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Conditions We Treat: Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid gland, an endocrine gland located in the neck just below the Adam's apple, produces hormones that play a key role in regulating blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, metabolism and the reaction of the body to other hormones. The two main hormones produced by the thyroid are thyroxine and triiodothyronine. It also produces calcitonin, which stimulates bone cells to add calcium to bone and regulate calcium metabolism.

Thyroid Disorders:  What You Need to Know

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  • Hypothyroidism, when the thyroid gland underproduces hormones, may lead to tiredness, weight gain, depression, abnormal bone development, mental retardation and stunted growth. The most common cause is the body's immune reaction to itself, when it produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. One such autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. Treatment of other thyroid conditions may induce hypothyroidism.
  • Hyperthryoidism, thyroid gland overproduction, can lead to Grave’s disease, accelerated metabolism, sweating, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), weight loss and nervousness.
  • Thyroid adenomas, small growths or nodules, start in the cell layer that lines the inner surface of the thyroid gland. The adenoma itself may secrete the thyroid hormone, and if it secretes enough thyroid hormone, it may cause hyperthyroidism. Thyroid adenomas may be treated if they cause hyperthyroidism, and treatment may include surgery to remove part of the thyroid (the overactive nodule).
  • Cancer of the thyroid occurs more often in people who have undergone radiation to the head, neck or chest. However, it may also occur in those without any known risk factors. There are four main types of thyroid cancer: papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer. Most thyroid cancer can be cured with appropriate treatment.

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Why choose Johns Hopkins for treatment of thyroid disorders?

Accurate treatment of thyroid disorders often requires collaborating with different areas and specialties, including the Johns Hopkins Thyroid Tumor Center.

Our thyroid team is made up of world-class endocrinologists, specialists and researchers, including the director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, the current chair of the Subspecialty Board for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and a recipient of the American Thyroid Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

Physicians

Our Physicians


 
 
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Our Patient Care


The medical specialists in the Thyroid Tumor Center offer comprehensive treatment for all of your thyroid disorder-related needs. Physicians can often remove cancerous tumors without destroying the vocal cord nerves, thereby preserving speech, and our experts are recognized for their expertise in treating the most challenging cases.

 
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Our Research
 

Along with providing patient care, we also perform clinical and molecular biology research into the causes, effects and treatment of thyroid disorders such as molecular markers of thyroid cancer and clinical studies of patients with hyperparathyroidism.

Our research includes clinical application of new diagnostic and prognostic markers that could improve recognition, management of thyroid cancer, and new chemotherapeutic approaches to metastatic thyroid cancer.