The thyroid plays a role in creating and producing hormones and controlling the body’s metabolism in many ways, including how fast calories are burned and how fast the heartbeats. It is a small butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of the neck that makes the thyroid hormone travel in the blood to all body parts. When the thyroid doesn’t work properly, it can impact the entire body.
Consequently, if the body makes too much thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism condition can be developed. If the body produces too little thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are severe and need to be treated by your healthcare provider, and women are more likely to have thyroid diseases, especially right after pregnancy and menopause.
What Is Thyroid Disease?
In thyroid disorder, the thyroid gland cannot produce the right hormones, which leads to various complications like raising the heartbeat, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, nervousness, inability to endure cold temperatures, so on and so forth. In addition, the most common types of thyroid diseases are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Other thyroid problems also include goiter, thyroid cancer, and thyroid nodules.
What Are Types Of Thyroid Diseases?
As mentioned, the most common thyroid diseases are hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels) and hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels).
A condition resulting from decreased production of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism occurs if one has an underactive thyroid gland. Below are symptoms of hypothyroidism, including:
- Poor concentration or feeling mentally foggy
- Dry skin
- Feeling cold
- Fluid retention
- Muscle and joint aches
- Prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding in women
This is an overproduction of hormones T3 and T4 by the thyroid gland located at the front of the neck. Here are symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including:
- Concentration problems
- Fast heart rate
- Increase in bowel movements
- Increased sweating
- Increase in bowel movements
- Intolerance for heat
- Unintentional weight loss
Also, other thyroid problems could include:
A condition that causes an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. Various factors and conditions can cause a goiter, and treatment ranges from watchful waiting (no treatment) to surgery. The main symptoms of goiter include:
- Dizziness when the arms are raised above the head
- Hoarseness (scratchy voice)
- Neck vein swelling
- Swelling in the base of the neck
- Tightness feeling in the throat area
- Neck vein swelling
A condition on which cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid. Typically, it doesn’t cause signs or symptoms early at the early stage of the disease, but thyroid cancer grows and may cause some of the following:
- Changes to the voice, including increasing hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Lump or nodule, in other terms that can be felt through the skin on your neck
- Pain in the neck and throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
A condition where lumps are formed in the thyroid gland. This causes breathing, difficulty in swallowing, and sudden weight loss. Most of the time, thyroid nodules don’t cause signs or symptoms, but some become so large that a person can experience the following:
- Undeniably felt the nodule
- Often see some swelling at the base of the neck
- Press on the windpipe or esophagus, causing shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing
How Are Thyroid Disorders Diagnosed?
Doctors use medical history, physical exams, and thyroid tests to diagnose thyroid diseases.
- Blood tests may be ordered by doctors and are typically done to measure thyroid hormones and TSH levels, which helps identify antibodies.
- Imaging tests with the help of ultrasound can help visualize the consistency of the tissue within the gland and can often reveal cysts or calcifications. This test is commonly used when thyroid nodules or enlargement are present, but keep in mind that an ultrasound examination cannot distinguish benign from the malignant process.
- Thyroid scans with the use of radioactive iodine are often performed to evaluate the function of thyroid nodules. To emphasize, the only location in the body that takes up iodine is the thyroid gland. Hence, when radioactively labeled iodine is given, it is taken up by the thyroid gland.
- Fine needle aspiration and biopsy are methods that withdraw a sample of cells or tissue from the thyroid for examination and diagnosis by a pathologist, a physician trained in diagnosing conditions based on tissue samples. While fine needle aspiration (FNA) uses a long, thin needle to withdraw a sample of cells from the thyroid, the biopsy is the surgical sampling of tissue.
How Is Thyroid Disease Treated?
The treatment aims to restore the hormonal balance of the thyroid. Below are the treatments that doctors use:
Medications can be given to replace the missing thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism. Synthetic thyroid hormone is given in pill form by mouth. When hyperthyroidism is present, medications can be used to decrease thyroid hormone production or prevent its release from the gland.
This method works by damaging the thyroid cells. In effect, radioactive iodine prevents the thyroid gland from making hormones and is a curative measure for hyperthyroidism.
(Beta-blockers: They function by controlling the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.)
The surgical intervention aims to inhibit the production of thyroid hormones when your thyroid gland overproduces them. It is required in severe cases. Surgery may be done by incision on the neck or the armpit. Doctors may also go for robotic surgery. This will necessitate lifelong hormone replacement therapy.
Thyroid Replacement Medication
It is used for hypothyroidism, a drug therapy that makes up for the low production of thyroid hormones in your body.
How To Prevent A Thyroid Disease?
Generally, there is no way to prevent thyroid disease, but some lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of this hormonal condition or delay its progression.
- Make sure to be not deficient in iodine. This is one of the critical elements of the thyroid hormone. If a person is on a low-iodine diet, the body won’t produce sufficient hormone levels. Look for foods and supplements that fulfill the recommended daily allowance of iodine: 150 mcg/day.
- Quit Smoking. Cigarettes are loaded with the chemical thiocyanate, which can be potentially harmful to your thyroid gland, making you vulnerable to thyroid disorders.
- Reduce toxins exposure. Various chemicals are found in multiple daily-use products, damaging the thyroid gland. Some triclosan–content products are antibacterial soap, toothpaste, body washes, and cosmetics.
- Limit the soy intake. The thyroid gland won’t produce thyroid hormone sufficiently when one person overboard on soy. It is best to avoid soy powders, supplements, and milk as much as possible. However, it’s okay to use them in a fermented form (for example, tofu) and not as a primary source of protein, as suggested by experts.
The Bottom Line
If you do not get treatment, damage to your thyroid may continue and lead to more health issues. Cache Valley ENT offers both surgical and non-surgical conditions of the thyroid. With over 75 years of combined experience, their medical professionals are ready to provide you with the services and solutions to your throat symptoms to help you live the life you deserve.