Your body is a finely tuned biological machine. When one part falters, it can have a ripple effect of symptoms. That’s what happens when you suffer from a thyroid disorder. Your thyroid pumps out regulating hormones. If you get too many or too few of these hormones, your body reacts in abnormal ways. If you have symptoms you can’t explain, call Century Medical and Dental Center in Brooklyn for tests, a diagnosis and effective treatment for all thyroid disorders.
You start developing thyroid disorders when your thyroid gland stops functioning properly. The butterfly-shaped gland is found at the base of the front of your neck. It’s responsible for the production of the hormones that control many functions in your body, such as how fast you metabolize food and how fast your heart beats.
Thyroid disorders affect both men and women, but for women, the risk is 10 times higher. One in eight women get the disease sometime during their lives. Other risk factors include those who suffer from diabetes or have arthritis. A family history of thyroid problems or an autoimmune disease can also make you predisposed to the condition.
There are two types of thyroid disorders: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism results when your thyroid gland produces too much of the thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism develops when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Each condition causes a different set of symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism Causes and Symptoms
When your thyroid gland produces too much of its hormones, it causes your metabolism to speed up, making you feel hungry all the time. The most common cause is Graves’ disease, which interferes with your immune system.
With hyperthyroidism, you may experience such symptoms as:
- Weight loss
- Eating more than usual
- A rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Pounding in your chest
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Trembling in your hands or fingers
- An increase in sweat
- Sensitivity to heat
- Muscle weakness
- Bulging, red or irritated eyes
Hypothyroidism Causes and Symptoms
When your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, your bodily functions slow down. Hashimoto’s disease — where your immune system damages the thyroid gland — is often cited as a main cause. But you can also get the disease if a doctor gives you radioiodine to treat hyperthyroidism. The radiation used to treat cancer causes the condition and if your thyroid is surgically removed, that causes hypothyroidism as well.
You can rely on your Brooklyn doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center. This is a multi-discipline office, so specialists in many medical fields practice in the same building, and they often work together to benefit their patients.
If you get hypothyroidism, you may experience:
- Heightened sensitivity to cold
- Muscle weakness
- Joint pain and discomfort
- High cholesterol and trig
- Skin disorders like dry skin or skin discoloration
- Thinning hair
- A slowed heart rate
- Less sweating
- Impaired memory
- A puffy face
- A hoarse voice
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
Other Thyroid Disorders
You can suffer many other forms of thyroid disorder in addition to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, including:
- Thyroiditis is the inflammation of your thyroid. It’s often caused by your immune system attacking it.
- Postpartum thyroiditis develops after you give birth. The thyroid returns to normal for most new mothers after 12 to 18 months.
- Goiter causes the thyroid gland to enlarge, sometimes causing swallowing and breathing problems.
- Thyroid nodules look like some areas of the thyroid gland are swollen. You can have many nodules or just one, which can be either solid or filled with blood or fluid.
- Thyroid cancer commonly affects women over 30, but the chance of surviving this type of cancer is excellent with the right medical team behind you.
Thyroid Disorders and Pregnancy
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism cause problems if you are trying to get pregnant. The hormonal imbalance disrupts ovulation. Menstrual problems like heavy bleeding or irregular periods are common symptoms. You may also miss your monthly periods entirely for several months.
If you’re already pregnant, the dangers are very real. Hormonal imbalances disrupt the healthy growth and brain development of your baby. Heart failure due to a fast heart rate or an enlarged thyroid causing breathing difficulties is common in newborns. For mothers, you can deliver prematurely or develop preeclampsia or anemia. You can also miscarry or have a stillborn baby.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Thyroid Disorders
See your doctor to get recommendations on how to treat hypothyroidism. Even if you know you need to get thyroid nodules treatments, you must first get a clear diagnosis from a medical professional. Your Brooklyn doctor conducts a thorough physical examination, including your neck for signs of a goiter or nodule.
Other diagnostic tests are available if your doctor needs them to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other causes. These tests include:
- Blood tests
- Radioactive iodine uptake test
- A sonogram of your thyroid
- A thyroid scan to spot hot, warm or cold nodules
- A thyroid fine needle biopsy
Your doctor may recommend medication to treat hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism requires a variety of treatments, such as radioactive iodine or drugs to block hormone production. In extreme circumstances, surgery is the best option, but it’s rare. To find out if your thyroid gland is causing your current symptoms, contact your Downtown Brooklyn practitioner at Century Medical and Dental Center at one of three locations in Brooklyn.