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"Do thyroid disorders cause coughing fits?"


I've been worrying that I have a thyroid disorder, because I'm losing a lot of weight, not sleeping properly, and other symptoms. The latest problem to come up is that I'm having terrible coughing fits. Is that another sign that I should get my thyroid examined, or is it unrelated? Also, how is a thyroid examined?


Thyroid disorders can cause of variety of symptoms that can have a major impact on daily living and quality of life. Overactive thyroid can cause patients to lose weight, feel anxious, experience diarrhea, and feel hot, among other symptoms. An underactive thyroid can lead to the opposite effects, including constipation, weight gain, cold intolerance, and symptoms of depression.

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In certain thyroid disorders, the actual size of the gland may increase (either diffusely or only in certain parts of the thyroid). Since the thyroid sits directly in front of the trachea (which conducts air to and from the lungs), an enlarging thyroid could irritate the trachea and lead to cough. However, there are certainly many etiologies for cough, and your physician should be able to help you discern the cause. In any case, you should go see your primary care physician so that he/she may conduct a thorough history and physical exam to discover the cause of your various symptoms. A thyroid is often examined in various ways, including direct palpation (feeling for enlargement of the gland or the presence of any nodules), blood tests to measure the levels of various thyroid hormones, and ultrasound imaging to detect any nodules.

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