About Thyroid Gland Disorders and Their Treatments

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The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located at the base of your neck and is seen in a butterfly shape. As shape indicates, thyroid gland has two lobes connected by a tissue called isthmus. Some people have two separate thyroid lobes since they don’t have isthmus. The thyroid gland is two inches long. The function of the thyroid gland is to release hormones into the bloodstreams by taking the iodine from the food you intake. These hormones help to control metabolism. Hence, thyroid hormones have the power in controlling vital body functions such as heart rate, breathing, body weight, menstrual cycles, Body temperature, muscle strength, cholesterol levels, CNS, and PNS. The two hormones of the thyroid gland are

•        Triiodothyronine (T3)

•        Thyroxine (T4)

The important thing is that the level of T3 and T4 should be normal, that they must not be high or low. The level of T3 and T4 is maintained by other two glands in the brain namely the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland The hypothalamus secretes TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) that controls the pituitary gland to tell the thyroid gland to produce more or less of T3 and T4 by either increasing or decreasing the release of a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

1.      The pituitary gland secretes more TSH when T3 and T4 levels are low in the blood

2.      The pituitary gland secretes less TSH If T3 and T4 levels are high

What happens when T3 and T4 levels are high in your body? (Hyperthyroidism)

•        Irritability (moodiness)

•        Sensitivity to high temperatures (Sweating)

•        Hand trembling

•        Missed or light menstrual periods

•        Hair loss

•        Anxiety

•        Nervousness, hyperactivity

What happens when T3 and T4 levels are low in your body? (Hypothyroidism) 

•        Trouble sleeping

•        Difficulty concentrating

•        Dry skin and hair

•        Sensitivity to cold temperature

•        Joint and muscle pain

•        Frequent, heavy periods

•        Depression

•        Tiredness and fatigue

Disorders of the thyroid gland

Thyroid disorders are the different conditions that affect the thyroid gland. There are different types of thyroid disorders that affect either its structure or function. Since the thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, disorders of these tissues can also affect thyroid function and cause thyroid problems. The different kinds of thyroid disorders include

•        Hypothyroidism

•        Hyperthyroidism

•        Goiter

•        Thyroid nodules

•        Thyroid cancer

1)      Hypothyroidism

A condition in which thyroid gland produces less amount of thyroid hormone is called hypothyroidism.  Hypothyroidism can cause problems within the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

•        Poor concentration

•        Constipation

•        Fatigue

•        Feeling cold

•        Fluid retention

•        Depression

•        Prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding in women

•        Muscle and joint aches

•        Dry skin

causes of hypothyroidism

•        Hashimoto's thyroiditis (an inflammation of the thyroid gland is called by an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis)

•        Thyroid hormone resistance

•        Thyroiditis such as acute thyroiditis and postpartum thyroiditis

2) Hyperthyroidism

Excessive production of thyroid hormone leads to a stage called Hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism

•        Fatigue

•        Increase in bowel movements

•        Concentration problems

•        Sudden weight loss

•        Increased sweating

•        Intolerance for heat

•        Fast heart rate

•        Nervousness

•        Tremor

Common causes of hyperthyroidism

•        Graves' disease

•        Toxic multinodular goiter

•        Hot nodules

•        Excessive iodine consumption

3) Goiter

A goiter is called for the enlargement of the thyroid gland. A goiter may be due to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or normal thyroid function.

4) Thyroid nodules

Nodules are lumps within the thyroid. Nodules may be due to benign cysts, benign tumors, or thyroid cancers. Nodules may be single or multiple. Nodules can vary in size. If the size of nodules is excessively large, this condition may cause compression of nearby structures.

5) Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is now common among adult women (ages below 55) than men or youth. Depending upon the specific cell type where cancer affects, there are different kinds of thyroid cancers.

Thyroid Disease Diagnosis

A combination of two or more thyroid tests can detect even the slightest abnormality of thyroid function. Thyroid specialist doctors will check your medical history and will do a physical exam, and suggest for specialized tests are used to diagnose thyroid disorders.

If the level of T4 is low, this condition indicates either a disease thyroid gland or a nonfunctioning pituitary gland. In this stage, if the TSH secreted by the pituitary gland is high confirms that thyroid gland is responsible for having hypothyroidism. The most common reason for the failure of pituitary gland is tumor of the pituitary

•        The measurement of thyroid hormones can be done by using a technique called radioimmunoassay (RIA)

•        Blood Tests are typically done to measure levels of thyroid hormones and TSH.

•        Imaging tests are suggested when thyroid nodules or thyroid enlargement are present

•        Ultrasound technique is suggested to check the consistency of the tissue within the gland, cysts or calcifications

•        Thyroid scans using radioactive iodine are suggested to check the function of thyroid nodules

•        Fine needle aspiration and biopsy are also suggested for examination and diagnosis

Treatment for thyroid disorders

•        Medications

•        Radioactive ablation

•        Surgery (Surgery is suggested for cancer and Graves' Disease )

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