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5 Types of Thyroid Disease We Want You to Know About

While we certainly don’t want to add to your worries, there are a lot of health issues people should be more aware of. When you consider that an estimated 20 million people in the United States have a thyroid disorder, yet up to 60% are unaware of the issue, there's a need to connect the dots.

As a leading thyroid disorder specialist, Dr. Sean P. Nikravan happily takes up this cause, which is why we’re focusing on thyroid disease here. In this month’s blog post, we review five types of thyroid disease so you’re better able to recognize when there’s a potential problem.

About your thyroid

Before we dive into the different types of thyroid disease, let’s quickly review the role your thyroid plays in your overall health and wellness. Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that produces hormones that govern, among many things, your:

As you can see, your thyroid hormones cast a very wide net. When there’s a disorder in your thyroid, it typically leads to over- or underproduction of thyroid hormones — hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively. In either case, you can develop some hard-to-ignore symptoms on opposite ends of the spectrum.

For example, if your thyroid produces too many hormones, your heart rate can go up, you may sweat a lot, and you might lose weight. Conversely, if your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, you can gain weight, feel sluggish, and feel cold all of the time.

Disorders that can affect thyroid function

Let’s take a look at five of the more notable disorders to affect this gland.

1. Hashimoto’s disease

This is an inherited autoimmune disorder in which your body mistakenly attacks your thyroid, which can lead to hypothyroidism. This is the most common driver of low thyroid production, and women are 4-10 times more likely to have Hashimoto’s disease than men.

2. Grave’s disease

This thyroid disease is also an inherited autoimmune disorder. This condition leads to an overproduction of thyroid hormones, or hyperthyroidism. Grave’s disease tends to crop up most often in women between the ages of 20 and 30.

3. Goiter

This is a condition in which your thyroid becomes enlarged, which is mostly caused by an iodine deficiency. Goiter may not affect thyroid hormone production, but it can lead to symptoms like swelling in your throat, hoarseness, and difficulty breathing.

4. Thyroid nodules

Most thyroid nodules are benign growths in your thyroid, and they occur far more often in women. These nodules can produce extra thyroid hormones, leading to hyperthyroidism. They can also become large enough that you feel them in your neck and see them under your skin.

5. Thyroid cancer

This isn’t a common cancer — the American Cancer Society predicts that there will be nearly 44,000 diagnoses in 2023, with women outpacing men by 3-to-1. The good news is that this type of cancer is highly treatable. 

If we find that there’s cancer after we perform a thyroid nodule biopsy, we can remove the cancer using advanced radiofrequency ablation (RFA) techniques.

Don’t ignore signs of a thyroid problem

If you suspect that you might have a thyroid issue and you’d like to get checked out, we invite you to contact our office in Newport Beach, California, to set up an appointment with Sean P. Nikravan, MD.

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