Thyroid Problems – Are They Serious?
Different types of thyroid problems
Thyroidal illness is a broad medical category that includes both structural problems such as thyroid nodules and hormonal illnesses such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Is it serious?
Thyroid nodules, commonly called “goiters,” are very common but can contain thyroid cancer and should be worked up. Thyroid nodules can be seen as a generalized enlargement of the lower front of the neck or as a mass in this area, but nodules are not always visible to the eye. Thyroid cancer is not usually aggressive but if present and untreated it can be progressive, placing an individual at serious risk. Fortunately, the workup and treatment is straightforward, and in the hands of a good care team, it can be dealt with and usually cured.
How do I know if I have a disorder of thyroid function?
Abnormalities of thyroid function can cause a wide range of symptoms ranging from fatigue and weight gain in the case of hypothyroidism, to heat intolerance, anxiety, and palpitations with hyperthyroidism.
Normalization of thyroid hormone levels with treatment is important for preservation of good health, avoidance of complications and resolution of these symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your thyroid.
Dr. Matthew Shlapack is an endocrinologist (a physician specialist who treats diseases and illnesses involving the endocrine system – thyroid, hormones, metabolism, diabetes, etc.).