Thyroid disease is one of the most common conditions in America to date. Thyroid Disease is continuously overlooked, and it is estimated between 27 – 60 million people have the disease right now. Women make up the majority of people with thyroid disease.

Anatomy

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is in your neck behind your Adam’s apple. The thyroid is important because it produces multiple thyroid hormones. These hormones have effects on the rest of the body, including the following functions:

  • Hair growth
  • Nail growth
  • Sex drive: Normal reproductive behavior and physiology is dependent on having essentially normal levels of thyroid hormone.
  • Brain: Both decreased and increased concentrations of thyroid hormones lead to alterations in mental state. Too little thyroid hormone causes one to to feel mentally sluggish, while too much thyroid hormone induces anxiety and nervousness.
  • Heart: Thyroid hormones increase heart rate, cardiac contractility, cardiac output, and cause enhanced blood flow to other organs.

The body heavily relies on the thyroid to produce its hormones to keep the body in check.

Types of Thyroid disease

Thyroid cancer: This is a condition where cells found in the thyroid gland grow at an unchecked rate. These cells can grow abnormally quickly within the gland or outside (called a metastasis). There are 4 main types of thyroid cancer.

  • Papillary or mixed papillary – the most common form of thyroid cancer, this makes up about 80% of all cases.
  • Follicular or Hurthle cell thyroid cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer

Most primary thyroid cancers have a relatively high percentage chance of survival if they are caught early, so it is important always to get checked out when you feel you may have a problem in this area of your body or at an annual physical!

Thyroiditis: This is when your thyroid becomes inflamed. This can be caused by numerous reasons, including an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or after a woman gives birth, radiation-induced, drug-induced, or by a virus or bacterium.

Hypothyroidism: This condition is caused when you do not have enough thyroid hormones, and this can come with a numerous amount of complications, including the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Inability to lose weight with diet and exercise
  • Constipation
  • Infertility
  • Feeling cold
  • Hair loss (including the outer edge of the eyebrows)
  • Brain fog
  • Muscle and joint pains/aches

Hyperthyroidism: A condition caused by an overactive thyroid gland, this occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Symptoms include the following:

  • Unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety, and/or irritability
  • Tremor (a fine trembling in your hands and fingers)
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair

If you think you have any of these symptoms, please come in & visit one of our physicians to get a checkup! You can reach us here at 703-942-5331.