Thyroid Disorders

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Robert Ferry Jr., MD

    Robert Ferry Jr., MD

    Robert Ferry Jr., MD, is a U.S. board-certified Pediatric Endocrinologist. After taking his baccalaureate degree from Yale College, receiving his doctoral degree and residency training in pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), he completed fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

View the Hyperthyroidism Slideshow Pictures
thyroid problem picture

Thyroid Disease

Thyroid Disease Symptoms and Signs

Thyroid disease is a common problem that can cause symptoms because of over- or under-function of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an essential organ for producing thyroid hormones, which maintain are body metabolism. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck below the Adam's apple. Thyroid disease can also sometimes lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck, which can cause symptoms that are directly related to the increase in size of the organ (such as difficulty swallowing and discomfort in front of the neck).

Quick GuideThyroid Anatomy, Symptoms, and Disorders

Thyroid Anatomy, Symptoms, and Disorders

What are thyroid disorders?

Thyroid disorders are conditions that affect the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. The thyroid has important roles to regulate numerous metabolic processes throughout the body. Different types of thyroid disorders affect either its structure or function.

The thyroid gland is located below the Adam's apple wrapped around the trachea (windpipe). A thin area of tissue in the gland's middle, known as the isthmus, joins the two thyroid lobes on each side. The thyroid uses iodine to produce vital hormones. Thyroxine, also known as T4, is the primary hormone produced by the gland. After delivery via the bloodstream to the body's tissues, a small portion of the T4 released from the gland is converted to triiodothyronine (T3), which is the most active hormone.

The function of the thyroid gland is regulated by a feedback mechanism involving the brain. When thyroid hormone levels are low, the hypothalamus in the brain produces a hormone known as thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) that causes the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain) to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to release more T4.

Since the thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, disorders of these tissues can also affect thyroid function and cause thyroid problems.

Picture of the thyroid gland
Picture of the thyroid gland

What are the specific kinds of thyroid disorders?

There are specific kinds of thyroid disorders that includes:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2015
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Thyroid Disorders - Experience

    Please describe the type of thyroid disorder you have, and your experience with the disorder.

    Post View 26 Comments
  • Thyroid Disorders - Treatment

    What type of thyroid disorder do you have, and what treatments have you received?

    Post View 4 Comments
  • Thyroid Disorders - Surgery

    What type of thyroid disorder did/do you have, and please describe your experience with surgery for the disorder.

    Post
  • Thyroid Disorders - Diagnosis

    How was your thyroid disorders diagnosed?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Thyroid Disorders - Hypothyroidism

    Please describe your experience with hypothyroidism.

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Thyroid Disorders - Hyperthyroidism

    Please describe your experience with hyperthyroidism.

    Post View 6 Comments
  • Thyroid Disorders - Goiter

    Please describe your experience with thyroid goiter.

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Thyroid Disorders - Nodules

    Please describe your experience with thyroid nodules.

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Thyroid Disorders - Symptoms and Signs

    What type of thyroid disorder do you have, and what were your symptoms and signs?

    Post View 12 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors