Throughout each premed virtual shadowing session, you will actively participate by answering and asking questions about the week’s proposed case. Like an in-person shadowing experience, we strive to stimulate students intellectually and ultimately reaffirm their interest in medicine.
Introduction – Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid is essential to the metabolic functions of a multitude of organs in the body. Besides thyroid cancer, there are two primary classifications for thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
A 35 y/o F attorney presents to the clinic with worsening fatigue. She notes that for the past 2 months she has been experiencing lingering tiredness despite sleeping 8+ hours per night. She denies depression and states “I am too busy for that” but does report constipation, hair loss, and a 10-lb weight gain over two months despite not feeling very hungry. She notes at the firm, most of her co-workers are hot while she is bundled up with “as many clothes as I can find.” Her last normal period was “normal,” though she does admit there was a heavier flow than usual. She states previously she felt very well with a lot of energy but recently had “a cold and felt terrible” following this. No significant PMH.
Above: Hypothalamic-pituitary axis
There are primarily two ways to classify thyroid disorders:
In terms of risk factors, etiologies, or exposures of which place one at risk for developing a thyroid disorder, we might consider the following:
To diagnose thyroid disorders, the gold standard test is the TSH. The TSH value in combination with the Free T3/T4 can point us in the direction of whether we are dealing with a hypothyroid or hyperthyroid state.
Treatment is directed towards whether we are dealing with hypothyroid or hyperthyroid state:
Take home points