Your thyroid is a small gland at the front of your throat that produces hormones responsible for a variety of bodily processes that affect your weight, energy levels, and sleep cycle. The team at Spring Valley Internal Medicine in Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland, evaluates your thyroid function and offers treatment for any thyroid conditions that could be causing weight gain, extreme fatigue, hair loss, or irregular periods. Call the office or schedule an appointment online to have your thyroid evaluated.
A butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your throat, the thyroid gland produces important hormones that regulate your metabolism, heart and digestive function, brain development, bone health, muscle control, and mood.
When the thyroid is healthy, it’s barely palpable at the front of your throat. But if it becomes enlarged, a doctor can detect it and any likely irregularity.
Common disorders of the thyroid gland usually involve its production of hormones. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed when you produce too little thyroid hormone and hyperthyroidism is diagnosed when you produce too much. You can also develop cancer of the thyroid gland.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition. Your immune system malfunctions and produces antibodies that attack the thyroid and cause it to decrease hormone production. Symptoms of Hashimoto’s and other forms of hypothyroidism include:
Hashimoto’s disease can be controlled with oral doses of supplemental thyroid hormone.
Hyperthyroidism is the overproduction of thyroid hormone and commonly results from an autoimmune condition known as Graves’ disease. When you have hyperthyroidism, your thyroid becomes enlarged and causes symptoms such as:
Anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine treatments are commonly prescribed if you have Graves’ disease. Although an uncommon treatment, surgery to remove the thyroid may be required.
When abnormal cells grow inside the thyroid gland and disrupt its function, you have thyroid cancer. Regular wellness exams usually catch this condition early enough for you to receive treatment and enter remission.
With thyroid cancer, you probably won’t notice symptoms on your own, but your provider can feel a lump or swelling at the gland when doing a comprehensive physical.
If your doctor suspects thyroid cancer, they refer you to a specialist who’s likely to recommend surgery and radioactive iodine treatments.
If you have symptoms that suggest a thyroid condition or are due for a wellness exam, call Spring Valley Internal Medicine or book an appointment using the online tool.