About thyroid function
The thyroid gland is small gland that weighs less than 50 grams in most adults. It is located towards the front of the neck. Although small, it plays a large role in producing hormones that every cell in your body relies on for the proper conversion of calories and oxygen to energy. In other words, metabolism regulation is dependent on thyroid function and the condition of your thyroid gland.
What is a thyroid disease?
When the thyroid gland is healthy, it will have a butterfly shape. However, when thyroid gland disorders such as a goitre occurs, the shape and function of the gland can change significantly. In addition, a number of thyroid disorder symptoms can begin to develop.
Commonly seen diseases of the thyroid gland include:
- Hyperthyroidism – Hyperthyroidism means the thyroid gland is overactive.
- Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone.
- Graves’ disease – Graves’ disease is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).
- Goitre – A goitre is an enlarged thyroid gland.
- Hashimoto’s disease – Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.
For instance, a patient with Graves’ disease will develop an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). This person may develop symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, double vision, weight loss, insomnia, nervousness, inability to concentrate, muscle weakness, frequent bowel movements, eyeballs that stick out, an intolerance to heat, a goitre, an irregular heartbeat such as atrial fibrillation, and other symptoms. Many patients are able to undergo nonsurgical methods in order to effectively treat their thyroid problem.
Thyroid disorder treatment
A thyroid specialist will be able to provide a thorough exam and initiate an appropriate treatment plan that is customized for each individual patient. In some cases, thyroidectomy surgery may be required, when medical management is unsuccessful. Thyroid surgery will only be considered after other treatment methods have not worked, or where there are concerns regarding a possible malignant diagnosis. Today, thyroid surgery is a safe and effective, routinely performed procedure. After thyroid surgery, thyroid hormone replacement medication will maintain stable hormone levels.
If you have questions about thyroid function, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a thyroid specialist.