A Brief Overview of Thyroid Diseases

A Brief Overview of Thyroid Diseases

Image courtesy of Baitong333 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Baitong333 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Located at the lower frontal end of the neck or Adam’s apple in men, the thyroid gland plays a very important role in the human body. Its main function is to produce several hormones needed for metabolism and other bodily processes. Thyroxine is one of the hormones produced in the thyroid gland.

A Brief Overview of Thyroid Diseases

Goiter happens when there are insufficient amounts of thyroxine in the body. It is characterized by swelling in the patient’s neck. Low levels of thyroxine in goiter are linked to low levels of iodine in the body. Iodine initiates the production of thyroxine and the two chemical compounds are dependent with each other.

In newborns and children, cretinism may result from low amounts of thyroxine in the body. Since the normal thyroid gland is responsible for growth in children and proper development of body organs, children affected with cretinism have underdeveloped brains and stunted growth.

Hypothyroidism also results from the thyroid gland’s inability to produce thyroxine. This imbalance is notable among pregnant women particularly during delivery. It is also commonly seen in post-pregnant women and those experiencing menopause.

Antibodies in the immune system may attack the thyroid cells and this is commonly known as thyroiditis, a genetic disorder. Mental retardation is one of the worst outcomes in people with thyroiditis.

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can result from above normal amounts of thyroxine. Grave’s disease is a form of hyperthyroidism and middle-aged women are the ones commonly affected.

Other thyroid diseases include Hurtle Cell Adenoma, Plummer’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid tumors, sarcoidosis and amyloidosis.

 

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