The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits low in the front of the neck. It produces a hormone called thyroxine, which helps control the function of almost all of the body's cells and organs, including the heart, brain and skin.
Hypothroidism means the thyroid gland is producing too little thyroxine. The signs can typically be: depression, forgetfulness, slow thinking and speech, sleepiness, puffy face, dry skin, hoarse voice, coarse hair or hair loss, constipation, slow heartbeat, weight gain, feeling cold more often, sluggish and fatigue, cholesterol abnormalities, or heavy or irregular menstrual periods.
Hyperthyroidism means the thyroid is making too much thyroxine. Signs include: palpitations, heat intolerance, nervousness, insomnia, breathlessness, increased bowel movements, light or absent menstrual periods, fatigue, fast heart rate, trembling hands, weight loss, muscle weakness, warm moist skin and hair loss.
A thyroid nodule is an abnormal lump or growth on or within the gland. Symptoms are ear or neck pain, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or shortness of breath as the goiter presses on the trachea.
Medical evaluation begins with blood tests to determine thyroid levels, and may also include ultrasound examination of the gland. From this evaluation, appropriate treatment can be determined.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309