Friday, 07 December 2012 12:00

Thyroid disorders and the chaos they cause

Written by  Bioharmony
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The thyroid is a small gland located in the front of your neck and throat. It’s a small gland that usually weighs less than 30 grams. If it’s functioning normally, you barely know about it, but if there’s a problem with it, it can wreak havoc with your body.

As small as it is, the thyroid has a huge role in our body’s function: it produces hormones that have an effect on metabolism, regulates calcium and phosphorus levels, produces proteins, maintains bone strength and controls body temperature.

Thyroid problems are more common in women than they are in men and they can be the result of too much or too little of the thyroid hormone called thyroxine. We outline three different types of thyroid disorders below:

Hypothyroidism

Occurring mainly in women aged 30 to 50 years old, hypothyroidism is the result of a reduced level of thyroxine.

Symptoms: Fatigue, weight gain, constipation, body aches, dry skin, fluid retention, depression.

Diagnosis & treatment: Because these symptoms are associated with a slow metabolism, hypothyroidism can go undetected for years. If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, ask your doctor to be tested. Treatment includes a daily tablet that controls thyroxine levels.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism occurs more often in younger women, aged 20 to 40, and it’s basically the exact opposite of hypothyroidism: the production of too much thyroxine hormone.

Symptoms: Restlessness and difficulty concentrating, irritability, difficulty sleeping, tremors, weight loss, palpitations, sweating, diarrhea, thinning hair, itchy skin, menstrual changes, muscle weakness.

Diagnosis & treatment: This too can be diagnosed with a blood test. Treatment can include mediation or radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment.

Goitre

A goitre occurs when the thyroid gland grows larger than normal. They are usually painless, but they can vary in size, making swallowing and breathing difficult if it gets too big.

Symptoms: A swollen thyroid gland, which leads to the swelling of the neck.

Diagnosis and treatment: Your GP will conduct a physical examination on your neck, feeling the gland with his fingers. Your doctor will also run blood tests to determine whether or not the goitre was caused by an overactive or underactive thyroid (goitres can occur in normally-functioning thyroid’s too).

Treatment for a goitre includes RAI treatment, iodine supplements or surgery if necessary – particularly if there is difficulty with swallowing or breathing.

Sources:

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/thyroid_problems/article_em.htm
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/167559.php

Destiny Women magazine

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