Most Common Thyroid Diseases and Illnesses
An overactive thyroid can lead to
Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Ann Block, Physician, Author and Medical Director of The Block Center in Dallas/Fort Worth, here for About.com. Thyroid problems are among the most common medical conditions. In this video, I’ll go over the most common thyroid diseases.The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located just below your Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that affect your metabolism and energy level. The three most common thyroid problems are the underactive thyroid, the overactive thyroid, and thyroid nodules.An underactive thyroid is also called hypothyroidism. This happens when the thyroid gland is underactive: it doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. It’s usually caused by a problem within the thyroid itself. It sometimes occurs when the pituitary gland isn’t producing enough hormones for the thyroid to function well, but that’s less common.When your thyroid is underactive, your body’s metabolism slows down. You may feel more tired, gain weight, and have problems with memory and concentration. Some types of hypothyroidism cause a swelling in the neck. This is called goitre. Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men, and people over 50 are more likely to be affected than younger people.An overactive thyroid is also called hyperthyroidism. This happens when the thyroid gland is too active: it produces too much thyroid hormones. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to produce too much hormones. Graves disease is most common in women age 20 to 40. And overactive thyroid causes your body’s functions to speed up, meaning that organs and processes in your body work faster. It can lead to weight loss, anxiety, and feeling nervous or irritable.A thyroid nodule is any abnormal growth that forms a lump on the thyroid. Lumps can occur in any part of the thyroid, single or multiple. Some nodules can be felt, and others can be hidden and difficult to feel. Most thyroid nodules do not cause any symptoms, but some produce similar symptoms of too much thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism.Thyroid nodules are usually harmless, but a small percentage is cancerous. That’s why a thyroid nodule needs to be evaluated to find out whether cancer is present. The cause of most thyroid nodules is unknown, but in some cases, a lack of iodine in the diet can cause abnormal growths on the thyroid gland.For more on thyroid functions, diseases and treatments, visit health.about.com. Thanks for watching!