Patients with thyroid conditions often have problems with their energy levels. They may also have problems with muscle strength, emotions, weight control, and tolerating heat or cold. Endocrinologists treat patients with too much or too little thyroid hormone (conditions respectively caused by either an overactive or underactive thyroid). They help patients reach a hormone balance by replacing or blocking thyroid hormone. Endocrinologists also receive special training to manage patients with thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer, and enlarged thyroid glands.
More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
The thyroid is a hormone-producing gland that regulates the body's metabolism—the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients and oxygen—and affects critical body functions, such as energy level and heart rate.
Treatment of thyroid disease must be individualized for each patient. There are a variety of options available for treating hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Treatment of hypothyroidism means replacing missing thyroid hormone(s) and monitoring with blood tests and symptoms. Treatment options for hypothyroidism include:
There is no "one size fits all" treatment. Discuss your options with your physician. Each time your thyroid medication is changed it takes 6-8 weeks for your hormone levels to stabilize. Most endocrinologists will order thyroid blood tests at this time interval and make dose adjustments based on both your symptoms and your hormone levels. Many patients have symptoms despite normal thyroid blood tests, therefore, your physician may change your medication even if your blood tests are normal.