Endocrinology (Diabetes / Metabolism)
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Thyroid Care in Albert Lea, Minnesota
Our expert endocrinology team treats a variety of thyroid conditions:
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body's metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Several treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes, hyperthyroidism treatment involves surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland.
Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, most people respond well once hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated.
Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems, which can make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose.
It also can cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including:
- Unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase
- Rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia — commonly more than 100 beats a minute
- Irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia
- Pounding of your heart, or palpitations
- Increased appetite
- Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
- Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
- Changes in menstrual patterns
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
- An enlarged thyroid gland, or goiter, that may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
- Fatigue, muscle weakness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Skin thinning
- Fine, brittle hair
Older adults are more likely to have no symptoms, or subtle symptoms, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities.
If you experience unexplained weight loss, a rapid heartbeat, unusual sweating, swelling at the base of your neck or other signs and symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism, see your doctor. It's important to completely describe the changes you've observed, because many signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism may be associated with several other conditions.
If you've been treated for hyperthyroidism or you are being treated, see your doctor regularly as advised so your condition can be monitored.
Learn more about hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain crucial hormones.
Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause several health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
Accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually simple, safe and effective once you and your doctor find the right dose.
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. Problems tend to develop slowly, often over several years.
At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain. Or you may simply attribute them to getting older. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more obvious problems.
Hypothyroidism signs and symptoms can include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Enlarged thyroid gland, or goiter
Symptoms vary for infants, children and teens.
See your doctor if you're feeling tired for no reason or have any of the other signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as dry skin; a pale, puffy face; constipation; or a hoarse voice.
If you're receiving hormone therapy for hypothyroidism, schedule follow-up visits as often as your doctor recommends. Initially, it's important to make sure you're receiving the correct dose of medicine. And over time, the dose you need may change.
Learn more about hypothyroidism.
Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid — a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.
Thyroid cancer might not cause any symptoms at first. But as it grows, it can cause pain and swelling in your neck.
Of thee several types of thyroid cancer, some grow slowly and others can be aggressive. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment.
Thyroid cancer rates seem to be increasing. Some doctors think this is because new technology is allowing them to find small thyroid cancers that may not have been found in the past.
Thyroid cancer typically doesn't cause any signs or symptoms early in the disease.
As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause:
- A lump, or nodule, that can be felt through the skin on your neck
- Changes to your voice, including increasing hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in your neck and throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck If you experience any signs or symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor.
Learn more about thyroid cancer.