The thyroid gland and pituitary gland (which controls the thyroid gland) are the body’s most important glands. Hormones produced by the thyroid are involved in multiple organ functions and body processes.
For the body to operate at optimum levels, the thyroid gland must produce an exact amount of thyroid hormone. If too little or too much hormone is produced, the pituitary gland instructs the thyroid gland to adjust production accordingly.
If the thyroid gland is unable to adjust hormone production, thyroid problems occur. Hyperthyroidism is a disorder of excess thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism indicates too little hormone.
Either side of the threshold causes fairly dramatic symptoms. Any thyroid issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Identifying the cause of thyroid problems is critical to effective treatment. It is not enough to simply treat the symptoms. A dangerous issue like a tumor may go unnoticed. You may have thyroid cancer but won’t know it if the doctor does not provide a thorough examination.
Thyroid issues require immediate intervention. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and will order a number of tests including blood tests, ultrasound, radioiodine scanning and uptake. If a growth is attached to your thyroid, you will need a biopsy.
Keep this in mind — not all thyroid issues are serious. However, it is important to get a complete examination to determine the diagnosis and treatment.
Your test results will indicate whether lifestyle changes, medication or surgery is the best treatment.
For some people, stress and an unhealthy lifestyle are the cause of thyroid problems. You will receive counseling on changes that must be made. Hormone therapy is often prescribed to relieve symptoms, and may cause some side effects.
A benign nodule can be removed through surgery. A malignant tumor requires thyroid cancer treatment, which may include surgery (partial/ near-total thyroidectomy), radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, thyroid hormone therapy or targeted therapy. If aggressive treatment is necessary, side effects will occur, varying in severity.
Other thyroid conditions require medications including beta blockers, anti-thyroid medication, and radioactive iodine.
In very serious thyroid disorders, you may need to visit the doctor regularly to ensure the best control of your condition. In any case, the best practice is to have a thyroid function examination at least once a year.
To find out more about our Thyroid service, visit Dr. Schneiderman’s office located at 676 Route 202/206, North Bridgewater, NJ 08807, or book an appointment by calling us at (908) 725-5050.