How Should I Treat My Thyroid Disorder?

Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013 09:47 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: I have an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), edema, swelling, weakness, elevated blood glucose, and thinning hair, but my doctor says my test results — particularly for thyroid — are in range.  What could be causing my symptoms and what medicine should I take?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
A goiter (enlarged thyroid) can occur as a result of iodine deficiency or autoimmune thyroiditis, as well as in some cases of Graves' disease despite apparently normal test readings. Iodine estimations are simple to calculate from a urine sample. Do not use iodine supplement unless you are confirmed deficient.
 
It is time to request a referral to an endocrinologist, assuming your doctor is not able to recognize or deal with the symptoms you have. You may have an endocrine disorder and should be evaluated further. Perhaps your thyroid enlargement is actually parathyroid gland (situated each pair above the thyroid gland) enlargement, or perhaps your adrenal glands (above your kidneys) are undergoing changes.
 
Simple imaging techniques will help sort this out and blood tests, in addition to your routine thyroid tests, should be done, as well. Expect the doctor to check you for any evidence of cortisone overproduction and you should also be aware that increased fat in the neck are is often confused with an enlarging thyroid gland.
 

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