Internal Medicine & Family Medicine located in Fairfax, VA, South Riding, VA & Merrifield, VA
While it is a small organ, the thyroid gland is very important to many aspects of your health and well-being. Many problems can arise with your thyroid gland. Careful monitoring and treatment are important in these situations. The team of expert doctors and nurse practitioners at Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, are experienced at diagnosing and treating a wide range of thyroid disorders. Call or go online today to schedule your consultation to learn more about what they can do for you.
Thyroid Problems Q & A
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped organ that sits in the lower front part of your neck. Through the production of hormones, the thyroid gland affects everything from heart rate, metabolism rate, and skin maintenance, to physical growth, digestion, fertility, and heat production.
While we might take it for granted, it’s easy to see the importance of a well-functioning and healthy thyroid gland.
What problems can affect the thyroid gland?
Unfortunately, many problems can occur with the thyroid gland, ranging from small and harmless to very serious and life-threatening. These problems most often occur as a result of incorrect levels of thyroid hormone being produced.
Overproduction of thyroid hormone is called hyperthyroidism. Underproduction is called hypothyroidism. It’s important to properly diagnose which problem you’re experiencing in order to develop an appropriate treatment.
What causes hyperthyroidism?
As mentioned, hyperthyroidism is an overproduction of thyroid hormone. This overproduction can be caused by many factors, including:
- Graves disease
- Subacute thyroiditis
- Pituitary gland malfunctions
- Cancerous growths
- Toxic adenomas
Your appointment at Prima Medicine involves a thorough history and physical examination with the team of expert doctors and nurse practitioners to properly diagnose the exact cause of thyroid dysfunction.
What causes hypothyroidism?
While hyperthyroidism causes overproduction of thyroid hormone, hypothyroidism is a condition where not enough thyroid hormone is produced. This can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Previous removal of the thyroid gland
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis
- Exposure to excessive amounts of iodide
While hypothyroidism is bad news for anybody, it can cause devastating complications in newborns and infants. Low levels of thyroid hormone can slow mental and physical growth, leading to retardation and dwarfism.
How are thyroid problems diagnosed and treated?
Since there is such a wide range of potential causes of thyroid disorders, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis.
First, the team at Prima Medicine takes a thorough history of your medical situation, as well as any past problems that you might have had. In addition, they make a detailed physical exam. Certain tests, including blood tests and imaging tests such as ultrasounds, could be performed.
Once the cause of your thyroid disorder is determined, the team develops a detailed and unique plan of treatment. This varies depending on the reason for the dysfunction but can include medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes. What is important to know is that there are effective treatments for many thyroid conditions.
To learn more, call or go online today to schedule your consultation with the experts at Prima Medicine.
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