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We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Thyroid Disease Currently, about 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.

Learn what causes it and how it's treated. Overview Diagnosis and Tests Management and Treatment. What is the thyroid?

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Common Thyroid Gland Diseases and Problems to Watch For

What is thyroid disease? Who is affected by thyroid disease?

Thyroid function

What causes thyroid disease? The following conditions cause hypothyroidism: Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. This can lower the amount of hormones produced. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a painless disease of the immune system that is hereditary. It is usually a temporary condition.

All Thyroid Diseases

Iodine deficiency is a problem affecting approximately million people around the world. Iodine is used by the thyroid to produce hormones. Although prevalent before the s in the United States, iodine deficiency has been virtually wiped out by the use of iodized salt. A non-functioning thyroid gland affects one in 4, newborns. If the problem isn't corrected, the child will be physically and mentally retarded.

All newborns are given a screening blood test in the hospital to evaluate thyroid function. The following conditions cause hyperthyroidism: With Graves' disease, the entire thyroid gland might be overactive and produce too much hormone.

What to know about common thyroid disorders

This problem is also called diffuse toxic goiter enlarged thyroid gland. Nodules might be overactive within the thyroid. A single nodule is called toxic autonomously functioning thyroid nodule, while several nodules are called a toxic multi-nodular goiter. Thyroiditis, a disorder that can be painful or painless, can also release hormones that were stored in the thyroid gland causing hyperthyroidism for a few weeks or months. Should we follow systemic lupus erythematosus patients for the development an autoimmune thyroid disease? Given that lupus patients are predisposed to the development of autoimmune thyroid diseases, screening of lupus patients for autoimmune thyroid diseases can be considered.

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Furthermore, some of the nonspecific complaints of autoimmune thyroid diseases such as fatigue, hair loss and joint pain can be attributed to SLE. For this reason, a periodic thyroid disease screening can be justified to rule out subclinical and clinical autoimmune thyroid disease.


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However, this was not a strong recommendation as the number and quality of studies addressing the question were limited. Pregnant women with lupus and also thyroid disease may have a greater risk of pregnancy complications, so women should be screened who are considering pregnancy. Is there any risk of developing thyroid cancer in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus? The frequency of thyroid cancer is higher in patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases, including patients with lupus, compared to that of the general population.

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Based on a meta-analysis combined analysis of recent studies, the risk of thyroid cancer in lupus patients is doubled compared to that of the general population. The proposed mechanism of this association is possibly due to the basic defects in the immune system function of lupus patients, resulting in immune dysregulation. Similar to the general population, lupus patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases should be checked for thyroid cancer if they develop thyroid nodules.

Patients with autoimmune thyroid disease are also at increased risk for development of lymphoma.

Thyroid Animation

What are the commonly used medications for the treatment of autoimmune thyroid disease? Treatment for Hashimoto's disease may include observation or medications.


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If the thyroid gland is functioning normally, observation is recommended. However, if Hashimoto's disease causes thyroid hormone deficiency, patients will need thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This usually involves the use of synthetic form of thyroxine T4 , which is levothyroxine.


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Treatment with levothyroxine is usually lifelong, causes no side effects when used in the appropriate dose and is also safe during pregnancy. The treatment goal for Graves' disease is to inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. Some treatments include:.