Thyroid Disease - Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment.
Conventional medicine many times treats hypothyroidism in a knee jerk fashion, rather than tailor treatment to the individual, leaving patients to suffer needlessly with under treated symptoms.
Located just above the collarbone, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland responsible for producing hormones. Thyroid hormones influence virtually every metabolic process in our bodies, which is why thyroid disease often has such a pervasive impact on those affected.
According to the American Thyroid Association, there are an estimated 20 million Americans in Charlotte and around the country with some form of thyroid disease,
At Spartan Medical Associates we're dedicated to helping individuals in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area get the treatment, care, and attention they deserve so that they can live their best lives.
Thyroid disease is a common, yet often misunderstood condition, with symptoms that often mimic other conditions or go undiagnosed altogether.
The good news is that thyroid disease can be well-managed under the care and direction of our medical team, helping you look, feel and be your very best self.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms in this guide, reach out to our conveniently located clinic today for assistance. We would love to learn more about how we can help.
What is Thyroid Disease?
Thyroid disease is a catchall term used to cover a number of diseases of the thyroid. These commonly result in either under or overproduction of hormones.
Conditions can range from harmless goiters to cancer, although the two most common conditions include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Both of which can generally be well-managed with proper diagnosis and treatment.
With hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormones called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). This condition is thought to impact around 1% of women and is even less prevalent with men.
As it relates to hyperactive thyroid issues, Gravesâ€™ disease is the most common form, representing around 70% of diagnosed cases of hyperthyroidism.
Other causes of Hyperthyroid Disease Include
- Nodules: nodules can form on the thyroid causing it to overproduce hormones
- Thyroiditis: this disorder may be either painful or painless with inflammation and irritation causing the thyroid to overproduce hormones.
- Excessive Iodine: generally the result of iodine-rich medications
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism Include:
- Racing heart
- Increased sweating
- Thin skin
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Brittle hair and nails
- Difficulty sleeping
- Bulging eyes
Hypothyroidism presents as an underactive thyroid, producing too little of the hormones necessary.
According to the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists, around 4.6% of Americans age twelve and older are affected by this disease.
Causes of Hypothyroid Disease Include
Postpartum thyroiditis: generally temporary, this condition impacts around 5-9% of women after childbirth.
Iodine Deficiency: Iodine is a necessary element utilized by the thyroid to produce hormones. It is estimated that over 100 million people worldwide are iodine-deficient.
Non-Functioning Thyroid Gland: This condition affects nearly 1 out of every 4000 infants
Cancer of the Pituitary Gland
Non-cancerous growths on the pituitary gland
: Inflammation of the thyroid gland
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism Include:
- Foggy thinking
- Weight gain
- Lack of motivation
- Slow heart rate
- Dry skin
- Sensitivity to cold
Signs of Thyroid Disease - knowing when to seek treatment
Did you know that you could have a thyroid condition and not even realize it? Symptoms associated with thyroid diseases are not always obvious. They can be mild, slow to onset, and similar to other generalized issues such as lack of sleep, stress, and anxiety.
However, there are some things you can pay close attention to in order to understand when it may be a good time to get checked by a doctor.
- Are you feeling chronically exhausted despite getting enough rest?
- Do you find it difficult to concentrate or experience brain fog?
- Have you lost or gained weight despite no change in your diet or without trying to do so?
- Are you experiencing difficulty sleeping?
- Do you notice your heart racing even when you're not nervous or moving around?
- Have you become extra sensitive to the cold?
- Do you sweat excessively?
Although many of the above symptoms could be caused by aging or other issues, they can also be representative of a problem with your thyroid. Symptoms may also be mild, leading you to postpone getting checked.
However, waiting is generally never the best course of action. For example, with older women, the thyroid is often only mildly over or underactive, not yet meeting the clinical definition of hypo or hyperthyroidism, yet impacting the quality of life just the same.
Seeing a Thyroid Doctor for Treatment in Charlotte
Before treatment can be prescribed, you must first be accurately screened and diagnosed.
According to the American Thyroid Association, new guidelines suggest that if you're experiencing symptoms, or are over 60 years of age, you should consider getting screened for hypothyroidism.
Tests are fast, reliable and virtually pain-free. One simple blood draw is all that is needed to measure levels of T3, T4 and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone).
- If your TSH level is high but your T4 level is in the normal range, you may have what is known as subclinical hypothyroidism.
- If your TSH level is low and your T4 level is within normal range you may have subclinical hyperthyroidism.
- From 4% to 20% of adults have subclinical hypothyroidism, with a higher prevalence in women, older people, and those with thyroid autoimmunity.
- Subclinical hypothyroidism can progress to overt hypothyroidism, especially if antithyroid antibodies are present, and has been associated with adverse metabolic, cardiovascular, reproductive, maternal-fetal, neuromuscular, and cognitive abnormalities and lower quality of life.
- Currently, the best practical approach is to base treatment decisions on the degree of TSH elevation, thyroid autoimmunity, and associated comorbidities.
Take Charge of your Health - reach out to Spartan Medical Associates Today!
Thyroid disease and underlying conditions can cause a whole host of symptoms and issues impacting your quality of life. If left untreated, thyroid disease can lead to serious complications.
If you or a loved one suspects that you may have issues with your thyroid or would like to get screened, call our office today at (704) 469-5613. Our local team has helped countless Charlotte residents look and feel their best, and we can't wait to learn more about how we can do the same for you.