HomeNewsHow To Know If Your Thyroid Is Swollen

How To Know If Your Thyroid Is Swollen

Hyperthyroidism Vs Hypothyroidism: How To Tell The Difference

How to check for an enlarged thyroid gland?

By Annie Price, CHHC

Thyroid problems can affect anyone of any age from infancy to the latest years of life. According to the American Thyroid Association, over 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition at some point. Currently, an estimated 20 million Americans have a form of thyroid disease and as many as 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are not even aware that they have a problem! In addition, women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.

With stats like these, its really important to know the signs of hypothyroidism vs. hyperthyroidism since these are two of the most common thyroid issues today. What are the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism? To some degree, hyperthyroidism vs. hypothyroidism symptoms can be somewhat opposite as youre about to see, but theres more to it than that. Once you figure out if youre dealing with hypothyroidism vs. hyperthyroidism, you can figure out a treatment plan. Thankfully, there are many natural ways to treat hypothyroidism as well as hyperthyroidism.

How Is Thyroiditis Treated

How thyroiditis is treated depends on the type, symptoms, and phase of thyroiditis.

  • Thyrotoxic phase: Usually temporary, it will eventually either recover and go to the euthyroid phase, or go to the hypothyroid phase. This hypothyroid phase could be temporary or permanent. It may not be necessary to treat symptoms in subacute, painless, or post-partum thyroiditis. During the thyrotoxic phase, treatment is symptomatic. Antithyroid medications are rarely needed.
  • Palpitations/anxiety/tremors/heat intolerance/increased sweating: These symptoms are treated with beta blockers.
  • Thyroidal pain: The pain can usually be managed with anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. If the pain is severe enough, steroid therapy may be required .
  • In other forms, treating the infection will be necessary to eliminate acute thyroiditis. Drug-induced thyroiditis generally lasts as long as the drugs are taken.
  • Hypothyroid phase: If necessary, thyroid hormone replacement therapy is used to treat hypothyroidism. This type of therapy usually continues for 6 to 12 months. Hashimotos thyroiditis usually causes permanent hypothyroidism and requires continued treatment.

Hyperthyroidism Vs Hypothyroidism Treatment

Is hypothyroidism curable? There is no cure for a hypothyroidism diagnosis, but there may be ways to naturally increase thyroid hormone production through dietary means, such as a hypothyroidism diet. The conventional treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine sodium tablets, also known as Synthroid. This medication is taken as a synthetic hormone replacement to help regulate thyroid levels. Doctors typically recommend taking this medication daily for the rest of ones life.

The first step in natural treatment of hypothyroidism is to eliminate the causes of thyroid dysfunction, such as inflammation, overuse of medications, nutrient deficiencies and changes in hormones due to stress. The hypothyroidism diet eliminates foods that can cause inflammation and immune reactions and instead focuses on foods that help heal the GI tract, balance hormones and reduce inflammation.

What about conventional treatment of hyperthyroidism? There are medications commonly prescribed to limit the activity of a hyper thyroid such as Methimazole or Propylthiouracil . Surgery may be another conventional recommendation as a last resort to remove all or part of the thyroid if anti-thyroid medications do not work. Its worth researching ways to treat hyperthyroidism naturally, as removing sources of inflammation from your diet and taking advantage of thyroid-supporting supplements and essential oils may help make a huge difference.

Also Check: Can Hypothyroidism Cause Eye Floaters

Is Your Thyroid Medication Actually Working

As a thyroid patient, you need to be aware of a very important fact:

Thyroid medication will NEVER be as good as your thyroid gland at managing and controlling your thyroid levels.

But, just because thyroid medication cant make up for the real thing doesnt mean you have to feel poorly.

Quite the opposite, actually.

Its absolutely possible, and it should be your goal, to restore your thyroid function to what it felt like BEFORE you had thyroid problems.

This is easier said than done, though, and thats exactly what we are going to talk about today.

Whether or not your thyroid medication is actually working and how it impacts how you are feeling.

Many thyroid patients are often frustrated to find out that even after they start taking thyroid medication, they dont feel as well as they would like.

As a thyroid patient, you probably imagine that you will feel back to 100% of your normal self a few days after you start taking your medication.

After all, isnt thyroid medication supposed to take over for your thyroid gland?

Well, yes, but also no.

Theres a high probability that your thyroid medication isnt working as well as you probably think and there are a few reasons for this.

In this article we will discuss:

  • How to know if your thyroid medication is working
  • Signs and symptoms which indicate your thyroid medication is too low
  • Reasons why your thyroid medication may not be working
  • And more

Hyperthyroidism Vs Hypothyroidism Labs

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As you can see from these lists of symptoms, there is a pretty large difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism symptoms, but to determine for sure which health concern you may or may not be dealing with, its important to have lab work done.

Your doctor will test your blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone and thyroxine. There are clear differences in hypothyroidism vs. hyperthyroidism lab values, especially hyperthyroidism vs. hypothyroidism TSH levels. A low level of thyroxine and high level of TSH can indicate an underactive thyroid. High levels of thyroxine and low or nonexistent levels of TSH can mean you have an overactive thyroid.

What is the TSH level for hyperthyroidism? The normal range for the TSH test can vary between labs, but its usually between 0.5 to 4.05.5 milli-international units per liter . Hyperthyroidism may be suspected by your doctor if your TSH level is below 0.5, but additional testing is needed. According to Christian Nasr, MD of Cleveland Clinic, As long as your TSH is not lower than 0.1 and you do not have high T4 or T3 and you do not have symptoms of hyperthyroidism, then you could continue to have the TSH monitored every six months. No intervention is needed.

  • T4 thyroid hormone tests
  • Tests to diagnose Graves disease, an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism
  • Tests to diagnose Hashimotos thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism

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How Are Thyroid Diseases Diagnosed

It can be hard to tell if you have a thyroid disease. The symptoms are the same as many other health problems. Your doctor may start by asking about your health history and if any of your family members has had thyroid disease. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and check your neck for thyroid nodules.

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also do other tests, such as:

  • Blood tests. Testing the level of thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood can help your doctor figure out if your thyroid is overactive or underactive. TSH tells your thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Depending on the results, your doctor might do another blood test to check levels of one or both thyroid hormones in your blood.
  • Radioactive iodine uptake test. For this test, you swallow a liquid or capsule that holds a small dose of radioactive iodine . The radioiodine collects in your thyroid because your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone.

High levels of radioiodine mean that your thyroid makes too much of the thyroid hormone. Low levels mean that your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone.

  • Thyroid ultrasound. The thyroid ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the thyroid on a computer screen. This test can help your doctor tell what type of nodule you have and how large it is. You may need more thyroid ultrasounds over time to see if your nodule is growing or shrinking.
  • What Are Symptoms Of Thyroiditis

    Symptoms of inflammation of the thyroid gland include:

    • Low thyroid hormone

    Tests for inflammation of the thyroid gland may include:

    • Thyroid function tests
    • T3 and T4 in the blood
  • Thyroid antibody tests to measure thyroid antibodies
  • Antithyroid antibodies
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate to measure inflammation
  • Ultrasound of the thyroid which may show:
  • Nodules
  • Changes in blood flow
  • Echo texture of the gland
  • Radioactive iodine uptake
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    What Are The Treatments For Hyperthyroidism

    The treatments for hyperthyroidism include medicines, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery:

    • Medicines for hyperthyroidism include
    • Antithyroid medicines, which cause your thyroid to make less thyroid hormone. You probably need to take the medicines for 1 to 2 years. In some cases, you might need to take the medicines for several years. This is the simplest treatment, but it is often not a permanent cure.
    • Beta blocker medicines, which can reduce symptoms such as tremors, rapid heartbeat, and nervousness. They work quickly and can help you feel better until other treatments take effect.
  • Radioiodine therapy is a common and effective treatment for hyperthyroidism. It involves taking radioactive iodine by mouth as a capsule or liquid. This slowly destroys the cells of the thyroid gland that produce thyroid hormone. It does not affect other body tissues. Almost everyone who has radioactive iodine treatment later develops hypothyroidism. This is because the thyroid hormone-producing cells have been destroyed. But hypothyroidism is easier to treat and causes fewer long-term health problems than hyperthyroidism.
  • Surgery to remove part or most of the thyroid gland is done in rare cases. It might be an option for people with large goiters or pregnant women who cannot take antithyroid medicines. If you have all of your thyroid removed, you will need to take thyroid medicines for the rest of your life. Some people who have part of their thyroid removed also need to take medicines.
  • Symptoms Of Thyroid Disease In Children

    How to Do a Self Thyroid Exam

    While thyroid disease most often develops during adulthood, it can occur in infants, children, and teenagers as well. The symptoms of thyroid disease in children may be hard to recognize because manychanges in appetite, sleep patterns, emotions, and energy levelsare all also experienced as part of normal development during these years.

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    Your Muscles Are Acting Up

    Muscle twitching, cramping, and pain can be signs of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. They can also indicate your electrolytesmainly calcium and sodiumare out of balance.

    If you feel sudden and intense muscle pain when you havent done any strenuous physical activity, it might be because your thyroid function has changed.

    What Is The Treatment For Thyroiditis

    Treatment for inflammation of the thyroid gland depends on the type of thyroiditis and the symptoms.

    • Treatment for thyrotoxicosis includes beta blockers to decrease palpitations and decrease tremors
    • Treatment for low thyroid hormone includes thyroid hormone replacement
    • Treatment for thyroid pain includes anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Steroids such as prednisone may be used if pain is severe.

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    Thyroid Goiter: When Is A Ct Scan Ordered

    When physical examination and or ultrasound cannot completely determine how far the goiter actually goes, then a CT scan should be ordered. The CT scan will show areas that the thyroid goiter extends and prepare the expert thyroid surgeon their safe and effective approach to remove all of the goiter gland and spare all other structures. Even though a thyroid goiter may extend extensively below the sternum and go well into the chest, these goiters can almost routinely be removed through a relatively straight forward low collar incision in the lower neck. If your surgeon is telling you that they need to “split your chest” or “open your sternum”, make sure that you have identified a highly experience thyroid surgeon. Again, such approaches are almost never actually required.

    Help My Thyroid Is Enlarged

    Annie& Isabel: The Answer Is.....Thyroid Cancer + An Update ...

    Ever noticed that your neck looks larger when looking in the mirror?Have you ever been told that your thyroid sticks out? Have you been told it has to come out?There may be more to the story! First read all the most common causes and treatments which patients have used for an enlarged thyroid, which hasnt always entailed surgery. ~Janie, hypothyroid patient and site creator

    HASHIMOTOS DISEASE

    This is an autoimmune version of thyroid disease, which means your thyroid is being attacked by your own immune system, which causes the thyroid to swell from inflammation. The enlargement is commonly called a goiter and can range from very slight to a very noticeable enlargement. And its very treatable! Read the Hashimotos page. Learn why you have to insist on BOTH antibodies tests, not just one, to diagnose Hashis.and what patients have learned in treating it successfully, which ends up decreasing the swelling. There is also more in the Hashimotos chapter in the revised STTM book.

    GRAVES DISEASE

    THYROID NODULES

    Here is an excellent story by a thyroid patient who was able to shrink her nodules with iodine and NDT, called The Case of the Missing Thyroid Nodules.

    THYROID CANCER

    IODINE DEFICIENCY

    PREGNANCY

    Congratulations.but some see their thyroid enlarge a bit thanks to the HCG hormone rise in their bodies when pregnant.

    THYROIDITIS

    PLUMMER DISEASE

    DYSHORMONOGETIC GOITER

    Impaired responsiveness to TSH,

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    Causes: Pituitary Gland Problems

    Thyroid disease may begin in the pituitary gland. The pituitary is located at the base of your brain. It controls the functions of many other glands in the body, including the thyroid. This gland produces TSH, which signals the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.

    If there is a problem with your pituitary and not enough TSH is produced, thyroid problems can result. Inflammation of the thyroid and taking certain medications can also cause low thyroid hormone levels.

    How Do I Know If My Thyroid Is Working Properly

    The thyroid is a gland in our neck, below the voice box, which is essential to keep our endocrine system working correctly. However, the majority of people who have problems with this gland, mostly women, have not been diagnosed and suffer from a number of symptoms without knowing why. At OneHowTo we explain how to tell if your thyroid is working properly.

    The thyroid is responsible for producing the T4 and T3 hormones i.e. thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which it produces using the iodine in the body that comes from our food.

    With these hormones, our body gets the fuel it needs for our metabolism. But for everything to work properly we need the thyroid itself to function correctly. An under-active thyroid will leave us feeling weak and tired. On the other hand, an overactive gland will make us very nervous and almost hyperactive.

    To tell if your thyroid is working properly, the first thing to check for is any abnormality in our neck and, in the same way as we can check ourselves for breast cancer, we can use a mirror to see if the gland is lumpy or completely swollen, which is also known as a goiter. In both cases, it is essential to seek medical advice.

    There’s also a number of symptoms that can warn us if there is something wrong with our thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is when the gland is overactive. If you have hyperthyroidism there are a number of symptoms that you can detect:

    • Excessive sweating
    • Weight loss, even though you’re eating more than usual.

    Also Check: Does Graves Disease Go Away After Thyroid Removed

    How To Adjust Or Make Changes To Your Thyroid Medication

    What if you have waited the appropriate amount of time but you are still feeling poorly?

    It’s time to make some changes to your thyroid medication.

    In order to do this, you need to follow two steps:

    #1. Get your thyroid tested

    #2. Make changes to your thyroid medication

    Why do you need to get your thyroid tested first?

    Because you need to see how well your previous dose of thyroid medication was working.

    You should have a baseline set of labs that you received in which you were diagnosed with a thyroid condition.

    When you re-test your thyroid you can compare your new set of labs to the old one.

    Did your TSH go down? If you are taking thyroid medication you should see it drop .

    Did your free T3 increase? If you are taking the right type of thyroid medication you should see your free T3 increase.

    Did your free T4 increase? If you are taking levothyroxine then you should see your free T4 increase.

    After comparing your old lab tests to your new ones, you should be able to see if your thyroid medication was working and how well it was working.

    If all of your lab tests are going in the wrong direction then you know you need to make dramatic changes .

    Alternatively, if your lab tests are trending in the right direction but just not quite there yet then you know you just need to make some small changes to your medication .

    There is no one size fits all pattern that you can apply when it comes to your thyroid which makes getting these lab tests all the more important.

    What Are My Hyperthyroidism Treatment Options

    Thyroid exam: How to check your thyroid with Dr. Christianson

    You may receive medicines, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery to treat your hyperthyroidism. The aim of treatment is to bring thyroid hormone levels back to normal to prevent long-term health problems and to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. No single treatment works for everyone.

    Treatment depends on the cause of your hyperthyroidism and how severe it is. When recommending a treatment, your doctor will consider your age, possible allergies to or side effects of the medicines, other conditions such as pregnancy or heart disease, and whether you have access to an experienced thyroid surgeon.

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    Benefits And Limitation Of The Self

    An at-home self-exam known as the âneck checkâ can help you find thyroid lumps or enlargements on your own thyroid gland. These growths may point to any number of thyroid conditions from nodules and goiters to thyroid cancer.

    Lumps in the neck can be caused by thyroid disease, and they can also be caused by a variety of other conditions, such as lymph node enlargement, lymphoma, an infectious abscess, or a traumatic injury.

    In general, a neck check is not considered the most accurate or reliable way to identify thyroid disease. You can have serious thyroid disease if you have a completely normal neck check. On the other hand, a major growth can often be a sign of an easily treatable condition, such as an iodine deficiency.

    In the end, there are limitations as to what a neck check can tell you. A 2017 report from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that neck palpation was able to detect thyroid nodules in only 11.6% of cases. Ultrasound, an imaging procedure using sound waves, was five times more accurate in detecting abnormal growths.

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