15% of the U.S. population are diagnosed with thyroid disease.
an onset of symptoms with the approach of middle age with
malfunction of the thyroid either producing excess thyroid hormone,
resulting in hyperthyroidism,
or too little hormone, resulting in hypothyroidism.
How the thyroid gland works - a delicate balance
is butterfly-shaped gland which lies in the neck below the Adam's
apple. It measures about 2 inches across, and usually cannot be
seen unless it becomes enlarged (goiter).
In order for
the thyroid to work properly, it depends on minute amounts of iodine
usually found in food, water or iodized salt.
gland's main job is to secrete hormones which control your metabolic
rate but the normally functioning thyroid does not work alone.
The level of hormones it produces is kept in check by the a peanut-sized
pituitary gland at the base of the brain which, in turn, is regulated
by the hypothalamus.
All three glands perform a delicate dance that keeps your body functioning neither too fast nor too slow, and if the thyroid becomes diseased or inflamed, other bodily systems become affected and medical attention is required.
of hypothyroidism may include depression or lethargy, weight
gain, chronic fatigue, dry skin, brittle nails, hair loss, acne,
muscle aches, constipation, menstrual abnormalities or low libido.
disease is the most common form of hypothyroidism, causing
the gland to become enlarged and inflamed. At first, the gland produces
too much hormone, but then the thyroid may simply shut down. Following
diagnosis of hypothyroidism, patients are usually put on a regimen
of thyroid medication to replace the hormones that the thyroid gland
no longer produces.
is a synthetic hormone which is conventionally used by endocrinolgists.
is another synthetic hormone that may be administered to patients
who do not respond well to Synthroid.
approved by the FDA in 2000, is yet another medication available
for those who suffer from under-active thyroid.
thyroid symptoms are opposite to those of hypothyroidism. Signs of hyperthyroidism typically
include weight loss, inability to sleep, intolerance to heat, rapid
pulse, trembling hands, or bulging eyes, the latter symptom most
often seen in those who suffer from Grave's
for hyperthyroidism may include anti-thyroid drugs which inhibit
thyroid hormone activity. A radioactive
iodine "cocktail" may also be administered orally
and absorbed by the thyroid gland. This effectively eliminates some
of the thyroid cells and treats the patient by diminishing the gland's
A hospital stay
may also be required, during which a part of the thyroid is removed
in a subtotal thyroidectomy under general anesthesia.
treatment for thyroid disease
Along with conventional
treatments for serious thyroid disease, medical nutritionists recommend
a daily multi-vitamin, along with extra supplements of Vitamins
A, C and E, B-complex, B12 and CoEnzyme Q10.
mineral deficiency in magnesium, manganese, selenium, or zinc may
prevent the conversion
of T4 to T3 and adversely affect normal thyroid function.
MedlinePlus : Thyroid Diseases - Extensive information on how they are diagnosed and treated, along with resources to more on thyroid surgery and specific conditions such as goiter, graves disease and more.
EndocrineWeb.com - Facts, information and feature articles on a wide range of topics including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, thyroid cancer, and related diseases.
Thyroid Center - Medicinenet guide with comprehensive information on how the thyroid works, the causes of disease with symptoms and treatment, related news and updates, and Ask The Expert Q&A.