The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating most of the metabolic processes of the human body. As a result, when something goes wrong, it can have a truly devastating impact on a number of systems. There are several disorders affecting the thyroid, some of which are fairly harmless, and some of which can be lethal if left untreated. The only way to know if a patient’s thyroid is functioning properly is to perform thyroid testing in Ephrata, PA.
The results of these tests will enable doctors to determine whether issues like abnormal hormone production, enlarged glands, or life-threatening cancers are present. When it comes to problems with hormone production, conditions fall into one of two categories: hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism refers to the overproduction of thyroid hormones, whereas hypothyroidism is defined by insufficient hormone production. Either one of them can lead to some unpleasant effects.
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by several unique medical conditions. Graves’ disease stimulates the overproduction of hormones directly. Toxic adenomas are nodules that form in the thyroid gland, and secrete etra hormones and upsetting chemical balances in the body. Subacute thyroiditis causes inflammation and subsequent leaking of excess hormones. This condition is typically temporary. Although it is less common, pituitary gland malfunctions can also cause hyperthyroidism, as can several varieties of cancerous growths.
Hypothyroidism is equally dangerous, since a body’s energy production needs a certain level of thyroid hormones to maintain consistent levels. Lowered hormone levels thus lead directly to lowered overall energy. This condition can be caused by autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which a patient’s body attacks otherwise healthy thyroid tissue. It can also be the result of iodine and lithium exposure. These chemicals and others can, in high enough amounts, destroy the thyroid gland completely.
The most common reasons patients are referred to a specialist for thyroid testing in Ephrata, PA is decreased energy and unexplained weight gain. By identifying the problem, however, doctors can usually treat the conditions with hormone therapies or other forms of symptom management. In the vast majority of cases, these treatments are simple and painless. Visit to find out more about common thyroid disorders and their symptoms.