The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck and is one of the key components of the endocrine system, responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism, protein development, and sensitivity to other hormones, which is why thyroid disorders can cause a wide range of serious issues.
Common thyroid disorders include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroiditis.
Hyperthyroidism (Overactive thyroid)
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland overproduces the thyroid hormone, and is up to 10 times more common in women than in men. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include:
- Rapid, unexplained weight loss
- Increased or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness
- Menstrual changes
- Difficulty sleeping
Blood tests and thyroid scans or ultrasounds can help determine the presence of hyperthyroidism, as well as potential causes, which can include Graves’ disease, excess iodine, or thyroiditis.
Hyperthyroidism treatment options can include anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine treatments, or a thyroidectomy surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid.
Hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid)
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone, and is also more common in women than men, particularly white and Asian women. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Dry skin
- Hair Loss
- and more
Blood tests and thyroid scans or ultrasounds can be used to help determine the presence of hypothyroidism, as well as potential causes, which can include pregnancy, damage to the pituitary gland, inadequate iodine in the diet, radiation treatment, or a thyroidectomy.
Hypothyroidism treatments often includes hormone replacement therapy, in which an endocrinologist or other doctor may prescribe a daily dose of a synthetic thyroid hormone, as well as regular blood tests to monitor and regulate thyroid hormone levels in the body.
Thyroiditis is a disorder that involves both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, typically characterized by by bouts of hyperthyroidism (and accompanying symptoms) followed by bouts of hypothyroidism (with accompanying symptoms).
Thyroiditis treatment can include Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), radioactive iodine therapy, and/or antithyroid agents.
Thyroid Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment
If you believe you are experiencing symptoms that could be related to a thyroid disorder, our board certified endocrinologists will be happy to consult with you to help you understand your risks and perform or schedule any necessary tests to confirm a diagnosis. If a thyroid disorder or hormonal imbalance is diagnosed, our thyroid disorder experts will work with you to create a customized treatment plan for alleviating your symptoms and ensuring that your thyroid hormone levels are properly regulated.