Diseases Diseases

What you need to know about thyroid diseases

Introduction

Thyroid is a gland in your neck just above the collarbone and with the shape of a butterfly. It happens to be one of the major endocrine glands with the role of making hormones. Actually, it helps to set a person’s metabolism which is the process by which your body acquires energy from foods you ingest. Just like any other body parts, the thyroid gland is also prone to some diseases. Some are acute while others are life threatening. Most of the thyroid diseases are however found in women. Below is a comprehensive cover of the various thyroid diseases, their causes and symptoms.

Thyroid diseases

Hyperthyroidism

Talking about thyroid diseases what comes in minds of many is hyperthyroidism. This condition is also known as thyroid disease. It can be defined as too much thyroid hormone produced by a thyroid gland that is overactive. It mostly affects women and in fact covers at least 1% of the women population who are between the age of 20 and 40. It presents with; muscle weakness, rapid heartbeat, weight loss, fatigue, trembling hands, diarrhea and bowel movements, vision problems, menstrual irregularities and intolerance to the heat. In worst cases, it can lead to infertility, a condition most women hate most to have.

The major cause of this condition is the Graves’ disease. It comes about when the thyroid gland is attacked by antibodies that are produced by the immune system. As a result, the thyroid is forced to produce much thyroid hormone hence creating an imbalance in the levels of hormones in the body. In most cases, this condition occurs in individuals with a family history of thyroid diseases.

Hypothyroidism

This is a condition of the thyroid diseases that occurs when there is release of too little thyroid hormone from a thyroid gland that is underactive. It actually happens when the metabolism of the body is slowed. It presents with various symptoms including; mental depression, fatigue, feeling cold, sluggishness, dry skin and hair, weight gain, menstrual irregularities and also constipation.

Like other thyroid diseases, hypothyroidism has several causes. In fact, most of them directly affect the thyroid gland hence making it incapable of producing enough hormones. The most common cause however is the Hashimoto’s diseases. Basically, it attacks the thyroid gland by producing antibodies from the immune system hence creating a chronic inflammation in the thyroid gland and damaging it. This therefore makes it incapable of producing enough thyroid hormone.

Thyroid Cancer

This is a major concern when looking at Thyroid diseases. Women are at bigger risk of contracting this condition than men, usually the ratio is of three to one. It can occur to a person at any age though it is most common in people with 30 years and above. Majority of the patients go to the hospital complaining of a nodule on their thyroid. At first there are no symptoms experienced though later they start streaming in slowly. These include; hoarseness, enlarged lymph node, and neck pains.

Just like other types of cancers, the exact cause of this condition is still not yet known. However there are some risk factors that lead to it. They include; radiation exposure, age and family history.

Other Thyroid Conditons

Other thyroid diseases you should know about are goiters- a dramatic enlargement of the thyroid gland, thyroditis which is an inflammation of the thyroid and hypopituitarism

By Hannah, published at 02/03/2012
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