Specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of...
Thyroid disorders refer to a group of conditions that affect the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate various bodily functions, including metabolism, growth, and development. At Aspen Integrative Medical Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, Paul Despres, NMD, Alexandra Mele, ND, and Amber Belt, ND, specialize in the diagnosis and management of thyroid disorders. To learn more about thyroid healing at Aspen Integrative Medical Center, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
What are thyroid disorders?
There are several types of thyroid disorders, including:
- Hypothyroidism: This occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, and depression.
- Hyperthyroidism: This condition is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Symptoms may include weight loss, increased appetite, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, irritability, heat intolerance, and trembling hands.
- Thyroid nodules: These are lumps or growths that develop within the thyroid gland. While most thyroid nodules are benign (non-cancerous), some can be cancerous. Thyroid nodules may cause symptoms such as a visible lump in the neck, difficulty swallowing, or voice changes.
- Thyroiditis: This refers to inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can be caused by various factors, including viral infections or autoimmune diseases. Thyroiditis can cause temporary hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid cancer: Although relatively rare, thyroid cancer can occur. It typically presents as a lump or nodule in the thyroid gland and may require surgical intervention.
What is autoimmune thyroiditis?
Autoimmune thyroiditis is when you have auto-antibodies causing thyroid disease. There are three major types of antibodies:
- anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies
- anti-thyroglobulin antibodies
- thyrotropin receptor antibodies
The presence of these antibodies implies autoimmune thyroid disease — a problem in which your body’s immune system incorrectly produces antibodies to its own, healthy tissue within the thyroid gland.
These antibodies then attack the thyroid tissue preventing it from functioning correctly.
How are thyroid disorders diagnosed?
Thyroid disorders can be diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, blood tests to measure hormone levels, imaging studies (such as ultrasound), and sometimes a biopsy to evaluate any suspicious nodules.
How are thyroid disorders treated?
Treatment for thyroid disorders depends on the specific condition. It may involve medication to regulate hormone levels, radioactive iodine therapy, surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland, or other interventions as deemed appropriate by a healthcare professional. Regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare provider are often necessary for ongoing management of thyroid disorders.