A healthy thyroid gland is essential to a healthy body. This gland secretes hormones that regulate everything from brain development to growth. Unfortunately, the thyroid can malfunction in a number of ways. For example, goiter is the term to describe a swollen thyroid gland. Patients develop goiters due to a lack of iodine or a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Interestingly, the government approved making iodized salt years ago. As a result, fewer people developed goiters in the U.S.
Thyroiditis occurs when the gland is inflamed. Further, the condition may result from an infection or autoimmune condition. Sometimes, physicians find a lump or nodule in the thyroid. An ultrasound is ordered to confirm the presence of nodules. Nodules can signal several medical conditions. Thyroid testing in Lancaster, PA used to mean surgery. However, Otolaryngology Physicians of Lancaster perform Fine Needle Aspiration or FNA. The patient is given a local anesthetic, and the physician inserts a fine needle into the nodule. Several thyroid cells are taken, and the lab examines them. Indeed, nodules are usually benign, as thyroid cancer is rare. Experts say less than ten percent of those with nodules develop cancer.
There are times when thyroid testing in Lancaster, PA is inconclusive. If this occurs, the physician orders more tests using the same cells. Normally, these tests point physicians toward a diagnosis. Some conditions are particularly worrisome. Patients with hyperthyroidism secrete too many hormones. As a result, the metabolism goes into overdrive. Consequently, people lose weight quickly or sweat excessively. Further, patients can develop a rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and irritability.
Graves’ Disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is an immune condition that occurs most often in middle-aged women. Hyperthyroidism may require removal of the gland. On the other hand, many cases respond to medication to slow secretions. In the alternative, the thyroid may not secrete enough hormones. Hypothyroidism is most often caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This autoimmune condition causes the body to attack thyroid tissue. Consequently, the thyroid stops making hormones. Fortunately, medical research has led to improved treatment for those with thyroid disorders. People who suspect thyroid problems are urged to contact a physician.