Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Thyroid

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The thyroid is a small gland that is situated in the middle of the lower neck. It secretes thyroid hormones which help to regulate metabolism in the body.  

There are quite a number of thyroid disorders but they have basically grouped into two major types of thyroid problems; hyperthyroidism when the thyroid gland is diagnosed to overproduce hormones and hypothyroidism when the thyroid gland is known to under secrete hormones. Both of these disorders can result in another thyroid problem known as goiter when there’s a growth in the thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism

This is a kind of disorder that leads to a person having too much thyroid hormones in their body. The function of these thyroid hormones is to speed up or enhance the rate of metabolism. When there is an excess of it, metabolic processes in the body are way faster than they ought to. A person that suffers from this disorder tends to lose energy very quickly. Fatigue is a common issue with these people. Can you imagine a tennis player suffering from this disorder? They will probably be the worse player in the history of the sport. Whereas your opponent is able to play as long as 2 hours, you are already fatigued after 20 minutes. Quite bad right?


This disorder is often caused by an autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease which causes the whole thyroid gland to over secrete the hormone. The cause of this Graves’ diseases is not known yet but scientists believe that it is genetic.


Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by another condition called multinodular goiter. This is when one or more nodules producing hormones in the thyroid gland enlarge and releases excess thyroid hormones.


Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:


• Initial energy burst and quick fatigue

• Hand tremor

• Difficulty sleeping

• Rapid pulse

• Anxiety, nervousness and irritability

• Muscle weakness

• Weight loss

• Light menstrual flow


Hyperthyroidism can be cured with the following procedures:

• Use of anti-thyroid drugs: these drugs reduces the rate at which the thyroid secretes hormones.

• Use of radioactive iodine tablets: when the thyroid gland absorbs the iodine, they are destroyed and the over secretion of hormones stop.

• Surgical procedures: a surgeon can remove a part or all of the thyroid.  

The last two treatments may lead to the hormone not being produced again, it may lead to hypothyroidism and may require thyroid hormone replacement treatment.

Hypothyroidism

This is more common than hyperthyroidism and is found more in women. It is when the thyroid gland does not secrete enough hormones and this slows down the rate of metabolism in the body.

It can be caused by a lot of factors but most common is Hashimoto’s disease. The cause of Hashimoto’s disease itself is not known but heredity plays a role in it. Other autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc. can increase the chances of Hashimoto’s.


Other causes of hypothyroidism include postpartum thyroiditis, thyroiditis, iodine deficiency and a non-functional thyroid gland.



• Feeling cold

• Depression

• Forgetfulness

• Dry skin

• Constipation

• Tiring easily

No cure has been found yet for this disorder but it can be managed by using thyroid hormone replacement. It is taken as a pill once daily.


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