Thyroid disease affects an estimated 20 million Americans, many of whom are completely unaware they even have a thyroid condition. In fact, researchers believe that more than 12% of the population will eventually develop one or more thyroid issues. That's why Alex M. Mercado, MD, A Primary Care Partners Affiliate, offers comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options for thyroid disease. To schedule an appointment, contact the Flanders, New Jersey office by phone or use the convenient online scheduling option.
Thyroid disease is a term used to describe several different thyroid disorders.
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front portion of your neck responsible for regulating numerous metabolic processes.
This gland produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). When your brain senses your thyroid hormones are too low or too high, it sends a thyroid-releasing hormone to your pituitary gland, which then triggers your thyroid to adjust those hormone levels as needed.
If disease, degeneration, or trauma damages any part of that chain of communications, your thyroid may not function properly.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone. Symptoms include fatigue, dry skin, constipation, and fluid retention. Some of the conditions that cause hypothyroidism include inflammation of the thyroid, thyroid hormone resistance, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Lupus.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. Common symptoms include rapid heartbeat, tremors, nervousness, and unintended weight loss. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by Graves disease, overconsumption of iodine, or a toxic multinodular goiter.
Thyroid nodules are abnormal lumps or masses inside your thyroid gland. Benign tumors or cysts sometimes cause them. Some people have only one nodule; others have many. Thyroid nodules range in size, and larger ones can compress surrounding structures.
Thyroid cancer occurs more often in women than in men, with most cases diagnosed in people over 55. There are several types of thyroid cancer and they have high survival rates if diagnosed and treated early.
There are several ways to treat a thyroid condition. For each one of them, however, the process begins with a thorough diagnostic exam. From there, Dr. Mercado creates your individualized treatment plan.
Medications can help regulate the production of thyroid hormone and can effectively treat hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. In cases where a sizeable hyperfunctioning nodule or a large goiter is present, surgery can be a great treatment path.
If your thyroid must be removed entirely, you’ll need supplemental synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of your life. Rest assured, however, that Dr. Mercado always looks for the most conservative treatment option first and makes sure you’re fully informed of the pros and cons of each choice before treatment begins.
To learn more about Dr. Mercado’s approach to diagnosing and treating thyroid conditions, schedule an appointment today.