Thyroid disorders affect more than 12% of adults, but women have a higher chance of developing them when compared to men. At Fort Wayne Endocrinology, Ashok Kadambi, MD, Desiree Heim, NP-C, and Crystal Webb, NP-C, have extensive experience diagnosing and treating all thyroid disorders, eliminating the hormone imbalances that affect your health and well-being. Seeking early treatment helps you avoid complications such as heart disease, infertility, and high cholesterol. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Fort Wayne, Indiana, or use the online booking feature today.
Your thyroid gland produces three vital hormones. One of them supports your bone health by regulating calcium levels. The other two, referred to as thyroid hormones, regulate every system in your body, from your metabolism and heart rate to your body weight and muscle mass.
Several disorders can affect your thyroid gland and disrupt hormone production, including:
Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive gland that doesn't produce enough hormones. The most common causes of hypothyroidism include Hashimoto's disease (an autoimmune disorder), a reaction to hyperthyroidism treatment, and surgery to remove part or all of the gland.
This condition develops when the gland is overactive and produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder), toxic thyroid nodules, and thyroiditis.
Thyroid nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps in the gland. Most nodules are benign (not cancerous), but they can get large enough to interfere with swallowing or breathing. In some cases, thyroid nodules become toxic, which means they produce thyroid hormones.
A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland. Some goiters may produce hormones, causing hyperthyroidism. Thyroid nodules, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism can all cause a goiter.
You may be able to see or feel a nodule, depending on how large it becomes. Most goiters get large enough to cause noticeable swelling at the base of your neck. Otherwise, the symptoms you experience come from high or low levels of thyroid hormones.
If you have hypothyroidism, you experience symptoms such as:
If you develop hyperthyroidism, you have one or more of the following:
These lists aren't comprehensive because thyroid hormones, whether high or low, affect many parts of your body.
Though each person receives customized treatment, hypothyroidism typically requires hormone replacement therapy to restore normal hormone levels. If you have hyperthyroidism, your provider may prescribe medications that shrink the gland or reduce hormone production.
Thyroid nodules and goiters may not need treatment if they're small, aren't producing hormones, and don't cause symptoms. When they get too large, affect breathing or swallowing, or cause hyperthyroidism, your provider may recommend surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland.
If you develop symptoms of a thyroid disorder, call Fort Wayne Endocrinology or book an appointment online today.