What are thyroid abnormalities?
Thyroid abnormalities occur when there is a problem with the body's ability to produce thyroid hormones. Two of the most common thyroid problems are hyperthyroidism, a condition caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormones, and hypothyroidism, a condition in which there is insufficient hormone production.
Hyperthyroidism can occur in several ways, including Graves' disease, toxic adenomas, subacute thyroiditis, and cancerous growths in the thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism can occur as a result of an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It can also develop after the thyroid gland has been removed.
What are the symptoms?
Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism include anxiety, fatigue, an enlarged thyroid, problems with sleep, skin and hair problems, and unexplained weight loss.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include constipation, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, sensitivity to cold, unexplained weight gain, slow heart rate and swelling in the thyroid gland.
How are they diagnosed?
Problems with the thyroid can be diagnosed with the use of blood tests. Dr Shaikh will perform these tests to measure the thyroid hormones in your blood, including those in the thyroid and thyroid-stimulating hormones released by the pituitary gland, which triggers the function of the thyroid.
In cases of hypothyroidism, thyroid-stimulating hormone levels are generally higher. In the case of hyperthyroidism, levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone are lower, while thyroid hormone levels are high.
In some cases, Dr Shaikh may recommend an iodine uptake test to determine the cause of hyperthyroidism. This type of test is used to determine the amount of iodine that is absorbed by the thyroid gland, and is performed with the use of a device that is worn around the neck.
In the case of nodules, Dr Shaikh may perform an ultrasound examination as well as a biopsy. The biopsy is a tissue sample that can be sent to a laboratory for further testing.
How can they be treated?
Treatment for hyperthyroidism may include prescribed medication or surgery. Hypothyroidism treatment generally involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy.