The thyroid gland is a ductless, endocrine gland, situated in the anterior/front portion of the neck and is a butterfly-shaped gland. It is one of the largest endocrine glands ranging from 2-3 inches in length. This gland has two lobes on either side of the trachea.
The primary function of the thyroid gland is to secrete two hormones, the Triiodothyronine (T3) hormone and the Thyroxine hormone (T4). Both T3 and T4 hormones play a very important role in effecting almost every tissue in the body.
Thyroid problems and diseases
The thyroid gland is an extremely prone to many problems and diseases. These problems might be due to the excess secretion of hormones, excessive growth of the gland or lumps in the gland which may or may not be cancerous. Some of the common thyroid problems are:
It is an excessive enlargement of the thyroid gland often obstructing the esophagus or other organs in the neck and chest by causing difficulty to eat and breathe.
It is a very common form of cancer. However, the chances of survival for a thyroid cancer patient is quite high compared to other forms of cancer.
Hyperthyroidism: This condition is caused by the excess production of the thyroid hormones. The hypothyroidism symptoms include a change in appetite, insomnia, fatigue, frequent urination, increased sweating and heat intolerance.
This condition is caused by the under-secretion of the thyroid hormones. It is a very common problem and often stays undetected for years.
The common symptoms of the thyroid are:
- Poor concentration and knowledge retention.
- Change in the menstrual cycle.
- Increased heart rate.
- Muscle aches.
- Weight gain.
- High level of cholesterol.
The most common treatment available for thyroid problems like hyperthyroidism is by replacing thyroxine with levothyroxine, a synthetic man-made hormone. It is a regular course of medicine which will return the balance in the thyroid gland. Patients will experience the reduction in the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in a few weeks of time.
Cancer in the thyroid gland could be treated quite successfully with radiation.Thyroid cancer would be difficult to diagnose sometimes as it shows no sign or symptoms. Having periodic checkup is recommended for preventing such outcomes.
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