What's a Thyroid, and What Happens When It Malfunctions?

Under normal circumstances, your thyroid functions normally, producing critical hormones that regulate everything from metabolism to body temperature. But when something goes awry with this gland, it can cast a wide net over your health and wellness. Fortunately, there are solutions.

Michael Sutker, MD has a keen understanding of thyroid issues and helps our patients address any problems that crop up. The key, however, is diagnosing the problem, and that starts with you. This is why we’ve pulled together a brief look at some of the more common symptoms to recognize when it comes to a malfunction in your thyroid.

Thyroid 101

To better understand what happens to your body when your thyroid malfunctions, it’s helpful to review what your thyroid accomplishes when it’s functioning properly. 

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the base of your neck, and it’s responsible for producing hormones, those tiny chemical messengers that regulate every function in your body. While your thyroid produces several different hormones, the key hormone it secretes is called thyroxine (T4). This hormone regulates your metabolism, growth, development, and body temperature.

This first item on that list is an important one: Your metabolism is responsible for all of the processes in your body that create and use energy. Sure, burning calories is important, but your metabolism also controls your heart rate and how you digest food.

Signs of a dysfunctional thyroid

Knowing that an improperly functioning thyroid can create a wide range of issues, you need to be able to identify a problem. What follows are the two most common thyroid problems and the primary symptoms with each:

Hypothyroidism

This is a condition in which your thyroid is underproducing hormones, which can lead to:

To determine whether hypothyroidism is responsible for your problems, we run a simple blood test to check your hormone levels.

Hyperthyroidism

On the other end of the spectrum of thyroid malfunctions is hyperthyroidism, a condition in which your gland overproduces hormones, which can lead to:

Here again, a simple blood test with us will reveal whether hyperthyroidism is present.

Treating a malfunctioning thyroid

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should come in and see us so we can run some tests to determine whether your thyroid is producing hormones as it should. If we find a problem, we can often treat it through medications that either encourage or stem hormone production in your thyroid.

If there’s a larger problem, such as thyroid cancer, we get you on the road to the right treatment as quickly as possible.

If you suspect you may have a problem with your thyroid, contact our office in Dallas, McKinney, Texas, to set up a consultation. Give us a call or schedule an appointment using our convenient online booking feature. 

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