Thyroid disease is a common condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce the proper amount of hormones needed by the body. Thyroid hormones help regulate the body’s heart rate, temperature and metabolism. A malfunctioning gland may be producing too much or too little of these hormones for a number of different reasons, such as an autoimmune disease, exposure to radiation, reaction to medication or pregnancy.
Hyperthyroidism is an overproduction of thyroid hormones, while hypothyroidism is an underproduction. Although these are different conditions, both can lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland, heart problems and other complications. Treatment for thyroid conditions usually includes medication to increase or decrease hormone production, or surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland.