What is thyroid disease?
The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck in front of your trachea (or windpipe). The thyroid gland makes, stores, and releases two hormones—T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). Certain disorders can cause the thyroid gland to make too much or too little hormone. Women at risk of thyroid disease include those who have or have had an autoimmune disease (such as diabetes).
Thyroid hormones control your metabolism, which is the rate at which every part of your body works. When your thyroid gland is working the way it should, your metabolism stays at a steady pace—not too fast or not too slow.
The thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland (a gland in your brain). The pituitary gland makes thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH tells the thyroid gland to make more hormone if needed.
Thyroid disease is diagnosed by your symptoms, an exam, and tests. Symptoms of thyroid disease can be much like symptoms of other health problems.
Your health care provider will examine your neck while you swallow. The thyroid gland moves when you swallow. This makes it easier for your health care provider to feel. Your health care provider also may examine your skin and eyes and check your weight and temperature.
The following tests may be used to help find the exact cause of a thyroid problem:
During a thyroid scan, you drink a small amount of radioactive iodine. A special camera then detects the areas of the thyroid gland that absorb the radioactive iodine. Results of this test show areas of the thyroid gland that are underactive or overactive. This test will not be done if you are pregnant.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not make enough of the thyroid hormones to maintain your normal body metabolism.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are slow to develop. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include the following:
Our Nurse Practitioner, Diane (above), specializes in thyroid conditions.
Call our office or contact us online today to make your appointment with Diane. 269-372-7600
What treatment is available for hypothyroidism?
In most cases, hypothyroidism is treated with medication that contains thyroid hormone. The dosage of the medication is increased slowly until a normal level of thyroid hormone has been reached in the blood.
Hyperthyroidism results when the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. This causes your metabolism to speed up.
What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include the following:
Anti-thyroid medication can be used to reduce the amount of thyroid hormone your body is making. Medications known as beta-blockers control rapid heart beat.
If these medications do not help, your health care provider may suggest treatment with high-dose radioactive iodine to destroy parts of the thyroid gland. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the thyroid gland.