What is thyroid?
Like liver, heart, kidney and brain, thyroid is an organ, which has a specific role All human beings have thyroid and normal thyroid weights 15 to 25 gm. It is located in the front of the neck, just below the voice box and it has a shape of a butterfly.
Thyroid gland starts functioning even before birth and the two hormones it secrete, namely T3 and T4 are very vital for the physical and mental growth of all human beings .Thyroid is the only organ which secretes these two hormones with the help of iodine.
What are thyroid hormones?
They are two hormones called T3 and T4 and these two hormones are required at every minute by every organ, every tissue and every cell in the body. They control various metabolic activities in the body, which are essential for energy growth and development. They should be secreted y the thyroid in specific quantities and if the gland produces them less than or more than the requirement, it leads to certain health complications. They need to be diagnosed and treated in time.
What is the role of iodine in thyroid?
Iodine plays an important role in thyroid function because the thyroid hormones are made up of iodine. Iodine deficiency or excess leads to thyroid disorders. This iodine is obtained from dietary intake and the dietary concept depends upon the iodine content in the land and water in particular location. Thus, after conducting certain studies, supplementation of iodine in salt or bread is suggested in iodine deficient areas. In India 30 to 40% of the area is known to be iodine deficient.
What is a thyroid disorder?
There are basically two types of thyroid disorders and they are :
-Abnormal size and structure of gland (goiter with or without nodule). Goiter may or may not have an associated dysfunction.
-Abnormal function of the gland
What is goiter?
Enlarged thyroid gland is called goiter which causes swelling in the neck. Its size can range from a barley noticeable lump to a swelling size of a fruit grape. In rare cases it may press on oesophagus(food pipe) and trachea(wind pipe), causing difficulty in swallowing and breathing They recommended certain studies like ultrasound, scanning etc. to rule out that.
What are the causes of goiter?
The thyroid gland may enlarge without any disturbance of its function at puberty, during pregnancy or at other times when there is no apparent cause. Goiter is a known side affect of drugs such as which is used to treat bipolar effective disorder. Iodine deficiency may also cause goiter.
What is thyroid disfunctioning?
Like any other organ thyroid too have functional abnormalities. They lead to :
- Too low thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism)
- Too excess of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism)
These disorders can be diagnosed within 2-3 hours using simple blood test, which are done in a laboratory ,
What is hyperthyroidism?
The major role of the thyroid gland is to produce two thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which control the growth and metabolic rate. These hormones have their influence on every tissue, every and every cell in the body and their levels in blood are important in keeping the metabolic normalcy .If thyroid overfunctions, it will secrete hormones in more than the required quantities and additional load of thyroid hormones will stimulate and promote certain unwanted metabolic events resulting in certain difficulties and in health and such a patient is known to hyperthyroidism. (Hyper means over). Once diagnosed these patients are certain medicines, which reduce the output of hormones by thyroid and bring normalcy within weeks to months of beginning of therapy. The treatment for hyperthyroidism, however, is not as easy as that of hypothyroidism and you should consult your clinician to know the merits and limitations of various modes of treatment for hyperthyroidism.
What happens in hyperthyroidism?
Due to increased metabolic activities one may experience nervousness, irritability, thinning of skin, fine brittle hair, muscular weakness, tremors in hand, increased bowel movements, increased heart rate, loss of weight and in women a delayed or scanty menstrual periods .Enlarged thyroid gland and protruding eyeballs are also noticed in patients.
What is hypothyroidism?
When the production of thyroid hormone decreases below the normal body’s need, it resuls in certain signs and symptoms, a clinical condition called hypothyroidism.In such patients, the laboratory test indicates a below normal T3, a below normal T4 and a very high TSH level.
What causes hypothyroidism?
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is known to be chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (hashimotos thyroiditis), a condition characterized by inflammation and damage to thyroid tissue. The gland partly or completely fails to synthesize the required quantities of thyroid hormones. Other causes of hypothyroidism include :
- Surgical removal of the thyroid gland either for hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer.
- Radioactive iodine treatment.
- External radiation for certain cancers.
- A deficiency in dietary iodine consumption.
- Genetic thyroid absence or failure or defect.
- Fatigue and muscle swelling or cramps
- Tingling in fingers
- Loss of equilibrium
- Weight gain
- Dry skin and cold intolerance
- Yellow skin
- Coarseness or loss of hair
- Low heart rate
- Memory and mental impairment
- Decreased concentration
- Irregular and heavy menstruation
- Infertility or miscarriages
- Myxedema:fluid infiltration of the tissue causing puffiness (mainly in face)