What is Thyroid?
Thyroid Gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in front of the neck below Adam’s apple. Thyroid gland is responsible for regulating various metabolic processes of the body. Thyroid diseases can be classified as functional and structural diseases. Functional diseases of thyroid include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism on the other hand structural diseases can be goiter or tumors of thyroid gland.
What is Hypothyroidism?
When the thyroid gland produces insufficient amount of thyroid hormone, it results in hypothyroidism.
What are the symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism commonly develops from the diseases of the gland itself. Rarely pituitary gland dysfunction can also cause thyroid hormone deficiency. Some common symptoms are:
- Dry Skin
- Feeling cold
- Muscle and joint pain
- Weight gain
- Excessive menstrual bleeding in women accompanied by pain
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Excessive production of thyroid hormone results in hyperthyroidism. It is a less common condition mostly caused by Graves’ disease or goiter.
What are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?
The signs of Hyperthyroidism include:
- Increased heart rate
- Intolerance for heat
- Increased sweating
- Weight loss
- Unable to concentrate
Specialized tests, medical history and a thorough physical examination help in diagnosing the problems associated with thyroid gland. Blood Tests usually measure the level of thyroid hormones and TSH. There are tests that identifies antibodies against the thyroid tissue. When enlargement of the thyroid gland is present, imaging tests might be advised. An ultrasound provides visuals of the tissue and may help to reveal any cysts.
How is thyroid treated?
Treatment depends on the type of thyroid disease. Hormone excess or deficiency due to thyroid disorders can be treated with medications. Structural diseases of thyroid gland like tumors might require surgery.
- Medications: Medications can help and compensate the missing thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone is given in the form of a pill. In case of hyperthyroidism, medicines can reduce the production of excess thyroid hormone. A radioiodine ablation can be performed if hyperthyroidism is not controlled with medications.
- Surgery: To remove a large goitre or hyperfuna tumor, surgery of the gland can be performed. It is essential, especially if there is a possibility of thyroid cancer. If the gland is removed during surgery, then medications for hypothyroidism might be needed for the future.