When is a thyroid gland abnormal?

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
The hormones produced by the thyroid gland control much of our daily activities. If your thyroid is producing too much or too little of these, it's probably not operating properly. An enlarged thyroid, or goiter, is due to an insufficient intake of iodine. This condition was once commonplace, but has now become rare by the simple introduction of iodized table salt. Symptoms such as sweating, palpitations, insomnia, hyperactivity, or anxiety may indicate an overactive thyroid. An overactive thyroid can also be a symptom of a condition called Graves' disease. In most cases, treatment consists of antithyroid drugs or radioactive iodine. Occasionally, surgical removal of part of the thyroid may be necessary. Since the thyroid can store quite a bit of the hormones it produces, treatments may go on for six to eight weeks before a proper balance is achieved. An ear, nose and throat specialist can perform tests to check the hormone levels in your blood to ensure that your thyroid is functioning properly.

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