Nodules may also develop on or around the thyroid gland. In many cases, the presence of nodules does not indicate thyroid cancer. However, it is necessary to consult with an experienced endocrinologist to have nodules evaluated to rule this out.
Several years ago, the American College of Physicians recommended that all women over the age of 50 get thyroid testing once or more every 5 years. However, because Thyroid Disease can affect people of all ages, testing may take place far sooner than that.
The thyroid gland may become enlarged for a number of reasons. We often refer to this condition as a goiter. The presence of swelling does not necessarily indicate thyroid cancer, nor does it mean you have either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Either of those abnormalities may coincide with enlargement of the thyroid gland.
Generally, we do not associate enlargement with pain. However, the development of thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid gland, would be an exception. Swelling of the thyroid should be assessed by your endocrinologist.
Hyperthyroidism causes a wide range of symptoms that may be different for each patient. Many symptoms of hyperthyroidism are similar to those of other diseases. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:
• Weight loss.
• Rapid and irregular heartbeat.
• Nervousness or irritability.
• Increased appetite.
• Trembling hands and fingers.
• Frequent bowel movements.
• Swollen thyroid gland or goiter.
• Mood swings.
Hyperthyroidism caused by overproduction of thyroid hormones can be treated with antithyroid medications (methimazole and propylthiouracil), radioactive iodine ablation of the thyroid gland, or surgical thyroidectomy. Radioactive iodine ablation is the most widely used treatment in the United States. The choice of treatment depends on the underlying diagnosis, the presence of contraindications to a particular treatment modality, the severity of hyperthyroidism, and the patient’s preference.
The most important thing is to have a diagnosis based on blood tests, physical exam, and ultrasound of the thyroid; all of which we provide in our office.
A Thyroid Disease is often a life-long medical condition that you will need to manage constantly. This often involves daily medication. Your healthcare provider will monitor your treatments and make adjustments over time.
However, you can usually live a normal life with a Thyroid Disease. It may take some time to find the right treatment option for you and control your hormone levels, but then people with these types of conditions can usually live life without many restrictions