June 25th, 2021 12:00am
Complications with the thyroid gland are all too common and can cause difficulty in diagnosing and treating disorders. The different thyroid disorders you should know include a few common illnesses to bring up with your doctor when you believe you are experiencing symptoms. Don’t hesitate to seek out medical attention; postponing treatment can lead to further complications that are sometimes life-threatening.
First, you need to know the two major forms of thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid gland doesn’t work as fast as it should, slowing down the metabolic process and hormone production. Common symptoms include fatigue, slow heart rate, and weight gain.
In contrast, hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid gland is overactive, resulting in a sped-up metabolic process and overproduction of hormones. Symptoms include restlessness, weight loss, and anxiety.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is among the most common causes of hypothyroidism in the US. While it can occur in people of any age, it most commonly affects middle-aged women. Hashimoto’s disease happens when the body’s immune system mistakenly targets the thyroid gland, slowly destroying it and decreasing its ability to produce hormones.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease can be difficult to identify due to their appearing mild and being easily mistaken for other illnesses, but these symptoms include:
Grave’s disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism and can affect people of any age, although it most commonly afflicts women in their twenties. The disease is hereditary, passing down to children from their parents, but other common risk factors include smoking, pregnancy, and increased stress levels. Like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease develops when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland; instead of destroying it, the stimulation promotes greater hormone production.
This increased production of hormones creates symptoms in line with what one would expect from hyperthyroidism, including:
Thyroid nodules are lumps that form on the thyroid gland itself. These growths can be either solid or fluid-filled masses. Many of these growths are benign, but in a small percentage of cases, they are cancerous nodules.
These nodules are difficult to diagnose through symptoms alone, as they exhibit signs similar to both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. One common sign of nodules is the appearance of growths around the thyroid gland in the neck, but even these may be too small to detect in many cases.
Knowing the different thyroid disorders and their symptoms gives you the information you need to inform your doctor. But after you consult a doctor, you must know when to see an endocrinologist for your thyroid disorder. Waiting to see what happens with your symptoms can lead to even more serious illnesses.