How Do I Know if You Have a Thyroid Problem?
Do you ever have difficulty sleeping, feel like your heart is racing, your muscles are weak and that you’re acting nervous or irritable? What about feeling cold and tired, with a side of constipation and depression? If so, you should consult with the best ENT doctor in Houston as this may be caused by a possible thyroid problem.
Your thyroid is the butterfly shaped gland that sits in the lower front of the neck. This gland uses the iodine from your food to create two hormones that your body uses for energy, to stay warm and to keep the brain, heart, muscles and other organs working properly.
This seemingly simple gland can have quite the impact on your body if anything goes wrong. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid produces too many hormones. One type of hyperthyroidism is Grave’s Disease, which is caused by antibodies in the blood that tell the thyroid to grow and create too many hormones. Another type of hyperthyroidism is called toxic nodular, a nodule or lump within the thyroid grows too large, causing the thyroid to produce too many hormones.
In addition to difficulty sleeping and feelings of nervousness, too many hormones cause frequent bowel movements and weight loss. In order to diagnose hyperthyroidism your Houston otolaryngologists must order a blood test. If the test is positive, the ENT doctor will order a scan of your thyroid in order to have a reference point of its size in the future.
Antithyroid drugs are used to block the thyroid’s ability to create new hormones. Radioactive iodine can be used to destroy the hormones after they are created by the thyroid. In severe cases, surgery is needed to remove most of your thyroid and daily hormone supplements will be needed going forward.
Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism, those with this condition do not produce enough hormones. This will lead to a slowdown of your body, leading to you feeling colder and more tired. A blood test is the only way to diagnose hypothyroidism. In order to treat this thyroid disorder, daily hormone supplements are needed. To make sure you are taking the correct dose, you will have to have your hormone levels checked with a blood test every six to ten weeks.
Another common thyroid problem is a goiter, which is an abnormal enlargement of the gland. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiters worldwide. In the U.S., Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause. This is an autoimmune condition that involves the destruction of the thyroid by your own immune system. The destruction of the thyroid will lead to a decrease in hormones. The pituitary gland can sense the low levels of hormones and try to compensate; this compensation will cause the thyroid to grow.
A physical exam can diagnose the presence of a goiter, and a blood test can be used to determine the cause. Typically, once you figure out the cause of the goiter, it can be treated and no surgery is needed.
If you are experiencing any symptoms that could be associated with your thyroid, contact your Houston ENT doctor. They will help you determine the cause as well as the best treatment plan.