If you’re facing a thyroid disorder or cancer, you’re not alone. 20 million people across the country are thought to have a thyroid disorder, most of them women, according to the American Thyroid Association. Of these 20 million, 60% of them are living without knowing they have a thyroid condition.
One celebrity is advocating for people to have their thyroid tested: Sofia Vergara of ABC’s hit sitcom Modern Family. Vergara, now 40, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of just 28.
Vergara underwent radiation treatment and her thyroid was removed. Like others who have had their thyroid removed, Vergara now depends on daily thyroid medication to correct the hypothyroidism caused by the loss of this important organ.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ located in your throat. It is a main center for your endocrine system, releasing hormones that regulate your metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), thyroid cancer had increased two-fold since 1974. Thyroid cancer may be caused by environmental factors. The medical field thinks that lifestyle, inherited genetics, and diet have little to do with why thyroid cancer develops. The cancer may be asymptomatic or you or your doctor may notice swelling in your neck.
Despite the increase of thyroid cancer, it is usually caught early and is highly treatable. Treatment usually involves removing either part or all of the thyroid gland as well as radiation. Removal of the thyroid does cause hypothyroidism, a condition where the body doesn’t create enough thyroid hormone for the body to function properly.
Hypothyroidism can occur independently of cancer. Signs of hypothyroidism include:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Fatigue and feelings of sluggishness
- Weight gain
Thus those who have their thyroid removed are reliant on taking a synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of their life. People who suffer from hypothyroidism independently from cancer usually also need to take a synthetic hormone.
It can take some tweaking for an endocrinologist to determine the correct dosage of thyroid hormone for those who have had their thyroid removed. That’s why it is pivotal to have an endocrinologist who is capable, confident, and trustworthy. The thyroid specialists at Gainesville’s Accent Endocrinology provide all the necessary services to effectively manage your thyroid disorder. Contact our office today if your primary care physician has recommended you seek the advice of an endocrinologist.