Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid is a gland that produces important hormones. Sometimes, the thyroid can produce too little or too much of these hormones, a condition that can lead to a variety of more serious issues in time, if left untreated. Fortunately, Alpha Family Medicine Inc. offers testing and treatment for all the most common thyroid conditions at their practice in Alpharetta, Georgia. For more information or to set up an appointment, call the office today, or use the online scheduling tool.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland isn’t producing all the hormones it should. Most of the time, the early stages of hypothyroidism have no symptoms, but accurate tests are available to detect it. If left untreated, it can lead to a number of long-term health problems, like infertility, heart disease, obesity, and chronic joint pain.
Signs of hypothyroidism include:
Many people don’t notice any symptoms or assume they are just the effects of aging until their hypothyroidism is quite advanced. Because of this, it’s important to get tested for hypothyroidism.
To offset the production of the thyroid, you’ll have to take a synthetic hormone. Getting the dosage right may take some time since the appropriate levels differ from person-to-person. You should start feeling better quickly once you have the right dose, and with correct use, your medication should eliminate the effects of your hormone deficiency.
Hyperthyroidism is the opposite of hypothyroidism, wherein the thyroid produces too much of certain hormones. This can accelerate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss and irregular heartbeat in the short term, and a variety of health conditions long-term.
Hyperthyroidism can be difficult to recognize because it can mimic other health problems, and it has a wide variety of symptoms, including:
Older adults with hyperthyroidism are especially difficult to diagnose as they often experience the least apparent symptoms.
Much like hypothyroidism, you’ll need to get your hormones back within a normal range. A variety of medications will help do this, and your doctor will likely also suggest some lifestyle changes to help your symptoms as well, like avoiding iodine, found in some kinds of seaweed, cough syrups, and multivitamins.
Sometimes, your body can confuse your thyroid for something dangerous and send antibodies to attack it. This inflames the thyroid, resulting in a condition called autoimmune thyroiditis, which can damage the thyroid’s ability to function and lead to hypothyroidism.
Most people with thyroiditis experience either no symptoms or symptoms similar to hypothyroidism. Also like hypothyroidism, you’ll need to take a substitute for the hormones produced by a healthy thyroid, probably for the rest of your life. Luckily, with proper management, you should be able to live normally and suffer few effects to quality of life.
For more information on the treatment of common thyroid conditions, call the office, or make an appointment today.