Thyroid, Head & Neck Disorders
Until something goes wrong, most people ignore the thyroid.
Treatments for thyroid disorders are safe and effective.
Until something goes wrong, most people only know that the thyroid is a gland that produces hormones. What many people don’t know is that those hormones assist the heart, the brain, your digestion, bones, muscle control, and regulate your metabolism.
The thyroid even has an impact on your mood. Your anxiety and irritability could be caused by Graves’ disease, a common cause of thyroid problems that impact women more frequently than men.
Among the problems related to the thyroid are:
Goiter, or an enlarged thyroid, can result from a number of issues. Generally, if you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with us:
A swelling at the base of your neck
A tight feeling in your throat
Coughing or hoarseness
Difficulty swallowing or breathing
Goiter | Enlarged Thyroid
Goiter | Enlarged Thyroid
Graves’ disease, or hyperthyroidism, means that your thyroid produces too much hormone, resulting in an enlarged thyroid. Treatments include radioactive iodine therapy, anti-thyroid medications, beta-blockers, and surgery.
Hashimoto’s disease, or hypothyroidism, on the other hand means that your thyroid is underactive and produces too little hormone. To compensate, your pituitary gland produces extra TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), leading to an enlarged thyroid. Hypothyroidism is generally treated with a synthetic hormone medication.
Thyroid nodules can also cause enlargement of the gland. These lumps can appear on both sides of the thyroid (multinodular) or only one side (singular). These nodules are generally benign, not leading to cancer, but you might be treated with hormone suppression therapy. For a lump that causes trouble with breathing or swallowing, you might need surgery.
Thyroid cancer is relatively rare, but is becoming more common. To determine whether your thyroid nodules are benign or cancerous, you will likely need a biopsy. If cancerous, surgical removal of the thyroid is recommended, followed by replacement hormone therapy.
Primary types of thyroid cancer
Papillary thyroid cancer: The most common form of thyroid cancer, affecting primarily people aged 30 to 50, it arises from follicular cells that make and store thyroid hormones.
Follicular thyroid cancer: This cancer also arises from the follicular cells, and it usually affects people aged 50 and older.
Medullary thyroid cancer: This form begins in thyroid cells called C cells, which produce the hormone calcitonin.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer: rare cancer, it typically occurs in adults aged 60 and older.
Thyroid lymphoma: Another rare cancer that begins in the immune system cells in the thyroid, it typically occurs in older adults.
Tests and procedures to diagnose thyroid cancer typically begin with a physical exam and blood tests. You can also expect to undergo a fine-needle biopsy to collect a tissue sample that can be analyzed in a lab. To determine whether cancer has spread, you could undergo a CT or PET imaging test. Genetic testing is encouraged for those who have been diagnosed with medullary thyroid cancer.
Depending on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, you have options for its treatment. The most common treatments include:
Surgery: Depending on the stage and locations, you will have a thyroidectomy (removal of all or part of the thyroid) or a thyroid lobectomy (removing of one lobe). If your lymph nodes are enlarged, they may also be removed.
Hormone therapy: You will need to take synthetic thyroid medication for the rest of your life following a thyroidectomy.
Radioactive iodine: This treatment destroys cancer cells and any tissue remaining after surgery.
External radiation therapy: This is an option for those who can’t undergo surgery. It can also be used as a follow-up to radioactive iodine treatments or surgery.
Chemotherapy: This treatment is usually targeted for people with anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Alcohol ablation: Alcohol is injected into small cancers that surgery doesn’t reach.
Targeted drug therapy: This treatment is commonly used in people with advanced thyroid cancer.
Unfortunately, many people with thyroid problems go untreated because they are unaware that something is wrong. A slowed metabolism, for example, is attributed to aging. Who hasn’t experienced anxiety and irritability? But that could mean you have Graves’ disease, not just having a bad day.
Be proactive when it comes to your health. If you notice an unexplained change in your weight, energy level, or mood, it could be a sign you have a problem with your thyroid. Contact Baker ENT. Together we will diagnose the cause and find the right course of treatment.