Tuesday, September 19, 2017

THYROID - 'What Why How'

THYROID- 'What Why How'

Thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in front of the breathing airway in the neck, and produces hormones that affect the body's metabolism and energy levels. "Thyroid hormones influence virtually every organ system. They tell organs how fast or slow they should work, and also regulate the consumption of oxygen and production of heat. Another gland, called the pituitary gland, controls how well the thyroid works. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain and produces Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Sometimes, solid or fluid-filled lumps are found in the thyroid. These nodules are fairly common and usually harmless. However, about 4 per cent of nodules are cancerous, so further testing is prescribed.

Types of Thyroid Disorders
In most cases, thyroid disorders are 'autoimmune' where the immune system creates antibodies against a normal part of the body. Thyroid antibodies attack the thyroid, causing changes in the function. The thyroid may be damaged by some antibodies so that it no longer produces enough thyroid hormone. This leads to hypothyroidism and is known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Other thyroid antibodies stimulate the thyroid to produce too much thyroid hormone, resulting in an overactive thyroid. This is called Graves' disease. The third type of disorder involves just an increase in the size of the gland without an alteration in thyroxine production. This leads to appearance of an unsightly swelling in the front of the neck, called goitre.

The thyroid can in disease produce more (hyperthyroidism) or less (hypothyroidism) hormone than normal.

- In hyperthyroidism, there is faster heart rate, tremors of the hands, intolerance to heat, diarrhoea, nervousness, sleeplessness, fatigue, weight loss and muscle weakness. In many cases, eyeballs tend to protrude out. Periods can became scanty or absent.

- In hypothyroidism, there is weakness, weight gain, dry hair, rough skin, swelling, constipation, depression, memory loss, decreased libido and abnormal periods often with excessive bleeding.


Hypothyroidism is treated by supplementation of the thyroid hormone in the form of pills, which is usually lifelong, with periodic monitoring. Iodine deficiency must also be looked into and iodised table salt encouraged. "Hyperthyroidism can be treated by three modalities of treatment — surgery, drug therapy and radioactive iodine treatment. Your physician will determine the best treatment for you. Goitres (Enlarged thyroids), even when the gland is functioning properly may need to be operated surgically because it is a cosmetic problem and in most of the cases will continue to grow in size. In girls near puberty and in pregnant women, the thyroid gland may get enlarged mildly even though it functions normally. This is because at these times there is more demand on the body's metabolism and the gland has to work extra.


Common lifestyle factors can trigger autoimmune response in thyroid patients. These are
cigarette smoking
excess dietary iodine
artificial sweeteners that contain aspartame
sex steroids,which consist of estrogen and testosterone.

While stress cannot be totally eliminated, it can be reduced with the help of yoga, meditation and light exercise.

It is advised to get routine Thyroid function tested frequently, Called
Free T3 Free T4 TSH

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