Thyroid Disorders: Symptoms, Treatment

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Thyroid disorders are common these days. These are conditions that affect the thyroid gland. It is a gland with the shape of a butterfly that is present in the front of the neck in the human body. The thyroid is a gland that takes care of many metabolic processes all through the body. Either in the function or its structure, the thyroid disorders affects the thyroid gland.

Where is the gland located?

The gland is just below Adam’s apple, and it uses iodine for producing vital hormones. The primary hormone that this gland produces is T4, which is otherwise known Thyroxine. After this hormone travels to the different tissues in the body through the bloodstream, a small portion of this hormone converts into T3. The T3 hormone is known triiodothyronine, which is an active hormone as well.

What regulates the functioning of the thyroid gland?

A feedback mechanism involving the brain regulates the functioning of the thyroid gland. When the levels of thyroid hormones are low, the portion of the brain called hypothalamus produces a hormone known thyrotropin-releasing hormone referred TRH. It, in turn, causes the pituitary gland to produce TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone. Again, the TSH influences the thyroid gland to release more T4 hormones.

As the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland controls this gland in the neck, issues with these tissues can bring an ill-effect on the functioning of the thyroid gland, thereby leading to thyroid disorders.

Kinds of thyroid disorders:

The most common thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. There are other types of issues like goitre, thyroid cancer and thyroid nodules.

What is hypothyroidism? What are its symptoms?

When the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone, it means that the patient has hypothyroidism. It can arise due to issues within the organ, hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. The symptoms of this type of disorder include:

  • Excessive or prolonged periods in women
  • Depression
  • Ache in joints and muscles
  • Fluid retention
  • Feeling cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Poor concentration or feeling foggy mentally and
  • Fatigue

What is hyperthyroidism? What are its symptoms?

Hyperthyroidism is just opposite to the hyperthyroidism. This means that the thyroid gland produces more than the required thyroid hormone. This condition is less common as compared to the other type known hypothyroidism. Some of the symptoms of this condition include:

  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Issues with concentrating
  • Increase in sweating
  • Increase in bowel movements
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Fatigue
  • Fast rate of heart
  • Nervousness
  • Tremor

What are the treatments available for thyroid issues?

To restore the healthy hormone level in both the above-mentioned types of thyroid issues, there are both alternative and conventional treatment options available. When it comes to conventional treatments, they mainly rely on surgery and drugs. In the case of alternative treatments, they try to relieve some discomforts associated with thyroid issues. They also involve improving the functioning of the thyroid gland. The approaches can range from herbal remedies to diet supplements and even lifestyle changes and special exercises.

For suppressing the production of thyroid gland in the case of patients with hyperthyroidism, the treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Anti-thyroid medication
  • Radioactive iodine treatment

If the doctor decides to opt for radioactive treatment, he will ask the patient to swallow a liquid or tablet. This medicine will have radioactive iodine at levels more sufficient quantity to damage the cells of the thyroid gland. They are also useful in destroying or restricting the ability of the organ to produce the hormones. In some instances, more than a single treatment might be recommended. There are conditions, where patients get into hypothyroidism due to the different therapies offered for hyperthyroidism.

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