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Thyroid disorders are common disorders of the thyroid gland. Thyroid disorders include such diseases and conditions as Graves' disease, thyroid nodules, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, trauma to the thyroid, thyroid cancer and birth defects. These include being born with a defective thyroid gland or without a thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland is located in the front part of the neck, and the thyroid hormone it produces is vital to normal metabolism. Thyroid disorders can cause the thyroid gland to become overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). Thyroid disorders are most often due to autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
The most common thyroid disorders that result in hyperthyroidism include thyroid nodules and Graves' disease. These thyroid disorders lead to overstimulation of the thyroid gland and increased production of thyroid hormone. Increased production of thyroid hormone in these thyroid disorder results in a stimulation or quickening of the body's metabolism and symptoms, such as nervousness, anxiety and hypertension.
Thyroid disorders that result in hypothyroidism include Hashimoto's thyroiditis and birth defects of the thyroid gland. These thyroid disorders result in decreased production or a total lack of production of thyroid hormone. These thyroid disorders result in a slowing of the body's chemical processes and metabolism and symptoms, such as weight gain, fatigue and depression.
Thyroid disorders may also lead to serious, potentially life-threatening complications. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of thyroid disorders.
Thyroid disorders are more common in women than in men. Hashimoto's thyroiditis occurs most often in females between the ages of 30 and 50 years and appears to have a genetic component because it can run in families. People over the age of fifty who have hypertension or atherosclerosis are at risk for hyperthyroidism.
Making a diagnosis of thyroid disorders begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. A physician or health care provider may feel a smaller or larger than normal thyroid gland in the neck upon exam.
A blood test is performed to determine levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the thyroid hormone thyroxine. High levels of TSH and low levels of thyroxine reveal that the thyroid gland is underactive. This may indicate a diagnosis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis or other diseases or conditions that cause hypothyroidism.
Other tests may be performed to check for potential complications of thyroid disorders, such as heart disease. These can include blood tests that can reveal hypercholesterolemia, increased liver enzymes, or anemia. A chest X-ray may be done to evaluate the size of the heart.
It is possible that a diagnosis of thyroid disorders can be missed or delayed because early symptoms can be mild or assumed to be associated with other conditions, such as excessive caffeine use, angina, aging or stress. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of thyroid disorders.
A diagnosis of a thyroid disorder may be delayed or missed because some symptoms, such as nervousness, irritability fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches and weakness can be ambiguous and/or mild. These symptoms can be easily attributed to other conditions, such as excessive coffee drinking, aging, stress, excessive exercise, lack of exercise, perimenopause, cold ...more misdiagnosis »
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There is usually no way to prevent thyroid disorders. However, with recognition and treatment, low levels or high levels of thyroid hormone can be returned to normal levels in the body. Treatments vary depending on the type of thyroid disorder, a patient's age and medical history and individual factors.
Review further information on Thyroid disease Treatments.
When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Thyroid disease as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Thyroid disease may include these symptoms:
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This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Thyroid disease. Of the 18 causes of Thyroid disease that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Thyroid disease' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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The following list of medical conditions have Thyroid disease or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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Medical Conditions associated with Thyroid disease:
Symptoms related to Thyroid disease:
Hypothyroidism (106 causes), Hyperthyroidism (41 causes), Goiter (77 causes), Graves disease (10 causes), Myxedema, Cretinism, Autoimmune thyroiditis, Multinodular goiter, De Quervain's thyroiditis, Papillary carcinoma, Medullary carcinoma
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