Despite the fact its hormones effect change throughout the body, many people are unaware what the thyroid does, or even where it is in the body. Though in severe cases this organ may be removed in full, usually, through minor surgery and/or medication, imbalances in thyroid hormones and hormones which induce the very release of thyroid hormones may be corrected. In the event treatment is not administered, though, thyroid issues may easily worsen and do damage to vital organ systems. Accordingly, while with respect to thyroid disorders, knowledge is key, timely action to correct persistent problems is a necessity for the millions of people who suffer through thyroid disease symptoms. For such a small organ, the thyroid has a real function and place in ourselves.
The thyroid gland, or simply thyroid, is an important part of the endocrine system found in the neck below the Adam's apple/thyroid cartilage. Its most important products are hormones known as T3 and T4. The thyroid is considered a separate organ from the parathyroid glands.
In most cases, thyroid gland problems will be mediated by too little thyroid activity, known as hypothyroidism, or too much of it, known as hyperthyroidism. Both have their distinct causes and serious complications. Other thyroid problems include cancerous and infectious developments.
Thyroid function works in tandem with the pituitary gland to regulate metabolic processes and rates in the human body. Improper thyroid gland function is often tied to problems with the pituitary gland's generation of thyroid-stimulating hormone, as well as imbalances of iodine from poor diets.
Signs of Thyroid Problems
Across thyroid conditions, numerous signs of thyroid problems exist, even if they are at times ambiguous. Constant feelings of tiredness despite full rest are common in hypothyroidism, as are weight issues such as the inability to lose weight despite dieting and exercise.
Though thyroid symptoms such as goiter are more universal with respect to thyroid conditions, other thyroid disease symptoms are related to thyroid hormone production. Hyperthryroidism is marked by a general speeding up of the organs' processes, while hypothyroidism is denoted by cognitive and psychological problems.
Thyroid Symptoms in Women
Numerous thyroid symptoms in women, even if suffered by men, really resonate in the former. Fatigue, hair loss, inability to lose weight and sex drive may all be more than minor concerns to women, and for pregnant women in particular, a TSH profile is recommended for the sake of the fetus.
While hypo- and hyperthyroidism cover a lot of symptoms within the realm of thyroid disease, this does not fully explain the root causes behind these conditions. Among these more common conditions are Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thryoiditis, two autoimmune thryoid problems.
The levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the blood will all likely be measured and recorded when checking thyroid levels. Measured in milli-international units per liter, TSH normally falls in the range between 0.5 and 4 mIU/L.
As noted, T4, T3 and TSH are the main components of a thyroid profile. It is T3 and T4—hormones synthesized by the thyroid directly—which allow for metabolism to occur and allow for growth in cells throughout the body. The very release of these hormones is effected by TSH release.
In case of a suspected thyroid problem or wanting a check-up specifically on thyroid levels, an endocrinologist or other thyroid doctor is an important contact. He or she can conduct numerous thyroid tests, including physical examinations as well as radioactive iodine and ultrasound scans.
Concerning thyroid treatment, emergency intervention is generally not necessary unless surgery is required. Otherwise, thyroid patients will be treated depending on their condition, which may involve hormone replacement therapy or antithyroid drugs as well as boosters and supplements.