Thyroid Disorders

Managing Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer. The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Too much thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Insufficient hormone production leads to hypothyroidism.

Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated.

Common Types

Thyroid problems include:

Goiter - enlargement of the thyroid gland

Hyperthyroidism - when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs

Hypothyroidism - when your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid nodules - lumps in the thyroid gland

Thyroiditis - swelling of the thyroid

Treatment

To diagnose thyroid diseases, doctors use a medical history, physical exam, and thyroid tests. They sometimes also use a biopsy. Treatment depends on the problem, but may include medicines, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery.

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