3 Important Facts About Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is a gland in your neck that emits hormones. It is shaped like a butterfly and regulates the metabolism rate throughout the body. Thyroid disease can occur at any time throughout your life. If you are diagnosed with any form of this disease, you can wear a medical information bracelet or necklace to alert medical professionals about this and other medical conditions.


1. Types of Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease can occur at any time from birth to old age. The most common types of thyroid disease are easily treatable. Even the most severe form, thyroid cancer, is usually curable.

The 2 most common forms of thyroid disease are:

  • Hypothyroidism – Underactive thyroid that does not produce enough thyroid hormone
  • Hyperthyroidism – Overactive thyroid that produces too much thyroid hormone

2. Symptoms of Thyroid Disease

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is usually diagnosed in women. Symptoms include hair loss, excessive tiredness, weight gain and other systems. Lack of iodine in the diet often caused this disease before it was added to salt in the 1920s.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is also more common in women than men. Symptoms include bulging eyes, rapid heartbeat, weight loss, shaking hands and other symptoms. Graves disease is normally the cause.

Thyroid cancer or thyroid nodules are not as common as the above diseases and usually present with a lump on the thyroid gland.

3. Treatment of Thyroid Disease

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is normally treated with synthetic thyroid medication. Levothyroxine, a generic form is one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States.

Contact your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms. A simple blood test can check the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels of T3 or T4 in your body. The T3 and T4 levels determine the type of treatment needed. Thyroid cancer is detected with an ultrasound or an iodine scan.