The thyroid is an endocrine gland found in the lower neck, which secretes two important hormones. One of these hormones is responsible for the metabolism of the cells in the body. When too much of the hormone is secreted, it leads to a condition called "hyperthyroidism," which speeds the heart rate and impacts the gastrointestinal system.

When too little of the hormone is secreted by the thyroid, or "hypothyroidism," the body's systems slow down, causing a slowed heart rate and digestive system. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder, causing symptoms such as chronic tiredness, weight gain, depression, heightened sensitivity to cold, dry skin, pain and stiffness in joints, impaired memory, and others.

Diagnosing thyroid conditions at the Barranco Clinic

Various tests will be performed to evaluate the function of your thyroid gland. These include speaking with you about your symptoms, asking a set of questions, a full examination of your neck, and a blood test. A blood test can reveal the amount of hormones being secreted by your thyroid, and whether too little or too much is being produced and released into your system.

Treatment for thyroid disorders: How an ENT can help.

When the thyroid is not functioning as nature intended, it is often due to thyroid nodules. These are lumps that have formed on the gland, either solid or filled with fluid. An ENT can identify thyroid nodules and develop a treatment to resolve the symptoms.

Your condition is unique, and for some patients, waiting and watching, with frequent testing is the first step. For other patients, medication is prescribed to replace the hormones the gland is not producing. A non-cancerous thyroid nodule may require surgical removal. This could be necessary when the gland has grown too large and is now impacting healthy breathing or swallowing.

An ENT, or "ear, nose, and throat" specialist with at least five years of post-graduate training after becoming a medical doctor. These specialists are focused on conditions affecting the head and neck structures, including the thyroid gland.

Types of thyroid disorders

The thyroid gland can have one of several disorders, including:

  • Thyroid overgrowth: In some cases, the thyroid gland grows too large. The gland may then secrete more hormones than the body systems need, leading to hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroid cysts: Cysts can develop within the gland, which in some cases contain solid malignancies that must be surgically removed.
  • Thyroiditis: This is a chronic inflammation that leads to the enlargement of the nodules, and hypothyroidism.
  • Goiter: A "goiter" is an enlarged thyroid gland.
  • Thyroid cancers: A condition in which the gland develops cancer, more commonly appearing when the family has a history of this cancer, or the individual has had extensive exposure to radiation to the head and neck.
  • Hashimoto's Disease: This disease is when the body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland, resulting in an underactive gland that does not produce enough of the hormones the body needs (hypothyroidism) to function properly.

Contact the Barranco Clinic today if you have thyroid issues and are seeking expert diagnosis and treatment.

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