Friday, May 24, 2013

World Thyroid Day

Thyroid gland is a soft, butterfly-shaped gland which wraps around the windpipe below the Adam’s apple. Thyroid gland helps regulate metabolic processes in our body, influences the health of the heart, brain and bones, normal reproductive functions; and it is also important for the normal development of the brain in children.

If you have raised level of thyroid hormone you will have symptoms as below.

Signs and symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s antibodies attack its own organs. Grave’s disease usually begins in young to mid adult life. It is six times commoner in women than men and may occur hand in hand with other autoimmune diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

On the other hand, symptoms of low level of thyroid hormone are as below.  

            Hashimoto's thyroiditis is, like Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disease, which occurs more in women than in men, usually starts after the age of 30. Other causes of hypothyroidism are lack of iodine in diet, side effect of drugs like lithium, or complications of post thyroid removal for treatment of cancer or hyperthyroidism. Myxoedema is a severe condition of hypothyroidism which if untreated, can cause progressive lethargy, weakness and eventually coma. Thyroid hormone is essential for normal growth and development of organs especially the brain in infants. In congenital thyroid deficiency, the child will suffer from irreversible growth and mental retardation if left undiagnosed and untreated. It occurs in about one in 3500 births.

A goitre means thyroid enlargement. A thyroid nodule is likely to be a cancer in less than 5% of cases. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you have a goitre or sign and symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.  Blood tests can measure levels of thyroid hormones and TSH. They can also reveal whether there are anti-thyroid antibodies which suggest Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease. Radioactive isotope can be used to scan thyroid gland to show whether it is a hot (over-functioning) or cold (under-functioning) nodule. Ultrasound shows whether the nodule is solid or cystic. Needle biopsy of a nodule can be obtained to determine whether it is benign or malignant.


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