• A Short Overview of the Most Common Thyroid Disorders

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Oct 1st, 2018

According to research, around 13 million people in the United States live with an undiagnosed thyroid condition. Thyroid disorders can range from small ones that require no treatment (such as goiter, an enlarged gland) to life-threatening cancer, but the most common problems usually involve either abnormal or insufficient production of thyroid hormones.

As unpleasant or uncomfortable as thyroid disorders may be, most of them can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated. In this post, we’ll cover three most common conditions caused by the thyroid gland, their symptoms, and possible treatment

Hypothyroidism

Especially common in women, hypothyroidism occurs when a person’s thyroid stops producing enough of the thyroid hormone. The most common cause of this condition is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder which can either be hereditary or the result of another autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Other causes include surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland, Turner syndrome, too much or too little iodine intake in the diet, etc.

Symptoms: Slow metabolism, feeling cold, getting tired more easily, dry skin, forgetfulness, depression, and constipation (though all of these may vary).

Treatment: While there’s no cure for hypothyroidism, it can be managed with thyroid hormone replacement, which usually comes in the form of a pill.

Hyperthyroidism

The polar opposite of hypothyroidism, this disorder is the consequence of too much thyroid hormone in a person’s body. Patients who suffer from hyperthyroidism will usually seem like they have a lot of energy, but their body is prone to breaking down more quickly, which can cause a wide range of other issues, such as fatigue.

Hyperthyroidism is most often caused by an autoimmune disease called Graves' disease, which occurs when our immune system creates antibodies which are responsible for the growth of the thyroid gland. This eventually leads to the gland producing more thyroid hormone than the body needs. Other causes include multinodular goiter, thyroiditis (a temporary inflammation of the thyroid gland), and taking thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism.

Symptoms: Fast metabolism, fatigue, rapid pulse, hand tremors, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, problems sleeping, fine and brittle hair, weakness in muscles, frequent bowel movements, weight loss, a light menstrual flow or fewer periods.

Treatment: If you have hyperthyroidism, your doctor might recommend beta-blockers as a short-term solution, but most often treatment will include antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine tablets, and surgery.

Thyroid Nodules

According to the American Thyroid Association, about 50% of people older than 60 a thyroid nodule, and most of them are harmless. Nodules appear on a person's thyroid either alone or in groups, and they typically don’t cause any symptoms.

During an exam, a doctor will feel for the nodules on the patient’s neck, and if they find any, they will send the person for further tests to establish whether they have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Some thyroid nodules might turn out to be cancerous, which can be checked via an ultrasound or a fine-needle biopsy. In case the nodules turn out to be cancerous, your doctor will recommend that you remove them, as well as a part of the thyroid gland.


If you think you might have thyroid problems, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Best and the Neuroscience Center as soon as possible!


Schedule a consultation:

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md

Author Caroline Ryther

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