Information is power for wellbeing in thyroid disease.
If you have a thyroid problem then it is very important that you get it diagnosed correctly. This is because there are several different types of problem that can affect your thyroid gland. They can all lead to symptoms. For instance, your thyroid can be overactive or underactive. It is also common to experience thyroid problems during or after pregnancy. Your thyroid gland can also become swollen or inflammed. Thyroid nodules and swelling are common but treatment is not always needed.
Hypothyroidism is the name used for an underactive thyroid. Examples of symptoms linked with an underactive thyroid include weight gain and fatigue. Therefore it is easy for the diagnosis of an underactive thyroid to be missed or delayed, because these symptoms are quite common and they are not specific to thyroid problems.
Your treatment for an underactive thyroid should restore your health and welbeing to normal. To do this your treatment needs to be at the right level. Youwill usually be given the missing hormone back in the form of tablets. An underactive thyroif does not usually recover so you are likely to remain on this treatment for the rest of your life.
In the UK an underactive thyroid is usually treated with tablets called levothyroxine (T4). A combination of levothyroxine and liothyronine (T4 & T3) are sometimes given to treat people with an underactive thyroid in other countries.
If your thyroid treatment doesn’t fix your symptoms then you may need to have tests to check whether there are other causes of your symptoms. In this case you can discuss what to do next with your GP. If you remain unwell despite your treatment for an underactive thyroid, you may need to be referred to a specialist like me.
Hyperthyroidism is the term used for an overactive thyroid gland. If you have this thyroid problem you may notice unexplained weight loss, sweating, anxiety, palpitatiions, shakes and other symptoms. These symptoms can be very worrying and finding out the cause is often a relief!
There are several different causes of an overactive thyroid. Therefore to ensure that you get the right diagnosis and treatment, you will usually need to be referred to a specialist like me. You will almost always need treatment with tablets for this problem. Your treatment may take a number of months to stabilise your thyroid levels. After that time you may need additional treatments, depending on your progress.
Sometimes an overactive thyroid can cause eye, liver, skin and nail problems. It is therefore important to tell your doctor about all your symptoms even if you think they may not be relevent.
Thyroid nodules and swelling
If you notice lumps in your neck yourself or they are found on a scan you may be diagnosed with thyroid nodules. They can be picked up on scans which you have had for other reasons. Either way it is best for you to see a specialist if you are found to have new thyroid lumps, in case you need treatment. You should always be checked out properly but if you have no symptoms then you may not need any treatment.
I work very closely with other specialists in managing thyroid problems. This is because if you have a complex thyroid problem you may need tests or treatment which may involve different specialists. In 2019 I was involved in setting up the first private multi-disciplinary team (MDT) for thyroid problems in Manchester, linking closely with my colleagues Mr Jay Goswami and Mr Rohit Kumar. This is the best way to look after people with complex thyroid problems.
Click below to look at the website.
The British thyroid foundation also has lots of factual information about thyroid problem;
- Hormone Facts & Information