Thyroid disease is an umbrella term for several different conditions that impact this hormone-producing gland. Your thyroid is shaped like a bowtie, and located below your Adam’s apple in the front of your neck where it wraps around your windpipe.
The main purpose of the thyroid is to process iodine you get from food (seafood and salt) and produce hormones that regulate your metabolism.
When your thyroid malfunctions, meaning it produces too many or too few thyroid hormones, it’s tricky to diagnose based on symptoms alone, because so many of them can cause other conditions as well.
But Dr. Bharani Jeereddy at Kenilworth Primary Care specializes in identifying thyroid disorders and treating all types of thyroid problems. From our office here in Kenilworth, New Jersey, she helps patients finally get the answers they need and resolve their thyroid issues.
Here are some common signs that may indicate you have a problem with your thyroid:
One of the most common thyroid problems occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. This is called hypothyroidism, and it's caused by certain medications or cancer treatments, or be a symptom of an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s disease.
If you have hypothyroidism, you might notice:
- Unexplained weight gain and/or fluid retention
- Brain fog and memory problems
- Joint pain
- Hair loss or thinning
- Dry skin
- Long menstrual periods
- Decreased heart rate
- High cholesterol
- Hoarse voice
- Intolerance of cold temperatures
If you’re looking at this long list of symptoms and thinking they could mean anything, you’re absolutely right. That’s why we don’t diagnose based on symptoms alone.
If you’re experiencing a combination of these signs, Dr. Jeereddy can run diagnostic tests to rule out certain health conditions and get to an accurate diagnosis.
If your thyroid is overproducing hormones, you might have hypothyroidism’s opposite condition called hyperthyroidism. You could also have inflammation of your gland (thyroiditis), tumors in the area secreting extra hormones, or a condition called Grave’s disease.
If you have hyperthyroidism, you may notice:
- Mood disorders like irritability or nervousness
- Intolerance to warm temperatures
- Memory and concentration problems
- Reduced menstrual flow
- Increased bowel movements
- Dry brittle hair
- Skin changes (thinning)
- Excess perspiration
- Increased appetite
- Swollen thyroid gland
A quick comparison of the lists of symptoms for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism show many symptoms that are direct opposites — sensitivity to hot vs. cold, increased menstrual flow vs. decreased menstrual flow, depression vs. anxiety — as you might expect. But it also reveals a few symptoms they have in common (brain fog and fatigue), which makes testing all the more important.
Whether your thyroid is over-producing or under-producing hormones, either condition could lead to the formation of thyroid nodules, lumps on the gland. These nodules are almost always benign, but because they turn out to be cancerous about 10% of the time, it’s important to come to see Dr. Jeereddy if you:
- Feel a lump on your neck
- Have shortness of breath
- Have trouble swallowing
Once Dr. Jeereddy identifies what’s causing your symptoms, she can treat it with medication to increase or decrease your thyroid production. In some cases, such as problematic nodules, Grave’s disease, or a goiter (thyroid enlargement), she recommends a surgical treatment to resolve your thyroid problem by removing a portion of it.
You can rest assured your thyroid is in good hands with Dr. Jeereddy and our experienced team of experts. We use the latest technology in our state-of-the-art facility to ensure your procedure is safe and effective.
If you suspect you may have a thyroid condition, call our office or book an appointment online today.