Common Thyroid Problems and Related Conditions
Thyroid disorders are prevalent, especially in older patients. These disorders can cause a variety metabolic and physical changes. Endocrinologists treat them to prevent complications.
Abnormalities of the thyroid gland usually cause over- or underproduction of thyroid hormone, or abnormal growth of the gland itself (which leads to concern about cancer), or both. Age and family history are primary risk factors.
Signs of thyroid problems may be mild and ambiguous, because the symptoms can seem attributable to stress, age, lifestyle and other common factors. In addition, they are more likely to affect women and more likely to do so during times of hormonal change. For these reasons, the physical effect of thyroid conditions, and effects on vitality, can easily be misattributed to other life events or stages. Because of the autoimmune aspects of these conditions, they may also be more evident during times of stress.
Because thyroid conditions may not have clear signs and symptoms, especially in early stages, they are only properly diagnosed by blood tests, radiology tests and evaluation by an endocrinologist. In addition to tests for thyroid-hormone levels, the evaluating physician may order an ultrasound scan or a thyroid scan (in which a patient swallows a small amount of radioactive iodine and a special camera detects its concentration in the thyroid gland, revealing the gland's size and shape).
Learn more about the thyroid conditions treated by Lourdes endocrinologists and endocrine surgeons:
- thyroid conditions Involving hormone production
- conditions involving abnormal growth of the thyroid gland
- inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis)