According to the American Thyroid Association, as much as 12 percent of the population in the United States will develop some form of thyroid disorder within their lifetime. At any given time, as many as 20 million Americans have a thyroid related issue, with more than half of those being unaware of their condition.
At Rockville Concierge Doctors, we care about your health. We created this helpful guide to help you stay informed about thyroid disorders, including symptoms and treatments.
All About the Thyroid
The thyroid is a small gland that is shaped like a butterfly. It is located on the front of your trachea (windpipe) just below your larynx (voice box), and produces two critical hormones known as T3 and T4. These hormones help regulate the energy your body produces. Thyroid function impacts various body systems, including the brain, heart, kidneys, skin, and liver.
The most common thyroid disorders are those that involve too much or too little production of hormones. This includes both hypothyroidism (underactive) and hyperthyroidism (overactive). Other disorders include abnormal growth of the thyroid (goiter), lumps or nodules in the thyroid, and thyroid cancer. There is no single, one-size-fits-all treatment that works for every patient. The treatment depends on the severity of the disease and the underlying cause.
An underactive thyroid means that it cannot produce enough hormones to help the body maintain normal functioning. Symptoms include cold intolerance, dry skin, memory issues, depression, constipation, weight gain, and fatigue. This is often treated with synthetic thyroid hormone to restore and stabilize hormone levels.
An over-productive thyroid can create feelings of nervousness, irritability, brittle hair, increased sweating, racing heartbeat, anxiety, and insomnia (sleeplessness). It may also cause weight loss. There are several different treatments for hyperthyroidism, including medications, surgery, and nuclear medicine.
There are several different kinds of thyroid cancer. The main three are differentiated (including follicular, Hṻrthle cell, and papillary), anaplastic (an aggressive form), and medullary. The treatment will vary depending on the kind, but may involve medications, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
Most thyroid nodules are benign (non-cancerous). However, roughly 2 to 3 out of every 20 are cancerous. Most nodules are fluid-filled or contain colloid (a substance produced by the thyroid). Fluid-filled nodules are less likely to contain cancer cells than solid ones.
To learn more about thyroid disorders and treatment, please call Rockville Concierge Doctors at (301) 545-1811. We’re here for you, every step of the way!