Thyroid Problems

Thyroid:the largest of the endocrine glands , located in ht e neck. It has two oval parts called the lateral lobes, one on either side of the voice box. A narrow band called the isthmus connects these two lobes. The gland is enclosed by a connective tissue capsule.  This gland produces the hormonethyroxin. The main function of thyroxine is to regulate metabolism for the production of heat and energy in the body tissues.  In order that this hormone may be manufactured, there must be an adequate supply of iodine in the blood.  The iodine content may be maintained by eating vegetables grown in iodine containing soils, or by eating sea foods, and the use of iodized salt.

  A deficiency of iodine in the blood is the formation of a goiter , which is a swelling of the neck due to an enlarged thyroid, but there may other cause for goiter as well.

Simple goiter:   Known also as endemic goiter ,  the thyroid becomes enlarged simply because it must work overtime to compensate  for the lack of iodine.  This is some times common in adolescent girls, because of the particularly heavy stresses imposed upon the thyroid by the body at puberty, but it usually disappears in time.

Adenomatous goiter or nodular goiter:  this type of goiter has an accompanying tumor formation which comes about through the overgrowth of the cells of the thyroid tissue.  In nodular goiter the tumor formation may be single or multiple.

For various reasons the thyroid gland may become either underachieve; known as Hypothyroidism, or overactive known as Hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism:  shows up as two characteristic states;  1.)  Cretinism, a condition in which there is a 

serious lack of thyroid activity from the beginning of the individual's life.  It is sometimes due to the complete absence or lack of thyroid tissue.  The infant becomes dwarfed ( an abnormally undersized person )and mentally deficient because of failure of physical growth and mental development.  Only if continuous thyroid replacement is begun early on is there any hope of altering the outlook.
2.)  Myxedema, the result of atrophy (wasting away ) of the thyroid in the adult.  The patient becomes sluggish both mentally and physically.  The skin and the hair become dry, and there develops a peculiar swelling of the tissues of the face.  Since thyroid extract or the hormone itself may be administered by mouth, the patient suffering from myxedema can be restored to health very easily, though treatment must be maintained throughout the reminder of their life.

Hyperthyroidism:  overacted thyroid, is the opposite of hypothyroidism.  The development of a simple goiter might suggest hyperthyroidism, but there is a difference, in simple goiter the thyroid is usually normal, but enlarges because it has more work to do, just as the heart will enlarge if something causes it to increase it's work load.  Hyperthyroidism, however, is an abnormal activity of the thyroid without an accompanying need of it by any other part of the body.  A common form of hyperthyroidism is exophthalmic or Graves' disease, in which there is a goiter, bulging of the eyes, a strained appearance of the face, intense nervousness, weight loss, a rapid pulse, sweating and a tremor.  Metabolism is stepped up to a terrific rate; it would seem that the patient had a fire raging  within him.  In many cases the administration of drugs, or surgical removal of a part of the thyroid gland, will remedy the condition. Graves' disease is usually triggered by autoimmune disorder.

Parathyroid glands:  Behind the thyroid gland, and embedded in its capsule, are four tiny epithelial bodies called the parathyroid glands.  The hormone produced by these glands regulates the amount of calcium dissolved in the circulating blood.  If these glands are removed, there will follow a series of muscle contractions involving particularly the hand and the face muscles.  These spasms are due to a low concentration of blood calcium, and the condition is called tetany , do not confuse it with the infection called tetanus ( lockjaw ).

Parathormone:  It is a condition in which there is an excess production of the secretion of these glands, as may happen in tumors of the parathyroids, calcium - which is normally stored in the bones for use by the tissues as needed, it is removed from its storage place and is poured into the blood stream, whence it finally is excreted by the kidneys.  Because of the outpouring of calcium from the bones, they become soft and easily bent.  It is believed that the excess of calcium in the blood is one cause of kidney stones.

Symptoms:

Hypothyroidism:

Appearance of swelling to face
Slower mental processes
Drowsiness or lethargy
Slow heart rate
Sensitivity to cold
Tingling and or numbness to hands

Hyperthyroidism:

Weight loss ( with increased appetite )
High blood pressure
Increase heart rate
Muscle weakness
Hand tremors
Development of a goiter
Sweating
Bulging of the eyes
Intense nervousness

Thyroiditis:  swollen thyroid

Pain in the thyroid gland
Thyroid feels touchy and tender
Pain when swallowing and or turning your head
May feel this symptoms when the patient has the flu and or a viral infection

Treatment:

Thyroiditis - Generally does not require medical treatment, but if pain is associated with swelling, your doctor may prescribe prednisone therapy, or aspirin

Hypothyroidism - Thyroid replacement therapy

Hyperthyroidism - Antithyroid therapy
For hyperthyroidism caused by  toxic adenomas, surgery may be required to remove the tissue
Thyroid hormone production can be halted or suppressed, with a radioactive iodide treatment.

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If you experience agitation, rapid pulse, fever and delirious, * Call your doctor and or seek Medical treatment Promptly.

If you experience drowsiness and lethargic with a feeling of intense chill or feeling cold,  * Call your doctor and or seek Medical treatment Promptly.

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