What are thyroid disorders?
Thyroid disorders are medical conditions that affect the thyroid gland, the gland in the front of the neck. The thyroid is extremely important because it regulates multiple metabolic processes throughout the body. Different kind of thyroid disorders affect either the function or structure of the gland. The thyroid gland is located below the Adam’s apple and is wrapped around the trachea. Using iodine, the thyroid is able to produce essential hormones. Developing a thyroid disorder can have a huge impact on the body.
What are the specific kinds of thyroid disorders?
The most common disorders include:
- Thyroid cancer
- Thyroid nodules
Thyroid cancer is the most common among adult women. A majority of cases occur in people under the age of 55. There are different types of thyroid cancer, depending on the specific cell type within the thyroid that becomes cancerous. The good news is that most cases of thyroid cancer have a good prognosis and high survival rates. This is especially true when it is diagnosed in the early stages.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. Problems usually develop within the gland, the pituitary gland (a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain) or the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls the release of hormones from the pituitary gland). Symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint aches
- Dry skin
- Poor concentration
- Feeling cold
- Prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding
- Fluid retention
This disorder is caused by thyroid hormone resistances, an inflammation of the thyroid and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The latter is an autoimmune condition that causes thyroid gland inflammation.
Hyperthyroidism, also known as Graves’ disease, is a disorder in which an excessive amounts of thyroid hormone are produced. The symptoms usually relate to increased metabolism. If you have a mild case of this disorder, you may not experience any symptoms. But the most common signs and symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Unintentional weight loss
- Poor concentration
- Increased sweating
- Intolerance for heat
- An increase in bowel movements
This disorder is caused by excessive iodine consumption, thyroid nodules that overexpress thyroid hormone or a toxic multinodular goiter.
Goiters are enlargements of the thyroid gland. They are not a specific disease but they are usually associated with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Nodules are lumps or abnormal masses within the thyroid. They are caused by benign (noncancerous) tumors or cysts, and less commonly, cancers of the thyroid. Nodules can be single or multiple and they will vary in size. If a nodule is excessively large, it could cause symptoms related to the compression of nearby structures.
Schedule an appointment in Fairbanks, Alaska
Blood tests can be conducted to measure your levels of thyroid hormones. Ultrasounds and thyroid scans allow doctors to visualize the consistency of the tissue within the gland and to evaluate the function of thyroid nodules, respectively. If you feel you are suffering from a thyroid disorder and you live in or around the Fairbanks area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Nick Sarrimanolis. Dr. Sarrimanolis and staff specialize in thyroid disorder evaluation and management. To get evaluated by experienced physicians near you, fill out the request form on our site or call us at (907) 451-1174.
*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.