A Comprehensive Guide to Thyroid Disease: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

January 3, 2023

Elderly woman getting evaluated for a thyroid disorder at AFC Urgent Care Rocky Hill

Thyroid disease is a common, yet often overlooked condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it may not always be easy to recognize the symptoms, it’s important to be aware of the causes and treatments for thyroid disease. 

A healthy thyroid is essential for many bodily functions, and a lot of potential health problems can arise when something goes wrong. An imbalance of these systems can be a real threat to your overall health. AFC Urgent Care Rocky Hill is here to help inform you this Thyroid Disease Awareness month with a guide on symptoms, treatment and prevention.

What is Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid disease is caused by an imbalance in your body’s production of thyroid hormones. The two main thyroid hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating how much of these hormones are produced. 

This is done by taking in factors such as stress, diet and environment and adjusting hormone production accordingly. In some cases, you may develop an autoimmune reaction, which can cause the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. As a result, hormone production will either slow down or speed up, leading to an imbalance in thyroid hormone levels and thyroid disease.

What Are The Different Types Of Thyroid Disease?

There are Two Ways a Thyroid Can Be Functioning Poorly: People with Thyroid disease are either Hyperthyroid, or Hypothyroid. 

Hypothyroidism:

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. 

Hyperthyroidism:

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.

Thyroid disease may lead to the following disorders: 

Hashimoto’s disease - This is an autoimmune disorder that can lead to hypothyroidism. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, reducing the amount of thyroid hormones available in the body.

Thyroiditis - This is an inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can lead to hypothyroidism. It is often caused by an infection or a reaction to an infection, such as pneumonia.

Hyperthyroidism - This occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms such as weight loss, increased heart rate and irritability.

Thyroid nodules - These are lumps or growths on the thyroid gland that may be benign or cancerous. 

Goiter - This is an enlarged thyroid gland. It is usually caused by too little iodine in your diet. 

Autoimmune thyroid disease - This occurs when the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to become underactive.

Graves Disease- Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks healthy tissue in your thyroid gland for unknown reasons. It’s the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone.

 

You Might Not Notice The Symptoms Of Thyroid Disease

Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, sensitivity to heat and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can be caused by many different factors, so if you experience them, you shouldn’t automatically assume you have a thyroid condition. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. These could be symptoms of a thyroid condition

  • Increase in heart rate or shortness of breath 
  • Rapid or abnormal heartbeat
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Feeling hyperactive or restless
  • Feeling anxious or irritable
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling hot all the time
  • Unusual sensitivity to cold
  • Weight loss or unexplained weight gain - Changes in bowel habits
  • Changes in menstruation
  • Dry, brittle hair or hair loss
  • Changes in skin, including skin texture or color

 

Is There A Test For Thyroid Disease?

If you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s important to get tested for thyroid disease. A doctor can perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history to rule out other conditions.

They may also order blood tests to check hormone levels and look for signs of an autoimmune condition. AFC Urgent Care Rocky Hill offers blood tests to check your thyroid hormone. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid disease, you can follow up with a specialist to run additional tests to find the exact cause of your condition and the proper treatment options. Oftentimes, a specialist may perform an ultrasound or a biopsy of your thyroid to rule out the presence of thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer. In some cases, they may also run a thyroid function test to find out your thyroid hormone levels and identify the appropriate treatment.

 

Get Your Thyroid Checked At AFC Urgent Care Rocky Hill

Thyroid disease is a common condition that affects millions of people each year. While the condition can be mild and treated with lifestyle changes and medication, in some cases, it can be life-threatening and require surgery. 


We don’t want you to get to that point! With routine checkups and bloodwork, you can easily prevent or get an early diagnosis here at AFC Urgent Care Rocky Hill. Our doors are open 7 days a week and we take in walk-ins as well as appointments!

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