The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped little endocrinal gland situated in the forepart of the neck. A healthy thyroid gland makes several important hormones regulating human’s body metabolism that is the rate of cells functioning. The main thyroid hormones are known to be thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
Unfortunately several millions of people all over the world have thyroid disorders and dysfunctions. Most of those suffering thyroid diseases are women. A thyroid disease usually causes inappropriate usage of energy e.g. more slow or vice versa more quick than it should be.
The most spreading disorders of the thyroid gland include an overactive thyroid and an underactive thyroid usually referred by health professional as hyper- and hypothyroidism respectively.
Hyperthyroidism is the overproduction of the main hormones. In this case thyroid becomes too active and secretes unusual excessive quantity of the hormones, much more hormones than the body really needs. Too much hormones can make you feel of nervous, lose weight, increase your sensitivity to heat, speed up your heart rate and cause other symptoms such as an increased thyroid, unusual heart palpitations, bulging eyes, sweating, muscles weakness and diarrhea.
To diminish some symptoms of hyperthyroidism (increased heart rate, tremors, palpitations, anxiety etc.) and to reduce the production of the hormones the anti-thyroid medications are commonly used. As an alternative, the thyroid gland can be entirely or partially removed surgically. Also some patients prefer to get radioactive iodine treatment destroying thyroid gland entirely or partially.
Hypothyroidism is the underproduction of the principal thyroid hormones. If the thyroid gland makes little quantity of the hormones, the body’s metabolism become slow, causing such typical symptoms as listlessness, fatigue and tiredness, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, baldness, bradycardia.
Hypothyroidism is usually treated by health professionals with hormone substitution therapy (e.g. levothyroxine) which is normally needed for the whole patient’s life.
Both mentioned thyroid disorders can result in the formation of a goiter, i.e. an enlarged condition. Generally a goiter is a swelling in the thyroid gland. Eventually it can cause a swelling of the voice box or neck. Goiter usually occurs if the thyroid gland functions improperly and the reason of more than 80% cases of goiter is iodine deficiency in diet.
There are many possible causes for both conditions. Conventional treatment usually consists of several procedures trying to readjust body’s metabolism to its normal healthy rate.
There are several other thyroid diseases and conditions known as Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, postpartum thyroiditis, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer.