Thyroid Diseases

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that site in the neck under the Adam's apple. It regulates the body's metabolism by sending thyroid hormone to the organs through the blood. Two conditions, an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) and an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can result when the thyroid isn't working right.


An overactive thyroid gland generates too much thyroid hormone, which speeds up metabolism. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

·       rapid heart rate

·       frequent bowel movements, even diarrhea

·       excessive perspiration

·       weakness

·       insomnia

·       irritability and anxiety

·       increased appetite

·       weight loss

The first line of treatment for an overactive thyroid gland is drug therapy. If that doesn't resolve the problem, a dose of radioactive iodine may fix the problem by destroying thyroid cells. Sometimes the treatment damages so much of the gland that it can't produce enough thyroid hormone and it becomes necessary to take thyroid hormone. Surgery to remove some of the thyroid gland can be an option when other treatments don't work or aren't advisable.


An underactive thyroid gland doesn't generate enough thyroid hormone. This condition, which slows metabolism, is increasingly common with age. It can also be caused by Hashimoto's disease, a condition in which the body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland, or by thyroiditis, an inflammation of the gland.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

·       fatigue

·       constipation

·       dry skin

·       muscle pain

·       hair loss

·       weight gain


Hypothyroidism is usually treated by taking thyroid hormone.

Thyroid Diseases Articles

Overactive thyroid and afib

An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can cause a fast heartbeat, trouble sleeping, and weight loss. In some people, the condition may trigger the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation. (Locked) More »

Thyroid disorders and heart conditions: What’s the connection?

Thyroid disorders are often overlooked as the cause of heart problems. An underactive thyroid may cause blood pressure problems, a slow heart rate, an increase in cholesterol, an increase in fluid around the heart, and heart failure. An overactive thyroid can cause the heart to beat faster, which can lead to palpitations or an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation (afib). Treating the thyroid may help relieve symptoms and may reverse some heart conditions. However, it’s very difficult to reverse afib in someone with ongoing hyperthyroidism.  (Locked) More »

Do you need a thyroid test?

About one-fourth of women over 60 have low levels of thyroid hormone, which might not cause symptoms yet still raise “bad” cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease. A thyroid test is a good idea for women at risk. More »

Thyroid hormone: How it affects your heart

Located at the base of the throat, the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland releases hormones that affect every organ in the body—especially the heart. Too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) slows the heart rate and may boost blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) can cause the heart to beat harder and faster and may trigger abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure. A simple blood test can diagnose thyroid problems, and treatment may improve heart-related problems. (Locked) More »

The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

Low thyroid hormone production, or hypothyroidism, can bring on a range of symptoms that may easily be confused with aging. A guide to hypothyroidism and how to treat it. More »

Could those common symptoms be thyroid trouble?

Sluggishness, fuzzy thinking, and unexplained weight gain are often missed as symptoms of an underactive thyroid. Harvard experts say it’s because the symptoms are often nonspecific, and since older adults generally have more of these nonspecific symptoms, they are even more likely to miss the problem. An underactive thyroid is diagnosed by measuring the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood. The condition is treated with synthetic thyroid hormones called levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl). (Locked) More »

How thyroid hormone affects the heart

The thyroid gland secretes hormones that regulate metabolism and energy levels. When it produces too little thyroid hormone, the heart can lose pumping strength, and cholesterol and blood pressure rise. Too much thyroid hormone can cause the heart to race and raises the risk of developing heart failure. Anyone with heart disease who has the symptoms of thyroid trouble should see their cardiologist or primary care doctor for simple blood test. (Locked) More »

Could you have a thyroid problem-and not know it?

  Many older women have an underactive or overactive thyroid gland that doesn’t quite meet the criteria for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. This is called a subclinical thyroid problem. A simple blood test can reveal a subclinical thyroid problem. Subclinical hypothyroidism often does not need to be treated. Subclinical hyperthyroidism is often treated to prevent bone loss and heart problems.   (Locked) More »