is a most common disease among women and if not treated
in time it can lead to severe health problems. It
is very important to be aware of this friendly as
well as deadly gland in our body.
1.What is the thyroid
thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland just below
the Adam's apple. This gland plays a very important
role in controlling the body's metabolism, that is,
how the body functions. It does this by producing
thyroid hormones (T4 and T3), chemicals that travel
through the blood to every part of the body. Thyroid
hormones tell the body how fast to work and use energy.
The thyroid gland works like an air conditioner. If
there are enough thyroid hormones in the blood, the
gland stops making the hormones (just as an air conditioner
cycles off when there is enough cool air in a house).
When the body needs more thyroid hormones, the gland
starts producing again. The pituitary gland works
like a thermostat, telling the thyroid when to start
and stop. The pituitary sends thyroid-stimulating
hormone (TSH) to the thyroid to tell the gland what
to do. The thyroid gland might produce too much hormone
(hyperthyroidism), making the body use energy faster
than it should, or too little hormone (hypothyroidism),
making the body use energy slower than it should.
The gland may also become inflamed (thyroiditis) or
enlarged (goiter), or develop one or more lumps (nodules).
What is hyperthyroidism?
makes the body speed up. It occurs when there is too
much thyroid hormone in the blood ("hyper" means "too
much"). Hyperthyroidism is nearly 10 times more frequent
in women than in men. The most common form of hyperthyroidism,
Graves' disease, is caused by problems with the immune
system and tends to run in families.
are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Fast heart rate
frequency of bowel movements
menstrual flow and less frequent menstrual flow
that seem to be popping out of their sockets.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism rarely occur all at
once. However, if you have more than one of these
symptoms, and they continue for some time, you should
see your doctor.
What is hypothyroidism?
causes the body to slow down. It occurs when there
is too little thyroid hormone in the blood ("hypo"
means "not enough"). Hypothyroidism affects more than
5 million people, many of whom don't know they have
the disease. Women are more likely than men to have
hypothyroidism. Also, one out of every 4,000 infants
is born with the condition. If the problem is not
corrected, the child will become mentally and physically
retarded. Therefore, all newborns should be tested
for the disease.
are the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Feeling slow or tired
during the day, even after sleeping all night
and coarse skin
discharge from the breasts
Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism can occur normally
with aging, so if you have one or two of them, there
is probably no reason to worry. However, if you are
concerned about any of these symptoms, you should
see your doctor.
What is thyroiditis?
Thyroiditis is an inflammation of
the thyroid gland and the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
When patients with thyroiditis have any symptoms,
they are usually the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It
is also common to have an enlarged thyroid that may
shrink over time. The type of thyroiditis seen most
often is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a painless disease
of the immune system that runs in families. Hashimoto's
thyroiditis affects about 5% of the adult population,
increasing particularly in women as they age. Another
form of thyroiditis affects women of childbearing
age. Postpartum thyroiditis occurs in 5%-9% of women
soon after giving birth and is usually a temporary
condition. Viral and bacterial infections can also
What is a goiter?
goiter is an abnormal swelling in the neck caused
by an enlarged thyroid gland. It can become quite
large. The problem occurs in at least 5% of the population.
Worldwide, the most common cause of a goiter is lack
of iodine, a chemical that the thyroid uses to produce
its hormones. About 100 million people don't get enough
iodine in their diets, but adding iodine to salt can
solve the problem.
Even with the right amount of iodine, the thyroid
gland can swell, creating a goiter. This can occur
in any type of thyroid disease, including hyperthyroidism,
hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer. Many
goiters develop with normal thyroid hormone levels
and do not require treatment.
all thyroid lumps (nodules) cancerous?
lumps (also called nodules) are growths in or on the
thyroid gland. They occur in 4%-7% of the population.
More than 90% of these lumps are benign (not cancerous)
and usually do not need to be removed. Thyroid cancer
is more common in patients who have had radiation
to the head or neck. A thyroid nodule might cause
your voice to become hoarse, or it could make breathing
or swallowing difficult. However, it usually produces
no symptoms and is discovered incidentally by you
or your physician.
is thyroid disease discovered?
with any disease, it is important that you watch for
the early warning signs. Check if you think you might
be having any of the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism or
hypothyroidism. Consult your doctor if you think you
are suffering from any of the symptoms. However, only
your doctor can tell for sure whether or not you have
thyroid disease. He or she can measure the amount
of thyroid hormones in your blood, as well as look
at the structure and function of your thyroid gland.
If a nodule is found, your doctor can test whether
or not it is cancerous.
you have thyroid disease, your doctor can discuss
which treatment is right for you. There are several
types of treatment:
iodine is used to shrink a thyroid gland that has
become enlarged or is producing too much hormone.
It may be used on patients with hyperthyroidism,
a goiter, or some cases of cancer.
Surgery is normally used to remove a cancer and
may also be used to remove a large goiter.
hormone pills are a common treatment for hypothyroidism,
for patients with a goiter, and for patients who
have had thyroid surgery. The pills provide the
body with the right amount of thyroid hormone.
Please note that we have collected this information
and it does not take the place of personal health
care by your doctor. If you think you may have some
form of thyroid disease, please see your doctor for