What is your thyroid?
Your thyroid is a gland located in your neck, around your windpipe. Although it’s small, it secretes hormones that control many bodily functions, including your digestion, metabolism, and brain development.
When your thyroid makes either too little or too much of these hormones, you may develop conditions called hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, which cause different symptoms.
There are various causes for these endocrine disorders, and the surgeons of Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville, and Cleveland, TN, remind you that treatment will depend on what’s causing the problem and the severity of your symptoms.
Common thyroid issues
The most common kinds of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
When your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of the hormones your body needs, this is called hypothyroidism, often referred to as an underactive thyroid. It can cause exhaustion, weight gain, and constantly feeling cold.
Hypothyroidism could occur when:
• Your body is exposed to radiation through cancer treatments
• You’ve had thyroid cancer surgery previously
• You have Hashimoto’s disease, an inherited autoimmune disease
The inverse of hypothyroidism, if your thyroid produces too much hormone, you have hyperthyroidism – an overactive thyroid. This can leave you feeling anxious and exhausted, with tremors and insomnia.
The causes of an overactive thyroid include:
• Graves’ disease – an inherited autoimmune disease
• Excess levels of iodine in your body
• Thyroid cancer
• Nodules – fluid-filled growths on your thyroid gland
What treatments are available?
For an underactive thyroid gland, the best treatment is usually to replace the deficient hormone with a synthetic version called Levothyroxine, to allow levels to come back up to a normal range.
With an overactive thyroid, there are different treatments available. Usually, anti-thyroid medications can help reduce the production of the hormone, with beta-blockers available to help combat symptoms such as a racing heart.
In more severe cases, radioactive iodine may prevent the thyroid from producing as much of the hormone. With an enlarged thyroid, surgery to remove it could be an option.
Whether you suffer from an underactive or overactive thyroid, getting the correct diagnosis is key to receiving the right treatment. Medication is usually the first option, but surgery may be required if medicine does not improve the thyroid hormone levels.
The board-certified surgeons at Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville and Cleveland, TN are experienced and highly trained in diagnosing and treating thyroid issues. If you’re concerned you may have a thyroid issue, you may request an appointment online by visiting this link.