Understanding Common Thyroid Diseases: Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
Did you know that thyroid disorders can affect heart rate, mood, energy level, metabolism, bone health, pregnancy, and many other functions? Problems with the thyroid include a variety of disorders that can result in the gland producing too little thyroid hormone or too much. Some thyroid issues are due to the body’s immune system attacking the thyroid gland. While there are several types of thyroid diseases, there is treatment for this disorder that can be successful and return a person’s quality of life.
Monika Thoppil, MD, Internist at South Central Internal Medicine, explains thyroid disease. “The thyroid gland is located in your neck and is shaped like a butterfly. This gland serves the purpose of metabolism. Metabolism affects many parts of your body, including your skin, energy levels, hair, heart rate, blood pressure, and other areas. When your thyroid does not work properly it can over-produce (hyperthyroidism) or under-produce (hypothyroidism) the thyroid hormone.”
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include weight loss, muscle weakness, vision problems, irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty sleeping, increased anxiety, or an enlarged thyroid gland.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include fatigue, weight gain, frequent and heavy menstrual periods, hair loss, intolerance to cold temperatures, and experiencing forgetfulness.
Dr. Thoppil states that diagnosis of either disorder is offered by medical providers. “To diagnose, we are able to perform blood tests, physical exams, and imaging tests. We will check levels from your thyroid and how your brain is responding to those. From those results, we can create a treatment plan to restore a person’s quality of life and return thyroid hormone levels to normal.”
If a patient has hyperthyroidism, treatment options can include medications, radioactive iodine, or surgery. After evaluation and treatment, if a medical provider determines that a thyroid should be removed there are different surgical options – an incision in your armpit or an incision on the front of your neck. The thyroid can be partially or fully removed during surgery. For treatment of hypothyroidism, the main treatment option is thyroid replacement medication.
“Overall, a patient’s wellbeing is the most common benefit for receiving treatment of thyroid disease,” said Dr. Thoppil. “Energy levels improve and people begin to sleep better. When those conditions improve, we find the majority of patients are much happier. The great thing about treating the disease is that when you are able to regulate the hormones, you see how it changes a person’s life and it is very rewarding to be a part of that.”
Thyroid disorders are very common; however, the symptoms are very non-specific. They can often present as other diseases. Dr. Thoppil states, “I encourage people to schedule an appointment with a medical provider if they are experiencing unexplained weight loss or gain, fatigue, hair loss, and dry skin.”
Dr. Thoppil is an internist at South Central Internal Medicine who provides comprehensive medical treatment for adults. Along with treatment for thyroid disease, the staff provides wellness prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chronic care patients. South Central Internal Medicine is accepting new patients. Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurance plans are accepted. South Central Internal Medicine is located inside of South Central Clinics at 1203 Jefferson Street in Laurel, directly across from SCRMC. For an appointment, call 601-649-2863.
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