Thyroid Glands

thyroid glands

The thyroid is a part of the endocrine system, made up of glands that produce, store and release hormones into our bloodstream so that the hormones can reach to the body’s cells. It consists of two lines connected by and isthmus and is a butterfly shaped gland, found at the front of the neck, below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland makes two hormones by using the iodine from the foods we eat. These hormones are secreted into the blood, names as; thyroxine (T4) and triiodo thyronine (T3).

The over – or – under function of the thyroid causes thyroid diseases. Our thyroid gland is a very essential organ of our body that produces thyroid hormones, which maintains our body metabolism. The thyroid controls activities including how fast the calories in our body burn or how fast our heart beats. A disease of the thyroid causes it to produce too much or too little of the hormones. Both the conditions are named as either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. If the thyroid grows, it may lead to goiter. 

HYPERTHYROIDISM:

Hyperthyroidism is a state when your thyroid gland produces too much hormones. It can accelerate body’s metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and an irregular or rapid heartbeat. Hyperthyroidism can be caused due to different conditions that include, Grave’s disease, Plummer’s disease and thyroiditis. Furthermore, hyperthyroidism can lead to complications like heart problems, brittle bones, eye problems, red or swollen skin or thyrotoxic crisis.

Symptoms:

  • Decrease or increase in appetite.
  • Insomnia.
  • Fatigue.
  • Frequent bowel movement- diarrhea.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Heat intolerance.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Irritability.

HYPOTHYROIDISM:

Hypothyroidism is the condition in which the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough thyroid hormones. People with this condition face symptoms associated with slow metabolism. This is a really common disease, and millions of people are currently hypothyroid and don’t even know it. There are two common causes that can lead to hypothyroidism.

The first one is the result of previous (or currently ongoing) inflammation of the thyroid gland, which leaves a large percentage of the thyroid cells damaged or dead and incapable of producing sufficient hormones. The most common cause of thyroid gland failure is called autoimmune thyroiditis, which is also called as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

It is a form of thyroid inflammation which is caused by the patient’s own immune system. Other than that, the second major cause is the category of “medical treatments”. The treatment of many thyroid conditions warrants surgical removal of a portion or all of the thyroid gland. If the total mass of thyroid producing cells left within the body is not enough to meet the needs of the body, the patient will develop hypothyroidism. 

Symptoms:

  • Fatigue.
  • Increased sensitivity to cold. 
  • Constipation.
  • Dry skin.
  • Weight gain. 
  • Puffy face.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Muscle weakness.

GOITER:

The abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland is called goiter. Although goiters are usually painless, but a large goiter can cause a cough and make it difficult for a person to swallow or breathe. The most common cause of goiter is lack of iodine in our diet. A goiter is more often due to the over – or – underproduction of thyroid hormones or to nodules that develop in the glands by itself. 

Symptoms: 

  • Swelling at the base of the neck.
  • A tight feeling in the throat.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Coughing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Dizziness when the arms are raised above the head.
  • Neck vein swelling. 

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT:  Specialized tests are used to diagnose thyroid disorders,, according to thorough medical history and physical exam. Whereas, the thyroid disorders can be treated through medications or, in some cases surgery. Treatment depends on the particular diseases of the thyroid. In most cases, thyroid disorders can be managed well with medical treatment and not life threatening. Some conditions may require surgery. Also the outlook for most people with thyroid cancer  is also good, although patients with thyroid cancer that has spread throughout the body have a poorer prognosis.