The thyroid gland is one of the most important organs in your body. The gland has the responsibility for the production of thyroid hormones whose main function is to regulate your body’s metabolism process. In doing so, thyroid hormones enable your body to obtain the necessary energy from the food that you eat in addition to regulating how your body uses other hormones and nutrients. The thyroid gland is also responsible for proper growth of your body tissues.
Effects of Thyroid Disease :
Thyroid gland problems do affect the production thyroid hormones. Such problems can lead to the production of high or low thyroid hormones. While high thyroid hormone production leads to hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), low thyroid hormone production leads to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). To ensure that the level of thyroid hormones in the blood stream is of the optimum level, the pituitary gland regulates the production of thyroid hormones. Once the gland senses that a thyroid hormone level in the blood stream is either high or low, it adjusts the same accordingly.
Causes of Thyroid Disease :
Thyroid problems can be caused by various factors including:
- Exposure to radioactive elements including those from nuclear reactors.
- Certain medications such as lithium.
- Overconsumption of iodine in food.
- Radiation therapies.
- Overconsumption of certain raw foods such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, babassu and sprouts amongst others.
Apart from the causative factors, certain risks also contribute to thyroid problems. Such include:
- If you have a pituitary gland disease.
- If you have a family member with thyroid problem.
- If you are a woman.
- If you are over the age of 60 years.
- If you have just given birth.
- If you are a woman approaching menopause.
- If you have been exposed to radioactive elements.
- If you have obtained lithium treatment.
Thyroid problems manifest in various ways including:
- Retarded growth (in children).
- Excessive fatigue (in children and adults).
- Constipation (in both children and adults).
- Insomnia (in adults).
- Nervousness (in adults).
- Inability to conceive.
Different Types of Thyroid Disease :
- Hypothyroidism – This is a problem in where your thyroid gland produces low hormones. In this state, your body’s immune system will try to destroy the thyroid gland, mistaking it to be a foreign body. This leads to the enlargement of the gland (goiter).
- Hyperthyroidism – This is a problem where your thyroid gland produces excess hormones. Unlike in hypothyroidism where your immune system will try to destroy the gland, it encourages the gland to produce more hormones in hyperthyroidism state. This leads to thyroid cells grouping together and forming a lump in the neck.
- Postpartum Thyroiditis – This problem is common amongst some women after they give birth. The gland simply enlarges and can produce high or low hormones interchangeably. This problem usually goes away after several months without any damage to the organ.
- Thyroid cancer – Although rare, this problem occurs in the gland, presenting itself as a lump.
Treatment of Thyroidism :
Treating Thyroidism depends on the type of thyroid problem diagnosed and your age. Common treatments are undertaken with prescription drugs (beta-blockers) that are effective in lowering the resultant increased heart rate. In addition, thyroid replacement therapy can also be undertaken. In other cases, surgery may be used along with medications.