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Thyroid Disease

Thyroid Disease

If you think you are having thyroid problems or if you have already been diagnosed with thyroid problems Dr. Gulbis encourages you to schedule an appointment to help assist in your medical care.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid gland is a small organ that’s located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe (trachea). It’s shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.
When your thyroid doesn’t work properly, it can impact your entire body. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone, you can develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are serious and need to be treated by your healthcare provider.

What does the thyroid do?

Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body — releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your body’s systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.
The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones — T4 (thyroxine, contains four iodide atoms) and T3 (triiodothyronine, contains three iodide atoms). These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the body’s cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.
This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.

What common symptoms can happen with thyroid disease?

There are a variety of symptoms you could experience if you have a thyroid disease. Unfortunately, symptoms of a thyroid condition are often very similar to the signs of other medical conditions and stages of life. This can make it difficult to know if your symptoms are related to a thyroid issue or something else entirely.
For the most part, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups — those related to having too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and those related to having too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can include:

  • Having trouble sleeping.
  • Losing weight.
  • Having an enlarged thyroid gland or a goiter.
  • Having muscle weakness and tremors.
  • Experiencing irregular menstrual periods or having your menstrual cycle stop.
  • Feeling sensitive to heat.
  • Having vision problems or eye irritation.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can include:

  • Feeling tired (fatigue).
  • Gaining weight.
  • Experiencing forgetfulness.
  • Having frequent and heavy menstrual periods.
  • Having dry and coarse hair.
  • Having a hoarse voice.
  • Experiencing an intolerance to cold temperatures.
Can thyroid issues make me lose my hair?

Hair loss is a symptom of thyroid disease, particularly hypothyroidism. If you start to experience hair loss and are concerned about it, talk to your healthcare provider.

Can thyroid issues cause seizures?

In most cases, thyroid issues don’t cause seizures. However, if you have a very severe cases of hypothyroidism that hasn’t been diagnosed or treated, your risk of developing low serum sodium goes up. This could lead to seizures.

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