What is thyroid disease?

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Jan. 01, 2019

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the lower part of the neck. Its main function is to control the body’s metabolism and to produce the thyroid hormones T4 and T3, which help control how much energy our body’s cells use.

A normal thyroid will regulate metabolism at a satisfactory rate, and regenerate thyroid hormones as they are being used.

Thyroid disease

Thyroid disease is when the body produces too much hormone, or too little hormone. When the thyroid produces too much hormone, the body uses energy faster than it should, resulting in a condition called hyperthyroidism.

Another opposing condition, hypothyroidism, occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough hormone, and the body uses energy slower than it should. There are many different reasons why these conditions develop.

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent heavy menstrual periods
  • Forgetfulness
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Weight gain
  • Hoarse voice
  • Intolerance to cold

Hyperthyroidism

  • Irritability/nervousness
  • Muscle weakness and tremors
  • Infrequent or irregular menstrual periods
  • Weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Vision problems or eye irritation
  • Heat sensitivity

Thyroid disease can be diagnosed through a simple blood test performed in your provider’s office. If you have symptoms or history of thyroid disorders, contact your primary provider for further evaluation and testing.

Thyroid disorders can be managed with medication and multiple treatment options by either your primary provider or an endocrinology specialist.

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