Thyroid disorders are a group of conditions that affect the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small gland that resembles a butterfly, found in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate many important body functions, including metabolism, heart rate, and growth. There are many different thyroid disorders, and various factors can cause them. Humble thyroid disorder can cause various symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain or loss, and mood swings.
There are two main types of thyroid disorders:
- Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone.
- Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.
What are the symptoms of thyroid disorders?
The symptoms of thyroid disorders can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. However, some common symptoms include:
Fatigue: Feeling tired and weak is a common symptom of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Weight changes: People with thyroid disorders may experience sudden weight gain or loss.
Mood changes: Thyroid disorders can cause mood swings, irritability, and anxiety.
Difficulty concentrating: Brain fog and difficulty concentrating are common in people with thyroid disorders.
Hair changes: Thyroid disorders can cause hair to become thin, brittle, or fall out.
Dry skin: Thyroid disorders can lead to dry, itchy skin.
What causes thyroid disorders?
There are many different causes of thyroid disorders. In some cases, the cause is unknown. However, there are some known risk factors, including:
Certain autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s and Graves’s, can cause the body to attack the thyroid gland. This can lead to inflammation and damage to the gland and may eventually result in thyroid dysfunction.
Thyroid disorders tend to run in families, so you may be at increased risk if you have a family member with the condition.
Women are at increased risk for thyroid disorders during pregnancy. This is thought to be due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. You need to consult a doctor if you feel any symptoms.
Thyroid disorders are more common in women over the age of 60. When you are within that age bracket, and you experience any of the symptoms mentioned, please visit your doctor.
There are different treatments available:
Several different types of medications can be used to treat thyroid disorders. The most common medication type is levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the hormone thyroxine. Levothyroxine is used to treat both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Surgery may sometimes be necessary to remove part or all of the thyroid gland. This is typically only recommended if other treatments have been unsuccessful. Your doctor can recommend the best treatment option for you based on your type of thyroid disorder and the severity of your symptoms.
Radioactive iodine is a treatment used to destroy part of the thyroid gland. This treatment is typically only recommended for people with hyperthyroidism who cannot take medication or have had surgery to remove part of the thyroid gland.
If you think you may have a thyroid disorder, you must see your doctor at North Houston Diabetes Institute for a diagnosis. Your specialist will be able to recommend the best treatment option for you.