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When the thyroid gland does not function as it should, a number of issues can occur.  

The thyroid is located at the base of the neck, and forms part of the endocrine system, a network of glands that is responsible for regulating many of the body’s important processes. When the thyroid gland does not function as it should — usually by producing too much or too little thyroid hormone — a number of health problems can occur. Read on to find out more about the most common problems associated with the thyroid, and what warning signs to look out for…

1.  Hyperthyroidism  

Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs as the result of an overactive thyroid gland. An overproduction of thyroid hormone can cause some of the body’s functions to speed up, which can then lead to symptoms like restlessness, increased heart rate, sweating, and anxiety. Other possible symptoms include thin skin and brittle hair and nails, as well as weight loss.

2.  Hypothyroidism  

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone — this causes many of the body’s important processes to slow down. Common symptoms of the condition include fatigue, weight gain, slow heart rate and problems related to fertility.

3.  Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, affecting its ability to produce hormones. The condition often goes unnoticed and the symptoms are often very similar to other health conditions because they are so non-specific in nature. Some of the possible warning signs of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include fatigue, depression, constipation, dry skin and hair, and an enlarged thyroid.

4.  Graves’ disease

An autoimmune disorder, Graves’ disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes an overproduction of the hormone that regulates the metabolism. The disease is genetic, and often leads to symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, excessive sweating, sleep-related problems, and weight loss.  

5.  Goitre

A goitre refers to an enlarged thyroid gland and is most often caused by an iodine deficiency. Goitres are noncancerous, but can cause some uncomfortable symptoms. These include a swollen or tight neck, difficulty breathing and swallowing, coughing and hoarseness.

6.  Thyroid nodules

Thyroid nodules refer to growths that develop on the thyroid gland. It is not always clear exactly what causes these growths, but some contributing factors include iodine deficiency, as well as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In most cases, thyroid nodules are benign, although it is possible for them to be cancerous. Most of these growths don’t causes any symptoms, but if they are left to grow big enough, they can cause the neck to swell and lead to discomfort and difficulty with swallowing and breathing. It is also possible for thyroid nodules to produce thyroid hormone, which can lead to abnormally high levels. This can then lead to symptoms that are similar to those associated with hyperthyroidism.

How can we help?

The good news is that all of these thyroid gland problems can be resolved with the right treatment plan. If you have noticed any of the symptoms associated with a thyroid-related condition, we encourage you to come in and see Associate Professor Navin Niles so that you can discuss your concerns and receive a proper diagnosis.

Associate Professor Navin Niles is an expert in his field and works with a team of knowledgeable specialists. He will guide you through each step of your treatment process, from the initial consultation to the surgery and recovery period. If you have any questions along the way, Associate Professor Navin Niles and his team will be happy to address them so that you feel empowered and informed.

If you would like to find out more about the procedures and services that Associate Professor Navin Niles offers, please have a look here. To arrange a consultation with Associate Professor Niles, please contact us here or give us a call on (02) 9810 9839.