.
For goiters, thyroid nodules, and cancer, symptoms include difficulty swallowing and speaking and shortness of breath. A visible lump may be noticeable.
What Kinds of Thyroid Treatments Are Available?
Thyroid treatments include medication and surgery. For hypothyroidism, you may take a synthetic thyroid hormone pill to replace the hormones you are missing. Hyperthyroidism pills work to decrease the production of the thyroid hormone and manage symptoms.
However, if your thyroid is severely malfunctioning or you have a large goiter, nodule, or tumor, your doctor may recommend surgery. This can include removing just the growth or the entire gland. In this case, you will also need to take synthetic thyroid hormone to artificially manage your hormone levels.