Hormones released by the thyroid gland influence every part of your body, so when there’s a problem with the gland, you can develop a wide range of symptoms. At Lonestar ENT, Allergy and Aesthetics in Palestine, Texas, Eric Hensen, DO, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating every type of thyroid problem. If you develop symptoms associated with a thyroid condition, use online booking or call the office to schedule a comprehensive thyroid exam.
The thyroid gland produces three hormones. One of them maintains strong bones by regulating calcium levels. The other two, collectively called thyroid hormones, regulate nearly every part of your body, including your:
Your body tightly controls your blood levels of thyroid hormones. When the levels go above or below the normal range, you develop health problems.
Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid, a condition that’s most often caused by an autoimmune disorder. The lack of thyroid hormones causes symptoms such as:
Untreated hypothyroidism also leads to high cholesterol and nerve damage.
Autoimmune disorders also typically cause hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive thyroid. The high levels of thyroid hormones result in symptoms such as:
Ongoing hyperthyroidism can cause thyroid nodules and osteoporosis.
After reviewing your medical history and performing a physical exam, Dr. Hensen orders blood tests to check your hormone levels. He may also order an ultrasound to check for nodules on your thyroid.
Hypothyroidism is treated with hormone replacement therapy to restore normal hormone levels. If you have hyperthyroidism, Dr. Hensen prescribes medications to shrink the size of the thyroid gland or reduce hormone production.
Thyroid nodules are usually benign (noncancerous), but Dr. Hensen uses a fine needle to withdraw a few cells and sends them to the lab to be sure the nodule doesn’t contain cancerous cells.
Treatment for a nodule depends on its size and if it produces hormones. Small, inactive nodules may not need treatment.
Dr. Hensen removes the nodule if it produces excessive hormones or gets large enough to affect swallowing. In the rare case of a cancerous nodule, he surgically removes part or all of the thyroid gland.
Though goiters develop in response to high levels of thyroid hormones, the gland can become enlarged for several reasons, including multiple nodules, hypothyroidism, cancer, and inflammation.
Your treatment begins by addressing the underlying problem. Dr. Hensen may recommend surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland when the goiter produces hormones or is uncomfortably large.
To get expert help for thyroid problems, call Lonestar ENT, Allergy and Aesthetics or schedule an appointment online.