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Thyroid Disease Treatment

Thyroid Disease Doctors

Thyroid Imbalance and Disease Treatment

The thyroid gland is located in your neck, near your Adam’s apple. The gland uses the amino acid L-Tyrosine and Iodine to produce the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which control many important bodily functions, such as metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, muscle strength, and mental focus.

There are many different conditions that can affect your thyroid gland, such as:

  • Hypothyroidism: when your thyroid underproduces hormones
  • Imbalance: inappropriate ratio of T4:T3:Reverse T3
  • Hyperthyroidism: when your thyroid overproduces hormones
  • Auto-immune Thyroiditis
  • Goiter: A noncancerous enlargement of the gland
  • Subacute thyroiditis: swelling of the thyroid
  • Thyroid cancer

While these disorders can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms and negatively affect your life, treatment for thyroid disease is readily available. Click here to find a provider and learn more about treatment options for thyroid conditions.

Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and Disease

There are many different causes of thyroid disorders, including:

  • Natural hormonal decline (aging) is often associated with thyroid hormone deficiency
  • Disorders that affect the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, as these organs control the thyroid
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis: An autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland, kills the tissue, and prevents further hormone production
  • Grave’s Disease: An autoimmune condition that causes too much thyroid hormone to be produced, which can lead to hyperthyroidism
  • Thyroid nodules, or lumps
  • Viral infections that affect the thyroid gland
  • Lithium, which can cause hypothyroidism
  • Iodine deficiency or excessive amounts of iodine
  • Surgery or removal of the thyroid gland

Symptoms of Thyroid Imbalance and Disease

While each thyroid condition has its own specific symptoms, common signs of low thyroid or subclinical hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain evenly over body
  • Loss of outer half of eyebrows
  • Body temperature below 98.2 F
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Dry skin
  • Unexpected scalp hair loss
  • Weak or ridged nails
  • Decreased memory and concentration
  • Puffy eyes and swollen eyelids
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depressed mood
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Headache
  • Fluid retention

Symptoms of high thyroid- patients will usually have at least 3 of the following:

  • Tachycardia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nervousness and/or anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss

Thyroid imbalance or Disease Diagnosis

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your healthcare provider can test you for a thyroid condition. The different kinds of tests that can be performed include:

  • Blood tests to measure levels of thyroid hormones including Levothyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), Reverse T3, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). If checking for auto-immune thyroiditis, then Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Thyroglobulin Antibodies.
  • Imaging tests, such as ultrasounds and scans using radioactive iodine
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA) to remove a sample of cells from the gland, or a surgical removal of thyroid tissue (biopsy)

Thyroid Imbalance and Disease Treatments

If deemed necessary, thyroid imbalance and disease treatment either involves medications, supplements or in some cases, surgery. In the case of hypothyroidism, various thyroid hormones can be used to replenish deficient T3 and T4 hormones including:

  • Levothyroxine (T4)- used alone or in combination with T3. Common brand names are Synthroid and Levothroid
  • Triiodothyronine (T3)- used alone or in combination with T3. Common brand name is Cytomel
  • Porcine derived Thyroid Hormone USP- include T4, T3 and other co-factors. Common brand names include Armour Thyroid, Naturethroid, Westhroid.
  • Supplements to help with low thyroid include Iodine, potassium Iodide, L-tyrosine, zinc, B-Complex, selenium, iron (if anemic), bladderwrack.

Medications for hyperthyroidism can include anti-thyroid drugs such as methimazole (Tapazole), or radioactive iodine pills to permanently damage the thyroid gland. In the cases of thyroid goiters, nodules, cancer, or when medication for hyperthyroidism is not effective, surgery can be used to remove the diseased tissue, or in some cases, the entire thyroid gland. Talk with your healthcare provider about which treatment is best for you.

Find A Provider Near You

Thyroid conditions can affect every aspect of your life. Thankfully, there are many different ways to return your T3 and T4 to healthy levels. To schedule an appointment with a thyroid specialist, find a provider here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Thyroid Imbalance and Disease?

Thyroid disorders are conditions that cause your gland to produce too much, too little or an imbalance of thyroid hormones. The disorder can also be an unnatural growth on your thyroid gland or an auto-immune condition that damages the thyroid gland.

Can Your Thyroid Hurt?

In the case of subacute thyroiditis, or an inflammation of the thyroid, yes, your thyroid gland may hurt. In cases of goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland), swallowing may be affected.

What Causes Thyroid Levels to Be High?

Hyperthyroidism, or an overproduction of thyroid hormone, can be caused by thyroid nodules, thyroid inflammation, cancerous growths, pituitary gland malfunction, or Grave’s disease.

What Causes Thyroid Levels to Be Low?

Hypothyroidism, or an underproduction of thyroid hormone, can simply be an underproduction of thyroid hormone. It can also be caused by lithium, low levels or excessive amounts of iodine, removal of the thyroid gland or an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

What Can Thyroid Problems Cause?

Symptoms of thyroid conditions can include fatigue, weakness, weight gain, depression, lack of focus, or sensitivity to heat or cold.

Can Thyroid Disease Be Cured?

Yes. There are many different medications that can used for thyroid treatment, such as hormone replacements, anti-thyroid drugs, and radioactive iodine. In some cases, partial to total surgical removal of your thyroid gland may be necessary.

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