Thyroid Disease

Expert care for thyroid disorders in San Diego

A smiling middle-aged woman talks to her doctor, representing the expert and compassionate thyroid disease treatment at Scripps.

Expert care for thyroid disorders in San Diego

Thyroid diseases affect more than 20 million Americans and occurs more often in women than men. Because the thyroid gland produces hormones that control important functions, such as heart rate and metabolism, thyroid problems may require treatment to help you get back to feeling good. 

The endocrinologists at Scripps diagnose and treat all types of thyroid disorders.

About thyroid diseases

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It has two halves known as lobes — one on each side of the neck — joined at the base by a strip of tissue called the isthmus.

The thyroid is one of the glands that make up the endocrine system, which produces and stores hormones and releases them into the bloodstream. Thyroid hormones help regulate vital body functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and metabolism.

The thyroid gland uses iodine from food to produce two thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and, to a lesser extent, triiodothyronine (T3). Glands in the brain release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to control how much thyroid hormone the thyroid needs to release to keep the body functioning properly. If thyroid hormone levels are too high or too low, health problems can develop.

Thyroid tests and diagnosis

If you have symptoms of thyroid disease, your endocrinology doctor may recommend diagnostic testing. Scripps endocrinologists use blood, lab and imaging tests to diagnose thyroid disorders.

Blood test

A blood sample is collected and checked for abnormal levels of hormones and other substances that can indicate a problem with the thyroid. Blood tests can let your doctor know if your thyroid is functioning properly and if you need treatment.

Nuclear medicine scan

A nuclear medicine tracer is swallowed or injected into a vein and absorbed by the thyroid gland. A camera tracks where the radioactivity is. By measuring the amount of radioactivity that is taken up by the thyroid gland, doctors may determine whether the gland is functioning normally.

If your doctor believes you may have thyroid cancer, you may have additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as a biopsy, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI or PET scan.

Treatment and management

Treatment for thyroid issues depends on the condition and the severity of symptoms. Scripps endocrinology specialists treat thyroid disorders using evidence-based treatments and therapies to relieve symptoms, get your thyroid hormone levels back on track and help you feel better quickly.