What is Thyroid Disease and How Can It Be Treated?

Thyroid disease is a general term for any dysfunction of the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck (thyroid). This gland produces hormones that keep the body working normally, and when it produces too much or too little thyroid hormone, it can cause a variety of symptoms. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, while hypothyroidism occurs when it produces too little. Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland.

Thyroid blood tests are used to determine if the thyroid gland is working properly, and treatment will depend on the specific nature of the thyroid condition and its underlying cause. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam's apple. It produces hormones that help regulate many functions in the body. When the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, it can cause your heart to beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying, and even make you feel nervous. On the other hand, when you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you can gain weight, and you can't even tolerate cold temperatures. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and order blood tests to assess thyroid function.

If these tests indicate a problem, they may order a scan and thyroid uptake. Your doctor may find a lump or nodule in your thyroid, and they can use ultrasound imaging or a thyroid biopsy to help evaluate your condition. Patients with an underactive thyroid generally need to take replacement thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives. The amount of T4 produced by the thyroid gland is determined by a hormone produced by the pituitary gland called TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone. If too much thyroid hormones are secreted, your body's cells work faster than normal and you have hyperthyroidism. Sometimes, the surgeon may remove part of the thyroid and leave the other part so that he can continue to create and release thyroid hormones.

Researchers don't know why some people develop Hashimoto's disease, but it's common to have a family history of thyroid disease. Thyroid disease can be managed with medication or surgery. If you have very severe cases of hypothyroidism that hasn't been diagnosed or treated, your risk of developing low serum sodium levels increases. If you have a history of postpartum thyroiditis, your risk of developing permanent hypothyroidism is higher within 5 to 10 years.

Greta Rulnick
Greta Rulnick

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