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Thyroid Nodules and Autoimmune Disorders

by | Jun 5, 2024

Discover expert care for thyroid nodules and its link to autoimmune thyroid diseases at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic, a specialized thyroid nodules clinic in Singapore. Our dedicated thyroid nodules specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, offers advanced diagnostics, personalized treatment plans, and compassionate support to ensure optimal thyroid health. 

woman speaking into a microphone

Understanding the Thyroid

Your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland at the base of your throat. The thyroid is responsible for controlling metabolism by making and releasing hormones into your body. When the thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can cause autoimmune diseases. The appearance of a thyroid nodule is one of the signs that the thyroid isn’t working.

 

What is a Thyroid Nodule?

Any unusual growth on the thyroid is referred to as a nodule. These nodules are a cluster of thyroid cells that form a lump in your neck that may not be noticeable. Most thyroid nodules are not cancerous, but you should have any thyroid nodules checked out to rule out a malignancy. If your thyroid isn’t outwardly lumpy, you may have the symptoms of an autoimmune disease.

 

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

When the body attacks itself – harming healthy tissues and organs – that’s an autoimmune disease.  The disorder can attack any part of the body, weakening overall function and occasionally causing life-threatening problems. There are over 80 diagnosed autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabete and lupus, but a malfunctioning thyroid is responsible for only two of the most common disorders – Graves disease and Hashimoto’s syndrome.

 

Graves Disease

When the thyroid goes into overdrive, producing more hormones than the body needs, that is diagnosed as hyperthyroidism. Sudden weight loss, bulging eyes, trouble toleraing heat, and an increased heartbeat are some of the symptoms of Graves disease. Severe Graves has  some life-threating complications.

  • Rapid heartbeat that can result in stroke, blood clots, or heart failure
  • Osteoporosis and muscle weakness
  • Changes in vision, eye discomfort, and gritty-feeling eyes
  • Difficulty with pregnancy and fertility

 

Hashimotos Disease

The opposite of hyperthyroidism is Hashimotos disease – hypothyroidism, when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. The symptoms of Hashimotos are weight gain, a slower heart rate, feeling sluggish, joint and muscle pain, and difficult menstrual periods. Untreated, Hashimotos can cause high cholesterol, which could lead to heart disease or heart failure,and  high blood pressure.

 

Diagnosing Thyroid Nodules

Dr. Manish Taneja at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore can determine if you have a lumpy thyroid.   The first thing we do is physically feel your neck for the telltale nodules, then run a blood test that checks the levels of your thyroid hormones: thyroxine, or T4, and TSH, a thyroid-stimulating hormone. These results determine if the nodules are a sign of a deeper problem. The main goals when assessing a thyroid nodule are to determine if it is cancerous and to check thyroid function. 

In some cases, if your thyroid levels are off,  he will run more extensive tests to rule out any cancerous malignancy, and run an ultrasound image of your thyroid. This imaging is a critical component of a thyroid nodule diagnosis. The high-frequency sound waves create a digital picture of your thyroid, so they can tell if the nodule is solid or cystic (filled with fluid), and the exact size of the nodule. Ultrasound can also detect nodules that are too small  to find in a physical exam, and identify characteristics of cancerous nodules. Normally, an ultrasound scan followed by fine needle biopsy (FNAC) is done to decide on nature of the thyroid nodules.

 

Thyroid Nodules Treatment

Absent a cancer diagnosis, which typically requires surgery to remove the gland, treatment of nodules is dependent on individual hormone levels and symptoms. Some treatment methods may include the following.

  • Prescription hormone (levothyroxin) to prevent further nodule growth, or reduce nodule size.
  • Radioiodine can be prescribed for hot nodules (the ones responsible for excessive hormones.
  • Radiofrequency ablation of thyroid nodules is a non-surgical option and minimally invasive treatment with several benefits.
  • A thyroidectomy removes the thyroid, and the patient will compensate for the loss with replacement hormones.

 

Managing Thyroid Nodules in Singapore

Manage your thyroid issues with regular appointments with your doctor. Also, you can improve your overall outcome by reading our guide to on our blog post, “How to Keep Your Thyroid Nodule Healthy” or learn ways to maintain a thyroid healthy diet, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep. If you smoke, now is the time to quit as smoking adds stress to the body.  Our thyroid nodule specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja, in Singapore at Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic can guide you to a thyroid healthy lifestyle.  We’re here to help you through all the stages of thyroid and autoimmune diseases.

Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Treatment

Radiofrequency ablation aims to give patients a non-surgical option for treating thyroid nodules. This procedure is a minimally invasive option that a surgeon can perform, should the preliminary tests determine that you would benefit from it.

The Advantages of RFA of Thyroid Nodules
The major advantages of the technique are as below.

  1. It is done as day surgery procedure under light sedation.
  2. It takes about 45 minutes to one hour to complete the entire procedure.
  3. Patients are discharged the same day.
  4. Normal thyroid tissue adjacent to the nodule is preserved.
  5. It does not affect thyroid function.
  6. Multiple nodules can be treated at same time.
  7. The treated nodules do not regrow again.
  8. No surgical scar with needle mark on the skin.
  9. Quick recovery and back to full activity and normal lifestyle.
  10. The technique is suitable to treat even large thyroid nodules.

Find out how thyroid nodule Radiofrequency Ablation can help you in a minimally invasive way on our blog post, “Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment: Diagnosis,  Management, and Recovery.”

Find the Right Doctor

From family and internal medicine to specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja is the best in the field. As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist, Dr Manish Taneja looks after peripheral vascular disease, aneurysms, dialysis interventions, venous diseases like deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins/spider veins/reticular veins. He is also competent in performing newer endovascular procedures such as uterine artery embolization, prostate artery embolization, genicular artery embolization, and erectile dysfunction interventions. Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.

Read More About Vascular Treatments on Our Blog

To dive deeper into the types of vascular treatments such as thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation, head over to our clinic’s blog.  Read our recommended vascular treatments related blog posts to stay informed.

Thyroid Nodule Resources

How to Keep Thyroid Healthy for Optimal Well-Being

As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid hormones must be perfectly balanced at all times for the body to function normally.

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Caring For Your Thyroid Health

Have you ever experienced difficulty swallowing or breathing? You may have risk factors including a family history of thyroid nodules or iodine deficiency. Thyroid nodules are abnormal lumps (growths) within the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland located below your voice box. Even if most thyroid nodules are benign, 10-15% of nodules are cancerous. Sometimes overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue can lead to hyperthyroidism. In other cases, multiple nodules can form in the thyroid called multinodular goiter. Fluid filled thyroid cysts can be one type of thyroid nodule within the thyroid. More complex nodules may lead to thyroid cancers. Depending on the root cause and type of nodule you have, patients can monitor with regular ultrasound or even have a thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAC) if required. Surgery to remove partial or whole thyroid gland can be done but thanks to minimally invasive treatments such as Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), this procedure can treat noncancerous and cancerous thyroid lumps.

Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer

Watch our video guide and find out more on our blog post, “Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer” with the types, causes, evaluation, biopsy, treatment options, and when to see a thyroid specialist. Find answers to questions on whether thyroid nodules are cancerous or not.

Arrange Your Appointment

Consult Vascular Specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and pain management. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our thyroid nodule specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.