The Thyroid Gland is Small but Very Powerful and Vital for Your Well Being

Feb 29 13:52 2016 Krish Leo Print This Article

How would you know it if your thyroid gland slowed production of thyroid hormone? Or the other way around, if it sped up? And what are the consequences, if any? For a layman and even doctors, the symptoms are hard to identify.

Do you know what to do if things go awry?

A dysfunctioning thyroid gland causes a variety of puzzling symptoms and many people and doctors mistake them for signs of another disease or normal aging. It is estimates that more than 12 million Americans have some kind of thyroid disease,Guest Posting many of whom do not realize that that is the case.

Learn to understand hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism and how to know if your thyroid gland is not functioning as it should. So what treatment required following up if your levels are too high or too low? Throughout a person’ life, this busy little gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple and is divided into two lobes connected by tissue of a narrow bridge. This gland is extraordinary busy with life important functions by constantly producing hormones that influence metabolism, and produces hormones that regulate weight, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. The two main thyroid hormones produced are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Although the thyroid gland produces more T4 (80 percent) compared with T3 (20 percent), T3 is 300 percent more active than T4 and is the thyroid hormone responsible for increasing metabolism. As a matter of fact, much of the T4 is converted into the more active T3 inside the cells of the body. Laymen and many people diagnosed with a thyroid condition are seldom aware of that such a tiny gland play such an important role and have profound impact on overall health and well-being.

As the thyroid gland plays an enormous role in human health, ans when disease causes your thyroid gland to under-produce thyroid hormone, or produce too much of it, you will know that something is not right. So what exactly are the consequences if the thyroid is not functioning properly? The thyroid produces thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism rate (how fast calories are consumed to produce energy). Thyroid hormones are also important in regulating body energy, body tempteraure, the body’s use of other hormones an vitamins, the growth and maturation of body tissues.  

Thyroid cancer

For sure, thyroid cancer is the most serious condition if you are having problem with your thyroid. In principal, there are two main types of thyroid cells that can become cancerous. First one is follicle cells which produce and store thyroid hormones, and the other is C cells, which produce calcitonin, a hormone that may be elevated if a tumor is present.

However, many times thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment, especially if it is detected early. It is also believed that doctors now have more sophisticated methods to diagnose the cancer and that the increased number of diagnosed cases of thyroid cancer in the United States lately should not be alarming. Instead, as the cancer is detected earlier and correctly diagnosed via better technology, patients are receiving treatment at an earlier stage and thereby have a significant better prognosis. Therefore, the general public should not be panicked and instead embrace that the doctors now more often than not, is able to treat patients more efficiently.

Symptoms for a malfunctioning thyroid

Sometimes when patients complains to their doctor about fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, cold intolerance, constipation, decreased concentration, depression, dry skin, infertility, hyperlipidemia, irregular or heavy menses, memory impairment and muscle aches, the physician may suspect hypothyroidism. In some patients with these symptoms, TSH and T4 levels can be within normal limits, which could lead health care providers to rule out low thyroid function. However, thyroid metabolism is a complex subject and each step can be influenced by nutrition, prescription medications and lifestyle factors. Considering these influences can help practitioners in their understanding of how patients can suffer from symptoms of hypothyroidism even when their blood levels appear normal.

Production of thyroid hormones

The thyroid hormone process begins when the pituitary gland in the brain produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH then acts upon the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Once the brain senses the thyroid gland has produced enough thyroid hormone, it will decrease TSH production. Through this negative feedback loop, the production of the thyroid hormones is slowed down. The process of hormone synthesis is complex and begins in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain, which releases TRH (a thyrotropin-releasing hormone). When the TRH, located in the pituitary stalk, reaches the pituitary gland, also located in the brain, the pituitary gland then releases the thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH, (thyrotropin) into the blood. In turn, when the TSH reaches the thyroid gland, it stimulates the thyroid to produce the two thyroid hormones; L-thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). In order for the thyroid gland to function and to produce T3 and T4, it needs adequate amounts of dietary iodine.

The pituitary glands senses how much hormone is in the blood at any given time and adjust the production by either increase or decrease the production of thyroid hormones. If, for example, there should be too much thyroid hormone in the blood, TRH and TSH production are both decreased. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid problem) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid problem) occurs for the most part due to problems within the thyroid and not via the regulatory system.

Thyroid Goiter

Thyroid goiter means that the patient has an enlargement of the thyroid that can occur with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism but also be the result of benign (non-harmful) and malignant (serious and potentially dangerous) cancerous nodules. The name Goiter comes from the latin word gutteria, struma and is a swelling of the neck or larynx resulting from enlargement of the thyroid gland (thyromegaly), associated with a thyroid gland that is not functioning properly. Worldwide, over 90.54% cases of goiter are caused by iodine deficiency.

Goiter, which used to be common in the United States, is now almost eradicated in North America because of the salt consumed have added iodine in it. Worldwide, close to 30% of the population in 130 countries live in areas of iodine deficiency, which is the most common cause of goiter. The mountainous areas in the Himalayas, the Alps in Europe, the Andes have low iodine because it has been washed away by glaciations and flooding. Central Africa and Eastern Europe are also low in iodine because of its lowland topography far away from the oceans. People who consume most locally produced foods in those areas are at risk for low iodine and consequently are exposed to potentially higher risk of contracting goiter as compared to people living in other areas of the world.

Multiple nodules

A common, issue with the thyroid is multiple nodules. However, only approximately 5 percent of the nodules are a thyroid cancer, although thyroid cancer rates have been increasing steadily by about 6 percent every year for the past 20 years. Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers whose rate is increasing and whose very low rate of mortality is also rising with time. Scientists know that children’s exposure to radiation can increase the risk of thyroid cancer, but more research is neeed before we know why the overall rate has been increasing. Maybe it has something to do with all the new electronic gadgets an equipment that everyone of us are using in our daily lives, but for some reason affects young people more than others? Doctors diagnose thyroid cancer after analyzing a thyroid ultrasound and a needle aspiration biopsy of the nodule.

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Krish Leo
Krish Leo

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