Thyroid Disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thyroid hormone regulates metabolism. 

  • Two main thyroid hormones are T3 and T4.

  • Thyroid disorders are common, and they include goiters (enlarged gland), hyperthyroidism (high function), and hypothyroidism (low function).Together, they affect up to 10% of the population. Hypothyroidism is more common and more problematic of these disorders. Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease is responsible for vast majority of cases of hypothyroidism. This topic does not include thyroid cancer which can occur with or without a normal functioning thyroid gland. 

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Depression

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Skin dryness

  • Swelling

  • Mental slowing 

  • Constipation

  • Cold intolerance

  • Menstrual irregularities (in women)

What are the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

  • Anxiety 

  • Sleep disorders

  • Weight loss (or gain in some situations)

  • Palpitations

  • Diarrhea

  • Heat intolerance

  • Menstrual problems (in women)

What lab tests should be performed to diagnose thyroid disease?

Basic labs include TSH and Free T4.

Advanced testing includes T3, T3 uptake, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies. In addition, several nutritional elements can be monitored as these affect thyroid metabolism. These include iodine, zinc, copper and selenium. 

In addition, all patients with thyroid disease should be tested for diabetes, lipid levels and polycystic ovary disease (in females) as there is a high correlation between thyroid disease and these disorders. 

What can happen if thyroid disease is left untreated? 

Short term complications include worsening of the symptoms and long term complications include faster than normal aging, cardiovascular problems and mental decline. 

How can I support my thyroid function?

In addition to taking thyroid medicine (if applicable), following can be done to monitor and support thyroid function. 

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