The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front of the neck. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are diagnosed with a Thyroid condition. Thyroid disease is a common endocrine disorder, and can cause a wide range of symptoms, from fatigue and weight gain to depression and anxiety. Being educated on Thyroid Disease will help you better understand the cause, symptoms, and treatments available.
You may be at a higher risk of developing a thyroid condition if you:
- Take a medication that’s high in iodine (amiodarone).
- Are older than 60, especially in women.
- Have had treatment for a past thyroid condition or cancer (thyroidectomy or radiation).
AFC Urgent Care Marlborough understands your concern for developing thyroid disease. For this reason, we offer routine checkups and blood work to help you stay informed about your overall health. We also created this guide around thyroid disease so you can understand the causes, symptoms, and testing options.
Two Categories of Thyroid Disease
With hypothyroidism your thyroid gland can’t make enough hormones to function well.. In hypothyroidism, the gland’s hormone production slows. This, in turn, slows your metabolism, which can lead to weight gain and other symptoms.
As its name suggests, hyperthyroidism occurs when your body makes too much of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and becomes overactive. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may experience a fast heartbeat, increased appetite, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, or sudden weight loss.
A thyroid condition occurs when the Thyroid gland produces too much of its hormones or if the gland produces too little of its hormones.
Conditions that can cause hypothyroidism include:
- Thyroiditis: This condition is an inflammation (swelling) of the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis can lower the amount of hormones your thyroid produces.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: A painless disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where the body’s cells attack and damage the thyroid. This is an inherited condition.
- Postpartum Thyroiditis: This condition occurs in 5% to 9% of women after childbirth. It’s usually a temporary condition.
- Iodine deficiency: Iodine is used by the thyroid to produce hormones. An iodine deficiency is an issue that affects several million people around the world..
- A non-functioning thyroid gland: Sometimes, the thyroid gland doesn’t work correctly from birth. This affects about 1 in 4,000 newborns. If left untreated, the child could have both physical and mental issues in the future. All newborns are given a screening blood test in the hospital to check their thyroid function.
Conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism include:
- Grave’s disease In this condition the entire thyroid gland might be overactive and produce too much hormone. This problem is also called diffuse toxic goiter (enlarged thyroid gland).
- Nodules Hyperthyroidism can be caused by nodules that are overactive within the thyroid. A single nodule is called a toxic autonomously functioning thyroid nodule, while a gland with several nodules is called a toxic multinodular goiter.
- Thyroiditis: This disorder can be either painful or not felt at all. In thyroiditis, the thyroid releases hormones that were stored there. This can last for a few weeks or months.
- Excessive iodine: When you have too much iodine (the mineral that is used to make thyroid hormones) in your body, the thyroid makes more thyroid hormones than it needs. Excessive iodine can be found in some medications (amiodarone, a heart medication) and cough syrups.
What Symptoms Should I Look Out for?
Thyroid Disease symptoms can be different and very common. Symptoms can vary depending if the thyroid gland is overproducing or underproducing its hormones.
Underproducing symptoms (Hypothyroidism)
- Having muscle weakness and tremors.
- Experiencing irregular menstrual periods or having your menstrual cycle stop.
- Feeling sensitive to heat.
- Having vision problems or eye irritation.
- Having trouble sleeping
Overproducing symptoms (Hyperthyroidism)
- Having dry and coarse hair.
- Having a hoarse voice.
- Experiencing an intolerance to cold temperatures.
- Feeling fatigue
- Gaining weight
If you experience any of the symptoms above, it’s advisable to seek help from a medical professional.
Getting a medical diagnosis for thyroid disease
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please seek medical attention. Thyroid symptoms can easily be passed as ordinary symptoms to other conditions. Our doctors at AFC Urgent Care Marlborough can check your thyroid gland in a few ways.
- Blood work can be done to determine the hormone levels
- Your medical history can be brought up to eliminate any other potential condition
- Physical examination (which is painless) can check if there is any abnormality in size or if there is any growth
Managing Thyroid Disease
For the most part, Thyroid disease will not interrupt a normal lifestyle. Exercising is advisable and a Thyroid condition will not impact any exercise routine. It’s important to know how to manage the condition and to be aware of some of the changes you may have to do to maintain the normality of your life.
Get Tested For Thyroid Disease At AFC Urgent Care Marlborough
Why wait for an appointment with your primary care when you can see us at AFC Urgent Care Marlborough any day of the week! Our medical providers are ready to treat you and test you for thyroid disease. All it takes is a full checkup and blood work to get you the results you need.
Our doors are open 7 days a week and we take in walk-ins as well as appointments. Always here for our families and friends in the Marlborough communities.