3 Thyroid Disorders You Should Be Aware Of

doctor checking patient thyroid gland

With January being National Thyroid Awareness Month, it is important to know the function of the thyroid and the symptoms of thyroid disorders.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the lower and front part of neck. The thyroid hormone is important for the functioning of almost all organs. As far as gender goes, thyroid disorders are more common in females than in males. Additionally, the prevalence of thyroid disorders can be up to 5 percent of the general population.

Three thyroid disorders you should be aware of include:

1. Hypothyroidism

    If the thyroid is underactive, body metabolism is slowed down. This is called hypothyroidism.

    Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  •         Feeling tired
  •         Feeling cold
  •         Constipation
  •         Increased need for sleep
  •         Weight gain 

2. Hyperthyroidism

    If the thyroid is overactive, there is excess of thyroid hormone in your body, which causes body metabolism to increase.
    Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  •         Fast heartbeat
  •         Feeling too hot, shaky, sweaty, short of breath
  •         Weakness
  •         Diarrhea

    The diagnosis of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is made by a blood test. Both the conditions are treatable and when caught early, treatment prevents severe complications.

    Sometimes symptoms are non-specific and can be common to other diseases. Thus, if you develop these symptoms, you are encouraged to talk to your healthcare provider.

3. Thyroid Nodules

    Thyroid nodules are another common thyroid condition you should be aware of. Most nodules are found incidentally on a CT scan or ultrasound of the neck done for other reasons. A dedicated ultrasound of the thyroid is the best test to understand the characteristics of the nodule. Some nodules are more suspicious for cancer than others. If you notice a lump/nodule in the front of the neck (below your Adam's apple and above the collar bones), you should talk to your provider about it.

 

Dr. Sravanthi Nagavalli and Dr. Vijay Eranki