Thyroid disease affects close to 60 million Americans, with a good number of them not knowing they have this disease. Most people do not know they have this disease because when someone suffers from a dysfunction of the thyroid, the symptoms vary so much that often times they more closely resemble other minor illnesses. For example, fatigue is a symptom of this disease, but this symptom could occur for many reasons. Thus, most people will not attribute fatigue symptoms to thyroid disease. For some dysfunctional thyroid sufferers these symptoms are minor, other more severe cases can lead to severe diseases, like thyroid cancer.
Thyroid malfunction affects nearly every part of a human body because the thyroid gland which produces the thyroid hormone, affects nearly all cell tissues. Because of this, thyroid hormone imbalance can cause either an over active thyroid as well as an under active thyroid.
Under active thyroid disease is commonly referred to as hypothyroidism while an overactive thyroid is commonly called hyperthyroidism. Regardless to which form someone has, either disease causes many painful symptoms and side effects for those afflicted.
Some symptoms of thyroid disease can include weight loss, weight gain, muscle weakness, warm moist skin, menstrual changes, insomnia, fatigue, depression, constipation, irritability as well as others. This condition encompasses so many different symptoms that look like other illnesses, all too often; it is not diagnosed right away. The biggest exception is when the patient exhibits goiter symptoms. A goiter is a common symptom of thyroid dysfunction and is easy to diagnose because the thyroid gland is larger than normal. Patients with goiter symptoms may experience difficulty swallowing or breathing problems, which occur when the goiter presses on the esophagus or trachea.
Once a medical provider suspects that the symptoms are due to thyroid dysfunction they will perform the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) lab test to diagnose the problem. Depending on the test results the doctor may suggest that the patient see an endocrinologist for further treatment or perform other testing. Some treatments commonly used to treat this condition include prescription such as levothyroxine and in severe case thyroid surgery.
The best way to deal with any symptoms that linger for a while that you suspect might be due to over active thyroid or underactive thyroid disease is to see your medical provider and have your physician rule out thyroid disease. Do not ignore your body telling you there is something wrong.
About the Author
Dr. Jonathan Berns, D.C. helps people everyday in the Tampa, Florida area overcome the very misunderstood and often mistreated conditions caused from dysfunctional thyroids. Visit Tampa Thyroid Program at Integrative Health of Tampa to learn more about thyroid management.