Thyroid Problems: Symptoms, Signs, and Treatment
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck that is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism. When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones (hypothyroidism) or produces too much (hyperthyroidism), it can lead to a variety of symptoms and health problems.
Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
Joint and muscle pain
Nervousness and irritability
Increased sensitivity to heat
Signs of Thyroid Problems
Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
Dry, rough skin
Puffy face and eyes
Brittle hair and nails
Slow heart rate
Enlargement of the thyroid gland
Tremors in hands
Rapid, irregular heartbeat
Bulging eyes (exophthalmos)
Fine, brittle hair
Diagnosis of Thyroid Problems
A doctor can diagnose thyroid problems through a physical examination, blood tests, and in some cases, a biopsy. Blood tests measure levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland to control the thyroid.
Treatment of Thyroid Problems
Hormonal replacement therapy: The most common treatment is to take a daily dose of levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone that replaces the missing thyroid hormones.
Natural desiccated thyroid: A natural hormone replacement therapy that includes hormones from dried pig thyroid glands.
Anti-thyroid medications: These medications work by blocking the production of thyroid hormones.
Radioactive iodine: This treatment destroys the cells in the thyroid that are producing too much hormone.
Surgery: In severe cases, the entire thyroid gland may be removed.
Thyroid problems can cause a range of symptoms and health problems, but with proper treatment, most people are able to manage their condition and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is important to see a doctor if you experience any symptoms of thyroid problems, as early diagnosis and treatment can prevent long-term health problems.