The problem with detecting a thyroid disorder is that the symptoms mirror those of many other less serious conditions, so people may just brush it off as being overworked, eating too much or too little, or undergoing stress
See for yourself. The following is a list of symptoms typical of a thyroid gland disorder – some are specific to hypothyroidism and others to hyperthyroidism:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Changes in heart rate, including increased blood pressure and heart palpitations
- Changes in mood including anxiety, irritability, depression, sleeplessness
- Sweating or chills
- Brain fog
- Hair loss
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Abnormal menstruation
- Muscle weakness, trembling, or tingling in hands
- Dry skin and nails
- A lump in the neck
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to schedule a consultation with a doctor so that you can be tested for a thyroid condition. While some of these ailments may seem nothing more than an inconvenience, they could lead to serious issues if left unchecked. And besides, why sacrifice quality of life if relief is possible?
The type of treatment you will receive for a thyroid disorder depends on whether you are experiencing hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Both are usually diagnosed with blood tests. Hypothyroidism is commonly treated with thyroid hormone replacement pills. Hyperthyroidism may be treated with a medication designed to block the effects of excessive production of thyroid hormone, a radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid gland, or the surgical removal of the thyroid gland.
If you have found a lump in your neck, the diagnostic process is a bit different. And while this discovery can be very scary, it is important to note that in most cases, the swelling is due to a goiter. Small goiters are usually harmless and do not require medical treatment. Larger ones, while not themselves harmful, can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing and will need to be examined with imaging studies (MRI, CT Scan, Ultrasound) and/or a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.
In rare cases, surgery to remove the thyroid is necessary. This happens when one or more of the following occurs:
- The fine needle aspiration is reported as inconclusive or suspicious of cancer
- Imaging shows nodules have worrisome characteristics (such as that nodules are getting bigger)
- The trachea or esophagus are compressed because one or both lobes have grown excessively large
So if you are experiencing unexplained weight gain, mood swings, or extreme fatigue (or any of the other symptoms that we’ve listed) for two weeks or more, it’s time to see a doctor. It could very well be nothing, but the peace of mind of being checked is priceless. And if there is an issue, early detection and treatment can lead to permanent relief.
Our sister branch Westwood Ear, Nose and Throat offers superior patient-centered care in up-to-date facilities. Our expert physicians will take the time to sit down with you and thoroughly go over your symptoms, diagnostic procedures and treatment options. For more information on how we can help you go back to living the quality life you deserve, call us at (888) 230-3715.