Thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland in the front of the neck .
The thyroid has important roles to regulate numerous metabolic process throughout the body .
Different types of disorders affects either its structure or function.
The Thyroid gland is located below the Adam’s apple wrapped around the trachea (windpipe).
A thin area of tissue in the gland ‘s middle.known as the isthmus ,joins the two thyroid lobes on each side.
The Thyroid uses iodine to produce vital hormones.Thyroxine , also known as T4, is the primary hormone produced by the gland .
After the delivery via the bloodstream to the body’s tissues, a small portion of the T4 released from the gland is converted to triiodothyronine(T3),which is the most active hormone
The Thyroid gland is regulated by a feedback mechanism involving the brain.
When Thyroid hormone levels are low , the hypothalamus in the brain produces hormone known as thyrotropin releasing hormone(TRH) that causes the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain ) to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to release more T4.
Since the thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, disorders of these tissues can also affect thyroid function and cause thyroid problems.
Several different disorders can arise when thyroid produces too much hormones (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism).
Four common disorders of the thyroid are:-
Hypothyroidism results from the thyroid gland producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone.
it can develop from problems within the thyroid gland, pituitary gland ,or hypothalamus.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:-
Some common causes of hypothyroidism include
Hyperthyroidism is a result of excessive production of thyroid hormone, a less common condition than hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism usually relate to increased metabolism .
In mild cases ,there may not be apparent symptoms.
Symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism can include:-
The most common causes of hyperthyroidism are:-
A goiter simply describes enlargement of the thyroid gland, regardless of cause. A goiter is not a specific disease .
A goiter may be associated with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or normal thyroid function.
Nodules are lumps or abnormal masses within the thyroid.
Nodules can be caused by benign tumors or less commonly by cancers of the thyroid.
Nodules may be single or multiple and can vary in size.
If nodules are excessively large, they ma cause symptoms related to compression of nearby structures.
Thyroid cancer is far more common among adult women than men or youth.
About 2/3 of cases occur in people under age 55.
There are different kind of thyroid cancer ,depending upon the specific cell type with in the thyroid that has become cancerous
Most cases of thyroid cancer have good prognosis and high survival rate especially when diagnosed in its early stages
Thyroid disorders can be treated by medications, or in some cases ,surgery
Treatment will depend on the particular disease of the thyroid.
Medication can be given to replace the missing thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism.
Synthetic thyroid hormone is given in pill form orally.
For hyperthyroidism medication can be used to decrease production of thyroid hormone or to prevent its release from the gland .
if hyperthyroidism is not control with medication ,radioactive ablation ican be performed.
Ablation involve giving doses of iodine labeled with radioactivity that selectively destroys the thyroid tissue.
Surgery can be used to remove a large goiter or a hyper functioning nodules with in the gland .
Surgery is necessary when there is a possibility of thyroid cancer.
If the thyroid gland is removed entirely , the individual will need to take synthetic thyroid hormone for life .
Thyroid surgery can be also be used in Graves Disease(subtotal thyroidectomy) and was the treatment of choice prior to RAI therapy and anti – thyroid medications.
In most cases , thyroid disorders can be well managed with medical treatment and are not life threatening .
Some conditions may require surgery .
Prognosis for most cases of thyroid cancer is also good.
Patient with thyroid cancer that has spread throughout the body have a poorer prognosis.