The American Thyroid Association research predicts that about 12% of Americans develop thyroid issues at some point in their lives. Fortunately, you can manage these symptoms and improve your quality of life with the help of a professional. Dr. Chavez has years of experience providing comprehensive care for patients with thyroid imbalances Bastrop. Here is what you need to know about thyroid imbalances.
The difference between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
Thyroid imbalances occur when your thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck, does not produce enough or produces too much thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate metabolism and affect many bodily functions. Common thyroid imbalances include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, goiter thyroiditis, and thyroid nodules. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are both conditions that affect the thyroid gland and its hormone production. However, they have different causes and symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism manifests when your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This disorder can be due to conditions such as Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the thyroid gland to become overactive, or a benign tumor on your thyroid. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include rapid heartbeat, anxiety, tremors, and difficulty sleeping. On the other hand, hypothyroidism manifests when your thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone, which can be due to conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or previous treatment for hyperthyroidism.
Your doctor can diagnose hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism through blood tests that measure levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Treatment for both conditions typically involves taking synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication and regularly monitoring hormone levels. Your provider can also treat hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine, which destroys the thyroid gland, or surgery to remove part or all of the gland.
Available treatments for thyroid imbalances
Dr. Chavez assesses your thyroid function during your appointment and discusses your symptoms. Your provider may suggest conservative approaches before recommending advanced treatment options like surgery.
Dr. Chavez may recommend hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism with a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) called levothyroxine. Your provider may need to adjust the dosage periodically based on blood tests that measure levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). You may need to take the medication for the rest of your life.
For hyperthyroidism, treatment options may include:
- Antithyroid medication: These medications, such as methimazole (Tapazole) and propylthiouracil (PTU), help slow down thyroid hormone production.
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment involves taking a small amount of radioactive iodine, which destroys the thyroid cells producing hormones.
- Surgery: Surgery to cut off all or part of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy) may be recommended if other treatments are ineffective or if the person has a large goiter.
- Beta-blockers: These medications, such as propranolol, help to control some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as rapid heartbeat and tremors.
Treatment for goiter and thyroid nodules typically relies on the underlying cause and size of the nodules. In some cases, observation and monitoring may be sufficient, while surgery or radioactive iodine treatment may be the best option in others. Thyroiditis treatment typically involves medication to reduce inflammation and pain, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids. In some cases, thyroid hormone replacement therapy may be necessary.
Call Dr. Chavez or book an appointment online if you suspect you have thyroid imbalances.