Think it’s your Thyroid?

Thyroid diseases are quite common, and effect millions of Americans. Located just below the voice box, the thyroid gland is shaped like a bow tie and wraps around the windpipe. The thyroid is one of the endocrine glands that regulates physiological functions in the body, such as metabolism. Some common thyroid disorders include:

  • Overactivity, called hyperthyroidism. This can be seen in diseases like Graves’ disease, toxic adenoma or or toxic nodular goiter.
  • Underactivity, called hypothyroidism. An example of this is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
  • Enlargement of the thyroid, due to overactivity (in cases like Graves’ disease) or underactivity (in cases like hypothyroidism). An enlarged thyroid gland is called a “goiter.”

Depending on the type of issues you’re having, treatment options could include:

  • Thyroid hormone replacement pills
  • Medication to block the effects of excessive thyroid production
  • Radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid gland
  • Surgical removal of the thyroid gland

10-Signs-You-Have-A-Thyroid-Problem-and-10-Ways-to-Improve-It-RiseEarthIf you think you’re experiencing symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, see your doctor to get a diagnosis. After getting a thorough medical history, your doctor will perform a physical exam. He or she will ask you to tilt your head back, making the thyroid gland more prominent, to examine the thyroid and any mass that may be present in it. Other tests your doctor may use include:

  • Ultrasound exam of the throat and neck
  • Blood tests for thyroid function
  • Evaluation of the larynx with a mirror or fiberoptic telescope
  • A radioactive thyroid scan
  • A fine needle aspiration biopsy
  • A chest X-ray
  • A CT or MRI scan