Thyroid gland is one of the chief regulating organs, which keeps under the control numerous body functions, including heart rate, body temperature, menstrual cycle, mental performance and metabolism (the way you use energy). It is located in the lower front part of your neck. You can feel it, if put the fingers on the neck, below Adam’s apple, and swallow.
Thyroid gland secretes essential hormones, called thyroxine and triiodothyronine. But it doesn’t work apart from the whole body. Production of thyroid hormones is regulated by brain areas (the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland). The pituitary gland controls levels of thyroid hormones in the blood, and adjusts synthesis of these chemicals.
Thus, it can reduce releasing of thyroxine and triiodothyronine, when there is enough of them in circulating blood. If this regulatory system fails, or if problems occur within the thyroid gland, it can begin to create too much or too few of thyroid hormones.
These conditions are medically called hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
In vast majority of cases these problems happen because of autoimmune processes, when immune system mistakenly attacks person’s own thyroid tissue. Hashimoto’s disease is known as the main culprit of hypothyroidism, while Grave’s disease is commonly responsible for overactive thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism may be also caused by goiter, active nodules or thyroid cancer.
Overactive thyroid is often treated by surgical removal of the whole gland that may lead to hypothyroidism. Other frequent causes of this trouble include radiation treatment, pregnancy, congenital abnormalities and long-term consumption of certain medicines (amiodarone, lithium, interleukin-2, interferon alpha).
How can you understand that your thyroid gland doesn’t work properly? Check up these symptoms of thyroid disease:
#1. Unintentional weight changes
You may lose ability to control your weight, if your thyroid fails. Underactive thyroid gland causes inexplicable weight gain, while hyperthyroidism may result in significant weight loss.
#2. Irregular periods
Your thyroid gland makes a great influence on the reproductive system, you know. That’s why it can disturb your menstrual cycle, causing heavy menstrual bleeding (hypothyroidism) or skipping periods (hyperthyroidism).
#3. Alterations in your heart rate
Your heart normally beats 60 to 80 times per minute. Excessive production of thyroid hormones can accelerate your heart rate. At the same time hypothyroidism is usually accompanied by too slow heart rate.
#4. Mental problems
People with hypothyroidism frequently suffer from brain fog and sluggishness. Hyperthyroid individuals, in turn, can find it really difficult to concentrate.
#5. Heat or cold intolerance
Lack of thyroid hormones can make you feel cold all the time, while hyperthyroidism usually causes intolerance to heat.
#6. Fatigue and mood changes
Those, who have overactive thyroid gland, often feel anxious, irritable and nervous without any reasons. Meanwhile patients with hypothyroidism may complain of drowsiness, depression and extreme tiredness.
#7. Hair loss
Both overproduction and deficiency of thyroid hormones can lead to excessive hair loss. The good new is that hair will grow back, when hormonal balance will be restored.
#8. Muscle aches
Painful sensation in muscle and joints may indicate problems in the thyroid gland.
#9. Low sex drive
Decreased libido may be a sign of hypothyroidism. However women with hyperthyroidism can also feel too exhausted to be engaged in sex activity.
Have one or more of these symptoms? Visit your doctor and examine thyroid gland without delay!
Sources: MedicineNet, Emedicinehealth, WebMD, Health, Healthline
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