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Does Thyroid Problems Run In The Family

Who Is At Risk For Hyperthyroidism

Is Thyroid Problem Genetic? | Does Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism Run in Families? | MFine

According to the National Institute of Health , hyperthyroidism affects approximately 1.2% of the population in the US. Although it occurs in both men and women, its up to 10 times more likely in females.

Youre at higher risk for hyperthyroidism if you:

  • Have a family history of thyroid disease
  • Have pernicious anemia
  • Have primary adrenal insufficiency, also known as Addisons disease
  • Consume an iodine-rich diet or medications containing iodine
  • Are over the age of 60
  • Were pregnant within the past 6 months
  • Had thyroid surgery or a thyroid problem such as a goiter, also known as a swollen thyroid gland

Graves Disease Diagnosis And Treatment

A simple physical exam can reveal an enlarged thyroid, enlarged bulging eyes, and signs of increased metabolism, including rapid pulse and high blood pressure. Your doctor will also order blood tests to check for high levels of T4 and low levels of TSH, both of which are signs of Graves disease. A radioactive iodine uptake test might also be administered to measure how quickly your thyroid takes up iodine. A high uptake of iodine is consistent with Graves disease.

Theres no treatment to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid gland and causing it to overproduce hormones. However, the symptoms of Graves disease can be controlled in several ways, often with a combination of treatments:

  • beta-blockers to control rapid heart rate, anxiety, and sweating
  • antithyroid medications to prevent your thyroid from producing excessive amounts of hormone
  • radioactive iodine to destroy all or part of your thyroid
  • surgery to remove your thyroid gland, a permanent option if you cant tolerate antithyroid drugs or radioactive iodine

Successful hyperthyroidism treatment usually results in hypothyroidism. Youll have to take hormone-replacement medication from that point forward. Graves disease can lead to heart problems and brittle bones if its left untreated.

What Should I Do If I Have Morning Sickness

If you have morning sickness, thyroxine can be taken last thing at night. If you are unable to take your thyroxine on one day, you should take twice the dose the following day. Thyroxine has a long duration of action, so the dose will average out over the week, but ideally you should take it daily, at the same time of day if possible. If your morning sickness is severe, you should see your doctor or midwife for assessment and advice.

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What Is Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is an that affects the thyroid gland. Your thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. Your thyroid gland makes that control many activities in your body, including how fast your heart beats and how fast you burn calories.

In people with Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system makes that attack the thyroid gland. This damages your thyroid gland, so it does not make enough thyroid hormone. Hashimoto’s disease often leads to . Hypothyroidism, when severe, can cause your metabolism to slow down, which can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and other symptoms.

What Is Graves’ Disease

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Graves’ is a cluster of symptoms caused by the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland in your lower neck, and it affects 3 percent of people in the US. Your thyroid gland makes hormones that help your body regulate a wide range of vital functions, including:

  • Growth and development
  • Mental health
  • Sleep

If youre diagnosed with Graves’ disease, it means that your thyroid is making more thyroid hormone than your body needs, and it most often leads to a condition called hyperthyroidism, which causes your metabolism to speed up. It usually arises in mid-adulthood, but it can occur at any age. “A lot of people get scared when they first hear the name,” says Caroline Messer MD, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. But dont worry, it’s not referring to six feet under. It’s actually Graves’, not grave, after the last name of the doctor who discovered it.

Infographic by Lauren Hunter

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Do The Thyroid Neck Check

One of the best things you can do in terms of early detection is to periodically perform a Thyroid Neck Check. This easy test can detect lumps, bumps, and swelling on your thyroid if they’re close to the surface. However, many nodules and bumps aren’t able to be seen or felt, so if you have other symptoms, you should see your doctor.

All you need for this simple screening is a glass of water and a mirror. If you feel or see anything out of the ordinary after following all of the steps, be sure to see your doctor.

Thyroid Nodules Diagnosis And Treatment

Most nodules are detected during a normal physical exam. They can also be detected during an ultrasound, CT scan, or an MRI. Once a nodule is detected, other procedures a TSH test and a thyroid scan can check for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. A fine needle aspiration biopsy is used to take a sample of cells from the nodule and determine whether the nodule is cancerous.

Benign thyroid nodules arent life-threatening and usually dont need treatment. Typically, nothing is done to remove the nodule if it doesnt change over time. Your doctor may do another biopsy and recommend radioactive iodine to shrink the nodules if it grows.

Cancerous nodules are pretty rare according to the National Cancer Institute , thyroid cancer affects less than 4 percent of the population. The treatment your doctor recommends will vary depending on the type of tumor. Removing the thyroid through surgery is usually the treatment of choice. Radiation therapy is sometimes used with or without surgery. Chemotherapy is often required if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

Children can also get thyroid conditions, including:

  • hypothyroidism
  • thyroid nodules
  • thyroid cancer

Sometimes children are born with a thyroid problem. In other cases, surgery, disease, or treatment for another condition causes it.

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What Happens In Pregnancy

After the initial assessment and increased dose of thyroxine , your thyroid blood tests should be checked again about 4-6 weeks later. Your dose of thyroxine can then be adjusted once more if necessary. The usual thyroxine dose increase required in pregnancy is 25-50 microgrammes. Your thyroid blood tests should be checked about every 6-8 weeks. In the last third of pregnancy, the thyroxine dose usually stabilises and checks may not be needed so often. Your thyroid status or treatment will not affect how you give birth to your baby. A midwife will explain the options you have around your labour and birth choices.

What Are The Longer

Do Autoimmune Diseases Run In The Family?

The long-term implications of hyperthyroidism depend on the treatment option used. Patients taking carbimazole tablets will likely need to take them daily for life. Blood tests should be carried out regularly to monitor thyroid hormone levels and to adjust the dose of carbimazole accordingly. The majority of patients are able to find a medication regime that works for them and go on to live full, active lives.

If untreated, besides feeling poorly and unwell, the patient is also at risk of heart dysfunction or failure due to the increased heart rate and raised metabolic state. This irregular heart rate can result in strokes and dizziness. An overactive thyroid can also affect the patients bones and cause osteoporosis, which results in weak bones that are more likely to fracture.

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Treatment For Hashimotos Disease

With treatment, the outlook for most people with Hashimotos disease is excellent. Treatment usually includes medication with the synthetic thyroid hormone . The doctor will recommend regular blood tests to monitor your thyroid hormone levels to ensure they are within the recommended range.You will need to take the medication for life. Medication does not cure the condition, but helps maintain normal thyroid hormone levels. The symptoms will return if thyroid medication is stopped. Surgery may be required if the enlarged gland causes pressure symptoms.

What Is An Underactive Thyroid

Hypothyroidism, by contrast, stems from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. Since your body’s energy production requires certain amounts of thyroid hormones, a drop in hormone production leads to lower energy levels, causing you to feel weak and tired.

Approximately 25 million people suffer with hypothyroidism and about half are undiagnosed. Older adults — particularly women — are more likely to develop hypothyroidism than younger adults. Hypothyroidism also tends to run in families.

If hypothyroidism is not treated, it can raise your cholesterol levels and make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. During pregnancy, untreated hypothyroidism can harm your baby. Luckily, hypothyroidism is easy to treat.

Causes of hypothyroidism may include:

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: In this autoimmune disorder, the body attacks thyroid tissue. The tissue eventually dies and stops producing hormones. Other autoimmune disorders occur with this condition and other family members may also be affected by this condition.

Removal of the thyroid gland: The thyroid may be surgically removed or chemically destroyed as treatment for hyperthyroidism.

Exposure to excessive amounts of iodide: The heart medicine amiodarone may expose you to too much iodine. Radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism can also result in hypothyroidism. You may be at greater risk for developing hypothyroidism, especially if you have had thyroid problems in the past.


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What About Women Previously Treated For Gravesdisease

Graves disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease that causes an overactive thyroid gland. If you have been treated for Graves disease with radioiodine or surgery, you may now have an underactive thyroid gland. However, you may still be making the antibodies which originally caused the Graves disease. They cannot affect your thyroid, but may rarely affect the baby in the womb or the newborn baby, causing an overactive thyroid gland in the baby. This happens to 1-5% of women previously treated for Graves disease.

A blood test for thyroid receptor antibodies is done when the mother is about 6-7 months pregnant, so that the baby can be monitored and treated if necessary. If the baby does develop an overactive thyroid gland, this can be treated with medicine. Once the baby has cleared the mothers antibodies from its blood stream, the overactive thyroid gets better by itself and the medicine can be stopped. This does not mean that the baby has inherited the Graves disease.

Graves Disease Fast Facts

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Hyperthyroidism: American Thyroid Association. Hyperthyroidism .

Graves’ Disease: Office on Women’s Health.

Graves’ Disease: Mayo Clinic.

Thyroid Storm: Medline Plus.

Support: National Organization for Rare Disorders: Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation.

Graves’ Disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Eye Treatment: FDA approves first treatment for thyroid eye disease.

Diagnosis & Management. Thyroid: 2016 American Thyroid Association Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Hyperthyroidism and Other Causes of Thyrotoxicosis.

Cancer Risk & RAI: Thyroid: “Cancer Risk After Radioactive Iodine Treatment for Hyperthyroidism: A Cohort Study.”

JAMA Internal Medicine: Association of Radioiodine Treatment with Cancer Mortality in Patients with Hyperthyroidism:

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Will Graves’ Disease Affect My Immune System

Grave’s disease is an autoimmune issue, as it involves your immune system attacking healthy tissue. Like many autoimmune conditions, Graves is also 7-8 times more likely to occur in women than men, for reasons that are still unknown.

The inheritance pattern for Graves is still being investigated, as many genetic and environmental factors appear to be involved. Researchers dont completely understand what causes autoimmunity, although there seems to be a genetic connection, as cases of Graves tend to run in families. So, if you have a close relative with Graves’ disease or who has another autoimmune disorder, its likely to increase your own risk of developing Graves, although how much is still unclear.

Causes Of Hashimotos Disease

Various conditions can cause hypothyroidism. One of the most common causes is Hashimotos disease, which is inflammation of the thyroid gland that reduces the secretion of thyroid hormones.Hashimotos disease is considered to be an autoimmune disease. Immune system cells that normally defend the body against foreign invaders attack the thyroid gland.The condition is also called Hashimotos thyroiditis, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis.

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What Causes Graves’ Disease

In Graves disease, your immune system creates antibodies that cause your thyroid to grow and produce an excess of thyroid hormone. These antibodies are called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins . The TSIs bind to your thyroid cell receptors, which are typically docking stations for thyroid-stimulating hormone . Invading TSIs then trick your thyroid into growing and releasing too much thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism.

Where Can I Find Support

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Hyperthyroidism impacts you physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Its critical that you have a strong network of people you trust and can turn to for support.

It starts with your family. Since thyroid disease runs in families, being honest and open with your relatives is the best policy, as you might be alerting them to a problem they didnt even know to look out for.

To help you build your own support network outside of those closest to you, check out the GDATFs community resources to find a support group .

In addition, you may find these resources helpful:

  • ThyroidChange. If you want to join a community that pushes for personalized care and support for patients with thyroid disease, look no further. You can also use their website to learn more about thyroid disease and its treatments, find a doctor based on specific criteria and patient recommendations, or schedule a telemedicine appointment with a doctor for your thyroid care.
  • The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons . Since finding a high-volume, experienced surgeon is critically important when choosing a thyroidectomy to treat your hyperthyroidism, this organization makes it easy with its Surgeon Finder tool.

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What Causes An Overactive Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is found in the neck. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body’s growth and metabolism. These hormones are called thyroxine and triiodothyronine.

They affect processes such as heart rate and body temperature, and help convert food into energy to keep the body going.

In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine or triiodothyronine, which speeds up the body’s metabolism.

There are several possible underlying causes, the most common being Graves’ disease, in which the body’s immune system targets the thyroid gland and causes it to produce too much of the thyroid hormones.

What Are My Treatment Options For Graves’ Disease

The goal of any treatment for Graves is to stop the overproduction of your thyroid and its effects on your body. Research has shown that certain types of treatments carry different risks for different people, according to Dr. Angell. So, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of each approach with your doctor in order to find the treatment that’s best for you. Options include:

  • Radioactive iodine therapy. This is usually administered in a single small pill. When you swallow it, the radioactive iodine enters your bloodstream and is absorbed by your overactive thyroid cells. As a result, your thyroid should shrink, and your levels of thyroid hormone should return to normal. If not, it can be done a second time.

“There is widespread misconception about the level of risk associated with RAI,” Dr. Bischoff says, referring to the debate over whether or not it is carcinogenic and the conflicting studies supporting either side. Currently, the official position of the American Thyroid Association is, ”There has been no clear increase in cancer incidence in hyperthyroid patients that have been treated with radioactive iodine.” Dr. Angell says these concerns and studies are something he would discuss in detail with a patient who is considering RAI treatment. RAI is also not advised if youre pregnant.

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A Note From Paloma Health

If your family has a history of thyroid conditions, make sure to discuss with your doctor to assess your risk and determine the next steps.

Start by taking a thyroid blood test to understand your thyroid function. Many labs only look at thyroid-stimulating hormone . Still, it’s also helpful to measure free triiodothyronine , free thyroxine , and TPO antibodies. These four markers help you understand the big picture of what’s happening with your thyroid function and where specifically to make improvements.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Graves’ Disease

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Early signs of Graves disease vary from person to person and they are often confused with other conditions, which can delay diagnosis. Before diagnosis, patients often notice that they can’t tolerate heat, are unintentionally losing weight, and are having heart palpitations, says Trevor Angell MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Thyroid Center at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Common early symptoms include:

  • Weight loss despite increased appetite.
  • Anxiety, irritability, and mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Reduced libido or erectile dysfunction
  • Vitamin b12 deficiency

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Symptoms In Infants Children Teens And Pregnant Women

Although rare, hypothyroidism can occur in infants, children, and teens. In infants, symptoms include a poor appetite and choking on food. Symptoms may also include dry, scaly skin. In children and teens, symptoms include behavior problems and changes in school performance. Children and teens may gain weight but have a slowed growth rate. Teens may have delayed puberty and look much younger than their age.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism during and after pregnancy include fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, depression, and memory and concentration problems.


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