Thyroid Disease: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment
Thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck just about the collar bone, stops working properly. The thyroid works to release hormones that help to control the functions of your body, including how fast your heart beats, metabolism, bone health, energy levels, and other functions. When thyroid disease occurs, you may have too much thyroid hormone, called hyperthyroidism, or too little thyroid hormone, a condition called hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease can occur in various ways. Here is a look at some of the conditions and symptoms you may have:
Hyperthyroidism symptoms include:
• Irregular heartbeat
• Weight loss
• Protruding eyes
Hypothyroidism symptoms may include:
• Weight gain
• Stunted growth
• Abnormal bone development
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis symptoms may include the following:
• Goiter, or swelling in the neck due to an enlarged, inflamed thyroid gland
In addition to these conditions, some people develop thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer. These often begin with the presence of a growth in the area of the thyroid.
Your doctor will determine what’s occurring through a series of blood tests and a physical examination.
What Thyroid Treatment Is Available?
Numerous thyroid treatment options exist, and each depends on the condition and the severity of the disease. Often, thyroid hormone therapy is the first step, which allows doctors to adjust how much hormone is in the body.
For those who develop tumors, it may be necessary to have surgery to remove them. In addition, some people may have thyroid disease that requires the removal of the gland. If this occurs, you will remain on daily medication to replace the lost hormones for the rest of your life.
A second reason for surgery is if the thyroid becomes enlarged, it forms a large lump at the front of the neck, commonly called a goiter. Besides being unsightly, a goiter can push on the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow or breathe.
The third main reason for surgery is when thyroid glands develop small lumps called nodules. In rare cases these are cancerous, and in most cases the entire gland is removed. Most of these nodules have no symptoms, but are found during routine imaging tests like MRI scans for back or neck problems.
Thyroid disease treatment can be very effective, especially when provided by a specialist in the field. Endocrinologists typically provide this type of help and have a wide range of thyroid treatment options to manage thyroid conditions effectively.
Find the Help You Need
If thyroid surgery is needed, Premier Surgical Associates of East Tennessee has surgeons like Dr. Anna K. Wilson, Dr. David Harrell, and Dr. William Gibson who have a special interest in Thyroid surgery. Visit our Endocrine and Thyroid Surgery webpage for more information about thyroid disease and treatment options.