If you are suffering from a thyroid issue, you are not alone. Over 20 million Americans have thyroid disorders, and 12% of Americans will develop thyroid problems at some point in their lifetimes. However, your Fredericksburg, VA ear, nose and throat doctors at Ear, Nose and Throat Facial Plastic Surgery are here to make understanding the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders easy.
What is a thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland which produces hormones that affect various metabolic processes throughout your body. It is butterfly-shaped and located just under the Adam’s apple on the front of the neck. The main thyroid hormone is thyroxine, also called T4. This hormone affects how fast the body’s cells use their stored energy, a process known as metabolism.
What are some common thyroid conditions?
There are two main branches of thyroid disorders:
- Hyperthyroidism: This condition is due to an overproduction of thyroid hormone. Conditions causing hyperthyroidism include Graves’ disease, pituitary gland abnormalities, cancer and toxic adenomas.
Hyperthyroidism symptoms include:
- hand tremors
- mood swings
- excessive fatigue
- irregular heartbeat
- trouble sleeping
- Hypothyroidism: The opposite of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Conditions which cause hypothyroidism include the autoimmune disorder Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the lack of a thyroid gland (usually due to surgical removal) and exposure to too much iodide (often found in some heart and cold/sinus medications).
Hypothyroidism symptoms include:
- rapid weight gain
- difficulty losing weight
- course or dry hair
- weakness and fatigue
- hair loss
- cold intolerance
How can my ear, nose and throat doctor help?
Your Fredericksburg ENT doctor takes many things into account while diagnosing thyroid disorders. Family and medical history, a physical examination and various tests help them determine the diagnosis. Treatment for thyroid disorders depends on your diagnosis. Common treatment includes medications to regulate the production of thyroid hormone and the use of low-dose radioactive iodine to destroy an overactive gland over a period of time. In some cases, patients benefit from surgery to remove the thyroid gland altogether.
For more information on thyroid issues and treatment options, please contact your doctor at Ear, Nose and Throat and Facial Plastic Surgery Center of Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg, VA. Call (540) 371-1226 to schedule your appointment or speak with an associate today!