Doctor Is In: Thyroid Q And A - KMSP-TV

Doctor Is In: Thyroid Q And A

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Michael Singer, M.D. Director, Division of Thyroid & Parathyroid Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital joins Fox 2's Deena Centofanti to offer insight into Thyroid Disease.  Tune in live during 'The Nine' on Wednesday, May 8.

ABOUT THYROID DISEASE

Millions of Americans – mostly women – are affected by some type of thyroid disease.

Thyroid disease impacts the function of the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that controls the body's metabolic rate. Among these diseases are hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer and Graves' disease.

Fortunately, many of these diseases can be treated medically. For patients who do require surgery for thyroid disease, there now are a wide range of advanced and conventional surgical techniques available, allowing patients to receive therapies tailored to their unique needs and resulting in improved outcomes.

What is a sign that you have a thyroid condition?

Really depends of what the problem with the gland is

The gland's major function is the production of a hormone- thyroid hormone

Sets the overall metabolic rate in our system

Some call it the engine of the body

As with most glands, the thyroid gland can be overactive or underactive by making too much or too little of the hormone

If it makes too little, this is hypothyroidism.
 
You can imagine if you don't have enough of thyroid hormone you can feel sluggish, fatigue, you can gain weight, feel cold all the time, even feel depressed. This is a very common problem, particularly among women.

The opposite problem is making too much hormone or hyperthyroidism.
 
This can be caused by different problems - one of which is Graves disease,which might be familiar because this is where the eyes can bulge. Patients can feel jittery, anxious, loss too much weight, feel hot all the time, have trouble sleeping and heart palpitations.

Another common problem are thyroid nodules, which are growths within the thyroid gland

Can have one or many nodules in the gland

Having nodules very common- about 50% of people

They can be big- this is a goiter which means simply a big gland- which can cause problems swallowing or breathing. Also, these can contain cancer. However, many patients have no idea they have a nodule.

Can anything be done to maintain a healthy thyroid or prevent thyroid disease?

Unfortunately, there is no known way of preventing the different thyroid diseases.

What causes thyroid disease?

There are several causes of thyroid diseases:

Exposure to radiation.

Family history.

For the majority of people there is no clear cause of the disease. This is not like smoking leading to lung cancer.

What are some treatment options available to patients?

Again, it really depends of what the problem with the gland is

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
The great thing is that the treatment for this is taking replacement hormone- which is a once a day pill.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).  Treatment for this includes medications, radioactive iodine, and sometimes surgery.

Thyroid nodules, goiters, thyroid cancer.  The great thing for patients is that the way thyroid surgery is done has completely changed in the last decade or so.

Used to perform the same technique on all patients regardless of the size of the patient, size of the thyroid or the type of disease present.

Used to use big incisions, drains after the surgery, admitted to the hospital.

Now a number of minimally invasive, endoscopic, and even robotic techniques available. These surgeries are designed with the patient in mind- because they are less invasive:

Less pain after surgery
Shorter recovery
Ambulatory surgery
Small, well hidden incision

The key is that now we can tailor or customize the surgery to the needs of each patient; no longer a one size fits all approach.

Some great information on the website www.HenryFord.com/Thyroid.  You can also call  800-HENRY FORD, or 800-436-7936.

- Common thyroid disorders: http://www.henryford.com/body.cfm?id=58595

- Treatment A-Z: Along with medication options, surgical treatment options are: http://www.henryford.com/body.cfm?id=58594

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