What is a Thyroid disorder?

If you are experiencing a problem with your thyroid gland, you are not alone. The American Thyroid Association (https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/) estimates that more than 12% of people in the US will develop a problem with their thyroid and that more than 60% of people who currently have thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. There are many different thyroid disorders but most of these fit into four main categories including Hypothyroidism (inadequate thyroid function), Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid function), Thyroid Nodules, and Thyroid Cancer.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism often presents with symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, muscle weakness, and dry skin. The reason for these symptoms is a decrease in the body’s metabolic rate due to inadequate production of thyroid hormones. The most common cause for hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in which the immune system destroys the thyroid gland and function. Other causes can include certain medications, pituitary disease, and genetic defects. When a person has hypothyroidism, it is important to seek treatment with your endocrinologist to start thyroid hormone replacement to avoid weight gain and other symptoms. It is also very important for pregnant mothers with hypothyroidism to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent developmental delay for their child.

What is the best treatment for hypothyroidism?

There are currently many replacement options on the market for treatment of hypothyroidism. The best option can vary per patient. At LiveNew we work with our patients to help them find a replacement that safe and helps them to feel their best.  

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid hormone levels in the blood stream are too high. 

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism commonly causes symptoms of irritability, anxiety, heat intolerance, tremors, unintended weight loss, rapid or irregular heart-beats, sweating, diarrhea, insomnia, skin thinning and brittle hair, and appetite changes. Many of these symptoms arise because hyperthyroidism increases the body’s metabolic rate causing it to burn calories too quickly. 

What causes hyperthyroidism? 

The causes of hyperthyroidism include hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules, thyroiditis, and Grave’s disease.  Each of these are treatable conditions. If you have hyperthyroidism, it is important to undergo accurate diagnosis and treatment with an endocrinologist. 

What are thyroid nodules?

Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths in the thyroid gland.  When thyroid nodules are very large, they can cause difficulty with swallowing or breathing, a hoarse voice, or possibly pain. Thyroid nodules can rarely produce too much thyroid hormone resulting in hyperthyroidism. The vast majority (95%) of thyroid nodules are benign. Cancer is only present in about 5% of thyroid nodules. If you have a thyroid nodule, an ultrasound of your thyroid can further characterize it. Depending on the size and characteristics, a fine needle biopsy of the nodule may be indicated to rule out cancer.  At LiveNew our Endocrinology team performs in office ultrasounds and fine needle thyroid biopsies. Our Endocrinologists are highly skilled at these techniques to conveniently give you the most appropriate treatment for your nodule.

What is the best treatment for thyroid cancer?

While cancer can be a terrifying word, the most common kinds of thyroid cancer often have a good prognosis. There are five kinds of thyroid cancer: papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, Hurthle cell cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. The most common form of thyroid cancer is papillary thyroid cancer which represents about 85% of all thyroid cancers. Papillary thyroid cancer generally carries a good prognosis. Follicular thyroid and Hurthle cell cancer represent about 10% of all thyroid cancers. Medullary and Anaplastic thyroid cancers are much more rare making up <5% of all thyroid cancers.

Treatment for thyroid cancer requires the surgical removal of the thyroid cancer and sometimes the whole thyroid gland. Associated lymph nodes may also be removed if indicated. Approximately 8 weeks after the thyroid removal some patients will receive radioactive iodine if it is indicated. Thyroid replacement hormone will now be needed for life. If you have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, you are not alone. At LiveNew our dedicated team of Endocrinologists will be with you every step of the way.

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