The Thyroid Gland is a butterfly-shaped attachment to our larynx. It is responsible for producing the holistically important hormones T3 and T4 also called the Thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones help our body function in a lot of ways like consuming Carbs to produce energy, protein synthesis and maintain the basal Metabolic rate of the body.
Various factors can contribute to the over or underproduction of these hormones by the thyroid gland, thus leading to Thyroid gland disorders. Thyroid disorders are among the most common endocrine or hormones related disorders.
- Graves disease is the most common type of hyperthyroidism or over activation of the thyroid gland. Women are more prone to this disease than men.
- It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces antibodies mimicking the action of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) which causes the thyroid gland to produce more hormones and eventually growing its size.
- The thyroid gland becomes two to three times its size in this condition.
- People suffering from this disease often have protruding eyes due to fluid accumulation behind their eyes.
- Treatment includes surgical removal of the thyroid gland, antithyroid drugs or radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid tissues.
- Goiter is another condition in which there is enlargement of the thyroid gland. Its main reason lies in the inadequacy of dietary iodine.
- Goiter is still very prevalent in some of the underdeveloped countries.
- As there gets a low level of thyroid hormone in the blood, the brain releases more Thyroid Stimulating Hormones for increasing the T3 and T4. However, due to low iodine, the Thyroid gland is not able to achieve it. Thus to compromise, ever-increasing TSH causes the thyroid gland enlargement or the goiter.
- Congenital Hypothyroidism or Cretinism is the condition of low production of thyroid hormones from birth.
- The baby may seem normal at birth as there will be maternal Thyroid hormones in its body passed through the placenta. But once the body consumes it, low Thyroid hormone levels can cause severe mental retardation and stunted growth affecting the bone and muscle health also.
- It is very important to screen the newborns for its proper Thyroid functioning. In case it is detected, oral hormone treatment must be started at the earliest and that has to be continued for Lifetime.
- Adult hypothyroidism is also called Myxedema.
- There is a high amount of fluid accumulation causing facial tissue to swell and look puffy.
- Women are about five folds more prone to attract this condition than men.
- Muscle weakness, lethargy, tendency to gain weight easily and high cholesterol are some of the features of this condition. It can also lead to low heart rate, low body temperature, dry skin and weakening hair.
- It rarely affects the mental functions as the brain has already achieved its natural mature state by adulthood.
- Oral Thyroid hormone pills reduce the symptoms and provide a better overall quality of life.