Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck that produces thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone controls many of the body’s functions, such as heart rate and how fast calories are burned. Diseases of the thyroid cause it to make either too much or too little of the hormone. Depending on how much or how little hormone your thyroid makes, it can cause you to feel restless or tired, or cause you to lose or gain weight. Common types of thyroid disease include thyroid nodules, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), Graves’ disease, goiters, thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer. Women are more likely than men to have thyroid diseases, especially after pregnancy and after menopause. Thyroid diseases usually are treatable, but they can cause serious problems in other parts of the body if left untreated. Treatment varies depending on the type of thyroid disease, but it can include medication, radioactive iodine therapy, or thyroid surgery.


The UAB Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism is consistently ranked among the top programs of its kind in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Its comprehensive care team includes endocrinologists, endocrine surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, and oncologists. These specialists coordinate their expertise to provide personalized care for both adult and pediatric patients with endocrine diseases such as thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal gland disorders, along with thyroid cancer. The team also has broad clinical expertise in treating diabetes, pituitary disorders, lipid disorders, gonadal disorders, and metabolic bone disease. The division works closely with the departments of Surgery, Ophthalmology, Radiology, Reproductive Endocrinology, and other key areas to ensure the most effective care for patients, including both outpatient treatment and surgical intervention, when necessary.

UAB surgeons participate in more than 800 endocrine cases each year, and they have the experience and expertise to handle even the most complex cases. Minimally invasive, outpatient surgical treatments are available for many endocrine disorders, allowing for smaller incisions, faster recovery, and less pain in many cases when compared to traditional surgery. Our surgical team has more experience treating hyperparathyroidism using minimally invasive radioguided parathyroidectomy (MIRP) than most other medical centers in the world.

Diabetes is a major endocrine disorder, and diabetes patients are managed by the UAB Multidisciplinary Comprehensive Diabetes Clinic. It combines the knowledge and compassion of UAB Medicine’s top specialists in a single, comprehensive visit, so you can see several specialists in one day, including an endocrinologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedic surgeon, nutritionist, social worker, and other specialists as needed. The clinic is an arm of the UAB Medicine Comprehensive Diabetes Center, which is recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of only a handful of diabetes research and training centers in the country.

UAB is a major research center, so division faculty are engaged in advanced basic and clinical research sponsored by the NIH, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, the American Diabetes Association, and other groups. Having such an active research program means that patients may have access to cutting-edge treatments before they are available at other medical centers.



UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials

Related Conditions

Listed below are some conditions that may be related to or share some similarities with the condition addressed on this page.

Related Treatments

There are several ways to diagnose and treat this condition. The team at UAB Medicine will work with you to develop an appropriate care plan for you that may include medical and surgical procedures and treatments listed below.