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Thyroid problems are among the most common medical conditions but, because their symptoms often appear gradually, they are commonly misdiagnosed.
The three most common thyroid problems are the underactive thyroid, theoveractive thyroid , and thyroid nodules.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In this condition, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland.
1. Fatigue or lack of energy
2. Weight gain
3. Feeling cold
4. Dry skin and hair
5. Heavy menstrual periods
7. Slowed thinking
In addition to symptoms of hyperthyroidism, some patients with Graves’ disease develop eye symptoms such as a stare, eye irritation, bulging of the eyes and, occasionally, double vision or loss of vision. Involvement of the eyes is calledGraves’ Ophthalmopathy.
Thyroid nodules are fairly common and usually harmless. However, about 4% of nodules are cancerous, so further testing needs to be done. This is usually best accomplished by fine needle aspiration biopsy. This is a quick and simple test that takes just a few minutes to perform in the doctor’s office. If the biopsy does not raise any suspicion of cancer, the nodule is usually observed. Some thyroid specialists recommend treatment with thyroid hormone to try to decrease the size of the nodule. A second biopsy is usually recommended 6-12 months later, to make sure there continues to be no evidence of cancer. If a nodule is cancerous, suspicious for cancer, or grows large enough to interfere with swallowing or breathing, surgical removal is advised.