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{November 1, 2010}   Handling Thyroid

Aug-23-2010
Sadhana Chathurvedi

Handling Thyroid

 

The thyroid gland is located on the front part of the neck below the thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple). The gland produces thyroid hormone, which regulate body metabolism.  Thyroid hormones are important in regulating body energy, the body’s use of other hormones and vitamins, and the growth and maturation of body tissues.

Diseases of the thyroid gland can result in either production of too much or too little  hormone.

 

Hyperthyroidism

A condition in which the thyroid produces too much hormone, hyperthyroidism most commonly affects women between the ages of 20 and 40; however, women of any age and men can be affected as well. Graves’ disease, a condition in which the immune system stimulates the thyroid gland, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, but there can be other causes including thyroid nodules (small bumps on the thyroid) and taking too much thyroid hormone medication to treat a separate condition.

Symptoms of Hyperthryodisim (An overactive thyroid)
This thyroid disease’s symptoms may include the following:

  • Nervousness, irritability
  • Increased sweating
  • Increased, sometimes irregular, heart rate
  • More frequent bowel movements, diarrhea
  • Shaky hands
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lighter periods (women)
  • Erectile dysfunction (men)

Hypothyroidism— Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid produces too little hormone. As with hyperthyroidism, it’s important too see your doctor if you feel you may have this thyroid disease, symptoms of which include:

  • Feeling listless or tired
  • Feeling cold
  • Slow heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Heavier periods (women)
  • Erectile dysfunction (men)

There are three main factors whihc may cause the thyroid gland to malfunction:

First is poor nutrition- People with iodine deficiencies, are prone to get hypothyroidism. Second factor is stress. When a person is under stress, hormones like cortisol are released. Chronic stress can cause hormonal disturbances which may affect the thyroid. Third is genetics, if a member of your famliy suffers from this condition, then it is likely that you will too.

 

Treatment of Thyroid Disorders

Whatever your thyroid problem, chances are you take thyroid hormone to treat it.

In hypo thyroidism, thyroid hormone restores metabolism to normal. Most people with hyper thyroidism ultimately take thyroid hormone since the approach to treatment usually means shutting off the natural levels of hormone. Today’s thyroid medicine of choice is levothyroxine sodium. This synthetic version of natural thyroid hormone costs only about 15 cents a day.

Enlarged Thyroid

An enlarged thyroid, known as goiter, is often a sign of thyroid disease. Because an enlarged thyroid can indicate a number of different conditions, including thyroid cancer, one should consult a physician for an examination. While goiters are typically a thyroid disease symptom indicating either hyper- or hypothyroidism, they can also be the result of a nutritional deficiency, a lack of iodine in the diet. Iodine deficiency affects nearly one billion people worldwide but is rare in more highly developed countries where steps have been taken to include iodine in a regular diet.

Thyroid Nodules:

A swollen or enlarged thyroid could indicate the presence of thyroid nodules, the vast majority of which are benign, but which should be evaluated. Thyroid nodules do not necessarily imply serious thyroid disease, and symptoms can vary from negligible to severe. Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms, and a person may not even be aware of the nodule’s presence until it is discovered, perhaps during a routine medical examination.

To determine whether thyroid nodules are cancerous, doctors may perform a number of tests ranging from ultrasound to biopsy.

 

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