Thyroid trouble affects nearly 20 million Americans and causes a range of problems that include extreme changes in your weight, energy, digestion, and mood. To have your thyroid tested to ensure it’s working correctly, or for help with your thyroid issues, call or make an appointment online today with the doctors at Kidney Diseases, Hypertension, & Primary Care of Virginia, LLC in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia.
Thyroid Q & A
Where is your thyroid?
The small butterfly-shaped gland located below the skin and muscles at the front of your neck, in the same location where a bow tie rests, is your thyroid. Your pituitary gland controls your thyroid, which produces hormones that regulate how your body uses energy.
Your thyroid function affects every organ and tissue in your body, as well as how fast your heart beats and how quickly your body burns calories.
What are common thyroid problems?
Several issues result when your thyroid makes too much or not enough hormones. The most common conditions include:
Hyperthyroidism is also called overactive thyroid and occurs when your thyroid hormone levels are too high.
Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and results from your immune system attacking your thyroid, causing it to make too much thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid hormone levels are too low.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. This results from your immune system attacking and causing damage to your thyroid, keeping your thyroid from making enough hormones.
Thyroid cancer, nodules — which are lumps in your thyroid gland — and swelling of the thyroid known as thyroiditis cause similar metabolic issues.
How are thyroid problems diagnosed?
To diagnose thyroid diseases, the doctors at Kidney Diseases, Hypertension, & Primary Care review your medical history and conduct a physical exam. They also do thyroid tests which include:
- TSH: Measures your thyroid-stimulating hormone and is the most accurate measure of thyroid activity
- T3 and T4: Measure two different thyroid hormones
- TSI: Measures your thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin
- Antithyroid Antibody: Measures thyroid markers in your blood
How are thyroid problems treated?
Thyroid diseases are life-long conditions. However, with careful management, you can live a normal, healthy life. Regardless of what thyroid issue you get diagnosed with, the goal is to restore your normal blood levels of thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease most often get treated with a synthetic hormone tablet and careful monitoring.
Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease tend to be more challenging to treat and range from drug therapy to block hormone production, radioactive iodine treatment to disable your thyroid, or thyroid surgery to remove part or all of your thyroid gland. Once iodine or surgery damages your thyroid, synthetic hormones are prescribed.
The doctors at Kidney Diseases, Hypertension, & Primary Care in Arlington, Virginia, help diagnose and effectively treat thyroid issues. Call or make an appointment online today.