Understanding Your Thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, located in the front/lower portion of the neck, which produces hormones that manage the speed of your metabolism and are essential for the function of every cell in your body. When a thyroid disorder occurs, your thyroid gland can become overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism) due to the disruption on the production of thyroid hormones. When this occurs, you may experience a range of symptoms:
- Unexplained Change in Weight
- Swelling or Enlargement in the Neck
- Changes in Heart Rate
- Changes in Energy or Mood
- Hair Loss
- Feeling Too Hot or Cold
For more information on Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism, please click here to access St. Francis' Health Library.
Getting the right treatment is crucial. Women at any age are more commonly affected by thyroid disorders, however, everyone should be screened for thyroid dysfunction on a yearly basis with a simple TSH level. If you notice any symptoms, see a doctor promptly in order to avoid serious health complications. If you are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, you may be prescribed thyroid replacement (in the form of a pill) to treat Hypothyroidism and antithyroid medication to control Hyperthyroidism. Surgery may also be recommended for patients with concerning thyroid nodules.
"More often than not, symptoms of a thyroid disorder appear gradually over time or not at all, which makes it hard to diagnose at times," according to Christopher Sonnier, MD of Millennium Endocrinology. "However, when properly diagnosed and treated, all thyroid disorders can be managed effectively."
If you suspect that you may have a thyroid problem, St. Francis now has an endocrinologist on staff. Ask your primary care physician for a referral to Dr. Sonnier at Millennium Endocrinology. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 864-365-0140.