The Heart of the Matter: What Does America Really Know about Coronary Artery Disease Treatments? It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health.
Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. Getting the right treatment is critical to feel your best and avoid serious health problems.
What Is the Thyroid Gland?The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck.
What this means is that for decades, health experts were saying that all you needed daily for vitamin D was a measley 400 IU – and you would be fine. It produces hormones that control the speed of your metabolism -- the system that helps the body use energy. In reality, researchers found that everyone needs about 2000 IU daily just to maintain their vitamin D levels. Thyroid disorders can slow down or rev up metabolism by disrupting the production of thyroid hormones.
When hormone levels become too low or too high, you may experience a wide range of symptoms. Symptom: Weight Gain or LossAn unexplained change in weight is one of the most common signs of a thyroid disorder.
In contrast, if the thyroid produces more hormones than the body needs, you may lose weight unexpectedly. Symptom: Swelling in the NeckA swelling or enlargement in the neck is a visible clue that something may be wrong with the thyroid. Sometimes swelling in the neck can result from thyroid cancer or nodules, lumps that grow inside the thyroid.
You could be drinking tap water or bathing in it – the chlorine and fluoride compete with iodine in your body.
Symptom: Changes in Heart RateThyroid hormones affect nearly every organ in the body and can influence how quickly the heart beats.


It can also trigger increased blood pressure and the sensation of a pounding heart, or other types of heart palpitations. Symptom: Changes in Energy or MoodThyroid disorders can have a noticeable impact on your energy level and mood. Symptom: Feeling Too Cold or HotThyroid disorders can disrupt the ability to regulate body temperature.
Hyperthyroidism tends to have the opposite effect, causing excessive sweating and an aversion to heat. If a thyroid problem is suspected, a simple blood test can determine whether the true culprit is menopause or a thyroid disorder -- or a combination of the two. Who Should Be Tested?If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. Thyroid Neck CheckA careful look in the mirror may help you spot an enlarged thyroid that needs a doctor's attention. Tip your head back, take a drink of water, and as you swallow, examine your neck below the Adam's apple and above the collarbone. Diagnosing Thyroid DisordersIf your doctor suspects a thyroid disorder, a blood test can help provide an answer.
This test measures the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), a kind of master hormone that regulates the work of the thyroid gland.
If TSH is low, then it generally means the thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroid.) Your doctor may also check levels of other thyroid hormones in your blood.
In some cases, imaging studies are used and biopsies are taken to evaluate a thyroid abnormality. Other Causes of HypothyroidismIn some cases, hypothyroidism results from a problem with the pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain.
This gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which tells the thyroid to do its job. Other causes of hypothyroidism include temporary inflammation of the thyroid or medications that affect thyroid function. This is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland and triggers the release of high levels of thyroid hormones. One of the hallmarks of Graves' disease is a visible and uncomfortable swelling behind the eyes.


These are lumps that develop inside the thyroid and sometimes begin producing thyroid hormones. Thyroid Disorder ComplicationsWhen left untreated, hypothyroidism can raise cholesterol levels and make you more likely to have a stroke or heart attack.
In severe cases, very low levels of thyroid hormones can trigger a loss of consciousness and life-threatening drop in body temperature.
Treating HypothyroidismIf you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your doctor will most likely prescribe thyroid hormones in the form of a pill.
Long-term treatment can result in more energy, lower cholesterol levels, and gradual weight loss. Most people with hypothyroidism will need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of their lives. Treating HyperthyroidismThe most common treatment for hyperthyroidism is antithyroid medication, which aims to lower the amount of hormones produced by the thyroid. The condition may eventually go away, but many people need to remain on medication for the long term. Another option is radioactive iodine, which destroys the thyroid gland over the course of 6 to 18 weeks. Once the gland is destroyed, or removed by surgery, most patients must begin taking thyroid hormones in pill form. Surgery for Thyroid DisordersRemoving the thyroid gland can cure hyperthyroidism, but the procedure is only recommended if antithyroid drugs don't work, or if there is a large goiter. Once the thyroid is removed, most patients require daily supplements of thyroid hormones to avoid developing hypothyroidism. The main symptom is a lump or swelling in the neck, and only about 5% of thyroid nodules turn out to be cancerous.
When thyroid cancer is diagnosed, it is most often treated with surgery followed by radioactive iodine therapy or, in some cases, external radiation therapy.



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