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Your thyroid produces important hormones that regulate how your body functions. We’re here to keep it working properly, so you can feel your best.

What is the thyroid?

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your throat that produces important hormones. These hormones travel all over your body to regulate functions including your heart rate, breathing, muscle strength, body temperature, body weight, cholesterol and your central nervous system.

Thyroid hormone levels are controlled by a feedback loop between the thyroid and two glands in your brain called the hypothalamus and the pituitary. The hypothalamus and pituitary monitor levels of thyroid hormones in the blood and tell your thyroid to make more or less of them. The two key thyroid hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy are:

  • Thyroxine, also known as T4
  • Triiodothyronine, known as T3

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Our specialists are trained in thyroid care. Schedule a consultation today.

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What are the symptoms of hypothyroid? 

When your thyroid hormone levels are too low in your body, everything in your body begins to slow down. You may experience common symptoms such as:
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Weight gain
  • Aching joints and muscles
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness or brain fog
  • Fine, brittle hair and nails
  • Dry skin
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Depression

Risk factors for hypothyroidism

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This disease causes the immune system to mistakenly attack a healthy thyroid gland. As a result, the thyroid becomes inflamed and is no longer able to make enough thyroid hormones.
Certain behaviors, genetics and risk factors can also increase your chance of developing hypothyroidism, including:
  • Family history: If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, Grave’s disease or another thyroid condition, you have a greater risk for developing hypothyroidism.
  • Being female: Women are more likely to develop hypothyroidism.
  • Age: The risk of developing hypothyroidism increases with age, most frequently affecting those age 60 and older.
  • Other risk factors: Other risk factors that can increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism include:
    • Pregnancy
    • Prior thyroid surgery
    • A low-iodine diet
    • History of an autoimmune condition or autoimmune conditions

Diagnosing hypothyroidism 

Our endocrinology specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating all kinds of thyroid conditions. Some of the diagnostic tests your doctor may perform to test for hypothyroidism include:
  • Blood tests: Your doctor may start by ordering bloodwork to evaluate your thyroid function and help diagnose any underlying thyroid conditions. A typical thyroid panel can include measuring your levels of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), free T3 and T4, reverse T3 and T4, and thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies.

  • Thyroid ultrasound: An ultrasound takes an image of your thyroid and throat area using sound waves. Your healthcare provider will review these images to look for any concerning issues.

  • Imaging tests: Diagnostic imaging tests, such MRIs, CT scans and PET scans, are used to produce detailed pictures of your thyroid gland and throat area. 

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Treating hypothyroidism

Our team of thyroid specialists is experienced in diagnosing and treating all kinds of thyroid conditions, including hypothyroidism.
Depending on the type and severity of your condition, one or more of the following treatments may be recommended. 
Lifestyle changes

You can make several lifestyle changes that your doctor may suggest to help manage your symptoms. These may include:

  • Increasing sleep
  • Exercise
  • Change in diet
  • Reducing stress
  • Emotional support

Your doctor may recommend prescription medications to help manage your symptoms and treat your hypothyroidism. This may include medications to regulate the amount of hormones your thyroid produces.

The latest surgical techniques, including minimally invasive surgery, might be right for treating your hypothyroidism to offer you the best outcomes and path for healing. You can rest assured that your team of specialized surgeons have the skill and level of training they need to perform thyroid surgeries.

Thyroid care at Geisinger

Our endocrinology team is here to provide you with compassionate care and the most advanced available. We offer:

  • The knowledge you need – Your care team is powered by endocrinologists, surgeons, doctors and specialists with years of training and experience. Their expertise has been honed by treating many people with thyroid issues every year. And their focus is on delivering the care best suited to your needs.

  • Care designed for you, where you live – With locations throughout northeast, central and south-central Pennsylvania, our experienced team provides consultations and comprehensive care. We offer leading-edge treatment options and tailored-to-you care, backed by the expertise and innovation of a nationally recognized health system. 

  • Comprehensive specialty care – Our endocrine specialists are dedicated to offering innovative treatment options and personalized care in convenient locations, so you don’t have to travel far. We’ll work with you to develop a personalized care plan based on your individual needs.

  • Genetic testing and counseling programs – Special research programs such as MyCode® are only available at Geisinger. Participating in MyCode allows you to contribute to genetic research. By participating, some may receive information about their own genetic risks. Learn about MyCode.
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