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Health Education Blog

A Beginners Guide to Thyroid Disease and Other Thyroid Issues

Posted by Staff on March 21, 2023

Blog A Beginners Guide to Thyroid Disease and Other Thyroid IssuesDespite the significant impact that thyroid disease can have on a person's health and well-being, it is still a relatively under-discussed and underdiagnosed condition. According to the American Thyroid Association, approximately 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid cancer and about 60% of people with a thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.

Many people with thyroid disease may not realize that their symptoms are related to the thyroid gland, as the symptoms can be diverse and affect many different parts of the body. For example, symptoms such as fatigue, weight changes, and mood disturbances may be mistakenly attributed to stress or other factors, rather than being recognized as signs of thyroid disease.

These factors make thyroid disease difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms can be subtle and overlap with other conditions. This can lead to delays in treatment, which can further complicate the condition and lead to more severe symptoms.

Common Thyroid Issues

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck that plays a vital role in regulating many of the body's essential functions, including metabolism, growth, and development. When the thyroid is not functioning properly, it can lead to a variety of health problems and disorders, including thyroid disease.

Thyroid disease is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. There are several types of thyroid disease, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid cancer.

  • Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones, which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and depression.
  • Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, occurs when the thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms such as weight loss, tremors, and anxiety.
  • Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the thyroid gland. Symptoms can include a lump or swelling in the neck, difficulty swallowing or breathing, hoarseness or other changes in voice, and pain or discomfort in the neck or throat.

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Another common thyroid disorder is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland and the immune system. In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and damage. This can cause the thyroid to become enlarged and produce fewer hormones, leading to symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States and affects women more often than men. It is often diagnosed through a combination of blood tests and a physical exam, and treatment typically involves hormone replacement therapy to replace the missing thyroid hormones.

Connection Between Thyroid Disease and Diabetes

Interestingly, there is a link between thyroid disease and diabetes. Research suggests that people with type 1 diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing thyroid disease, particularly hypothyroidism. Additionally, some studies have found that people with hypothyroidism may be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you are concerned about this connection for yourself or a loved one there are ways you can set yourself up for the best case possible according to Verywell.

Prevention and Management

If you have been diagnosed with either thyroid disease or diabetes, achieving and maintaining your ideal weight is one of the best ways to prevent the other condition. Keeping your blood sugar or thyroid hormones under control can also help.

If you have insulin resistance, in which the body doesn't respond to insulin as it should, thyroid disease can make your blood sugar harder to control. By managing insulin resistance with medications, diet, and exercise, you may be able to avoid diabetes as well as complications of thyroid disease.

By managing hyperthyroidism with medications, diet, and exercise, you may also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.


If you have diabetes or thyroid disease, maintaining an ideal weight may help you avoid getting the other condition. Properly managing your blood sugar or thyroid hormone can also help.


Diabetes and thyroid disease are closely linked. If you have hyperthyroidism, your insulin levels can drop and your blood sugar can rise, increasing the risk of diabetes. If you have hypothyroidism, the opposite can occur and lead to bouts of low blood sugar.

On the flip side, type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune form of diabetes) can increase the risk of Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves' disease (autoimmune forms of thyroid disease). Problems with the HPA axis, a group of organs that produce the stress hormone cortisol, can also have a negative effect on insulin and thyroid hormone levels.

If you have diabetes or thyroid disease, properly managing your condition and maintaining an ideal weight may reduce your risk of developing the other condition.

A Word From Verywell

Because there is a significant risk of thyroid problems in people with type 1 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that everyone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes be tested for hypothyroidism soon after their diagnosis.7

Even if the results are normal, the ADA recommends follow-up tests at least once every two years.7

[Get more information and helpful tips by reading the full article on Verywell]

Could You Have a Thyroid Problem and Not Know it?

Though not often talked about the thyroid gland plays a critical role in regulating many of the body's essential functions, and thyroid disease is a common condition that can lead to a range of health problems.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of thyroid disease, such as fatigue, weight changes, or mood disturbances, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your thyroid, please contact our Medical Specialty Centers and schedule an appointment.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

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