Keeping The Body Working Right
Thyroid hormones help keep all the cells in the body working right. It does this by controlling the metabolism. This is the rate at which every part of the body functions. The right amount of thyroid hormones keep the metabolism at a healthy pace. This helps the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs work well. A balanced metabolism also helps ensure a healthy temperature, heart rate, energy level, and growth rate.
What Is Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families .
Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery
If your healthcare provider determines that your thyroid needs to be removed, there are a couple of ways that can be done. Your thyroid may need to be completely removed or just partially. This will depend on the severity of your condition. Also, if your thyroid is very big or has a lot of growths on it, that could prevent you from being eligible for some types of surgery.
The surgery to remove your thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. There are two main ways this surgery can be done:
- With an incision on the front of your neck.
- With an incision in your armpit.
The incision on the front of your neck is more of the traditional version of a thyroidectomy. It allows your surgeon to go straight in and remove the thyroid. In many cases, this might be your best option. You may need this approach if your thyroid is particularly big or has a lot of larger nodules.
Alternatively, there is a version of the thyroid removal surgery where your surgeon makes an incision in your armpit and then creates a tunnel to your thyroid. This tunnel is made with a special tool called an elevated retractor. It creates an opening that connects the incision in your armpit with your neck. The surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel to get to the thyroid. Once there, it can remove the thyroid back through the tunnel and out of the incision in your armpit.
- Are not at a healthy body weight.
- Have large thyroid nodules.
- Have a condition like thyroiditis or Gravess disease.
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Small Gland Big Job: Why Your Thyroid Is So Important
Did you know you have a butterfly with a shield in your neck? That’s right your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland with a name that comes from the Greek word for “shield.” The thyroid gland sits at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple and weighs less than an ounce. This small but mighty gland controls your metabolism the process of converting food into energy. Your thyroid is so important that you are unable to live without it unless you have medicine to replace its hormones.
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system the system that includes all the glands in your body that regulate essential functions. Your thyroid produces several hormones that are crucial to your growth, development, and good health. The thyroid makes hormones called T3 and T4 that regulate everything from your breathing, heart rate, muscle strength, body temperature, and so much more. Think of your thyroid as the engine that keeps your body running.
What Is The Function Of The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is a crucial hormonal gland that plays an important role in growth and development, metabolism and regulating several functions of the human body such as temperature and calcium balance. It constantly secretes, stores and releases multiple hormones, collectively referred to as thyroid hormones.
A sufficient supply of thyroid hormones is important for brain development during childhood and infancy. The major hormones secreted by the thyroid glands are T4 and T3 they affect virtually every cell in the human body, and help regulate human body functions. T4 and T3 are produced in the follicular epithelial cells of the thyroid gland their main component is iodine. While some of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland are stored as droplets, others are joined to carrier proteins in the blood.
The thyroid gland is found at the base of the neck, immediately below the Adam’s apple. It has a butterfly shape, with each wing lying on either side of the windpipe. The most common medical condition associated with the thyroid gland is hypothyroidism, which occurs when too little hormone is secreted. Hyperthyroidism occurs when too much hormone is produced. Other conditions associated with the thyroid gland include thyroiditis, goiter, Grave’s disease, thyroid cancer, thyroid storm and thyroid nodule.
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Biochemistry Of Thyroid Hormone
Thyroxine and triiodothyronine contain iodine and are formed from thyronines, which are composed of two molecules of the amino acidtyrosine. Thyroxine contains four iodine atoms, and triiodothyronine contains three iodine atoms. Because each molecule of tyrosine binds one or two iodine atoms, two tyrosines are used to synthesize both thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These two hormones are the only biologically active substances that contain iodine, and they cannot be produced in the absence of iodine. The process leading to the eventual synthesis of thyroxine and triiodothyronine begins in the thyroid follicular cells, which concentrate iodine from the serum. The iodine is then oxidized and attached to tyrosine residues within thyroglobulin molecules. The iodinated tyrosine residues are then rearranged to form thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Therefore, thyroglobulin serves not only as the structure within which thyroxine and triiodothyronine are synthesized but also as the storage form of the two hormones.
Effect Of Excessive Iodine On The Thyroid
Excessive iodine intake can alter thyroid function, although most individuals tolerate high dietary intakes of iodine remarkably well.
Following exposure to high iodine levels, the synthesis of thyroid hormone is normally inhibited by the acute Wolff-Chaikoff effect,,. Administration of supplemental iodine to subjects with endemic iodine deficiency goiter can result in thyrotoxicosis. This response, termed iodide-induced hyperthyroidism or the Jod-Basedow effect , occurs in only a small fraction of individuals at risk. Patients with underlying, perhaps mild, autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, are particularly susceptible to developing iodine-induced hypothyroidism during several weeks after the exposure. The Wolff-Chaikoff effect dose not mature until 36-40 weeks’ gestation therefore, preterm infants are vulnerable to the effects of iodine overload,,.
High iodine intake is associated with autoimmune thyroid disease. A sudden increase in iodine intake in an iodine-deficient population may induce thyroid autoimmunity. People with antithyroid antibodies have a higher risk of developing thyroid dysfunction when the iodine intake is high. The overall incidence of thyroid carcinoma in populations does not appear to be influenced by iodine intake. Excessive iodine intake in children in high iodine areas is associated with impaired thyroid function.
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Can I Live A Normal Life With A Thyroid Disease
A thyroid disease is often a life-long medical condition that you will need to manage constantly. This often involves a daily medication. Your healthcare provider will monitor your treatments and make adjustments over time. However, you can usually live a normal life with a thyroid disease. It may take some time to find the right treatment option for you and control your hormone levels, but then people with these types of conditions can usually live life without many restrictions.
The Importance Of Thyroid Function
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adams apple. It is a crucial component to the function of many systems and organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. With January being Thyroid Awareness Month, its important to understand how your thyroid gland functions and to be aware of the warning signs of a problem.
Thyroid gland function
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that produce, store and release hormones into the bloodstream so the hormones can reach the bodys cells. Your thyroid gland uses iodine from the foods you eat to make two main hormones: triiodothyronine and thyroxine . It is important that the levels of these hormones are never too high or too low. The hypothalamus and the pituitary glands in the brain work together to maintain these levels.
The functionality of the thyroid gland will affect your bodys overall wellness. Your thyroid gland is responsible for manufacturing enough thyroid hormone to trigger your cells to perform and function at a certain rate. The thyroid hormones regulate vital functions like:
- Central and peripheral nervous system function
- Body weight
When the T3 and T4 hormone levels become too high or too low, your body will develop hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when there is too much T3 and T4 in your system. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
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Assessment Of Iodine Nutrition And Measurement Of Iodine Content
Most methods of measuring iodine sufficiency have focused on field studies of iodine deficiency,, because elimination of iodine deficiency disorders has been an integral component of many national nutrition strategies since 1990.
Assessment of the size of the thyroid is the historical method to evaluate iodine nutrition because iodine deficiency is associated with an increased goiter rate. In areas of moderate to severe iodine deficiency, iodine status had been assessed by goiter palpation. In contrast, in areas of mild iodine deficiency, where goiters are smaller, palpation of goiters has poor sensitivity and specificity, so measurement of thyroid volume by ultrasound is preferable. In 1992, the World Health Organization , together with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders , simplified the previous goiter classification grade 0 was defined as a thyroid that is not palpable or visible grade 1 was defined as an enlarged gland that is palpable but not visible when the neck is in the normal position and the previous stages 2 and 3 were combined into a single new grade 2, defined as a thyroid that is clearly visible when the neck is in the normal position.
Preventing Thyroid Gland Disease
It is difficult to prevent thyroid gland disease, as it is not possible to modify some of the known risk factors, such as genetics. However, people can take certain measures to reduce the likelihood.
The main way to reduce the risk of developing hypothyroidism is to consume enough iodine. Because the body does not naturally produce iodine, people must eat food containing iodine or take dietary supplements. However, consuming too much iodine can aversely affect the T3 and T4 hormones.
People should also avoid smoking if they have concerns about thyroid disease, as cigarette smoke can affect iodine uptake.
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Thyroid Hormones Are Critically Important To Many Bodily Functions
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of the neck in front of the trachea . Measuring about two inches wide and weighing 20 to 60 grams, the thyroid gland’s function is to make hormones that are vitally important to the bodys metabolism, growth, and development.
In infants, thyroid hormones are crucial to the development of the brain and the skeletal system. A normal functioning thyroid gland is critical to the normal development of children, and to both the long-term and minute-to-minute well-being of adults.
When It Doesnt Work Right
Sometimes, the thyroid gland develops a problem. It might start producing too much or too little hormone. It might become enlarged, or it could grow lumps of extra tissue.
More than 12% of people will have some sort of problem with their thyroid during their lifetime. Women are far more likely to have this happen than men.
Common thyroid problems include:
Hypothyroidism. This occurs when your thyroid doesnât make enough hormones. That slows your metabolism. It can make you gain weight and feel sluggish or depressed. Sometimes thatâs caused by a condition called Hashimotoâs disease. This happens when your bodyâs disease-fighting immune system attacks the thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism. If youâre feeling irritable, losing weight, your heart races, and youâre feeling weak, your thyroid might be producing too much hormone. This is often the result of another immune system problem, known as Gravesâ disease, but can be caused by other conditions as well.
Goiters. A goiter happens when your thyroid gland swells up. Sometimes, it makes a noticeable bulge in your neck other times, it can make you cough or make your voice sound hoarse. A goiter can be caused by other thyroid conditions or by a lack of iodine, an element your thyroid needs to work properly. Most Americans get plenty of iodine because itâs now added to table salt in the United States.
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How Is Thyroid Disease Treated
Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:
- Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
- Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.
If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:
- Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.
Which Hormones Does My Thyroid Gland Produce
The thyroid gland produces thyroxine , which is a relatively inactive prohormone. The highly active hormone is triiodothyronine . Collectively, thyroxine and triiodothyronine are referred to as the thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland produces just 20% of the high active T3, but it produces 80% of the prohormone T4. Once secreted by the thyroid, specific enzymes in other tissues like the liver or kidneys may transform T4 in to the active hormone T3.
In addition, there are other hormone-producing cells within the thyroid gland called C-cells. These cells produce calcitonin. Calcitonin plays a role in regulating calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, which is important for your bone health and maintenance.
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The Role Of Thyroid Function Tests
Thyroid function testing can be used in several ways, including:
- Screening: Screening means testing for disease in the absence of symptoms. All newborns in the United States are routinely screened for an underactive thyroid. Some adults may also be screened for thyroid disorders, although not all experts agree that this is beneficial.
- Diagnosis: Diagnostic thyroid function testing aims to find the cause of a persons symptoms. Thyroid function testing can reveal whether the thyroid gland is functioning normally or abnormally and what specific disorder a person may have.
- Treatment monitoring: Thyroid blood tests provide valuable information about whether treatment for thyroid disorders is working as it should or if it needs adjustment.
Hormone Imbalances: Overactive And Underactive Thyroid Gland
An overactive thyroid occurs if the thyroid gland makes too many hormones. An underactive thyroid is where the gland doesnt make enough hormones. Both of these imbalances can lead to a great number of symptoms.
The thyroid gland may grow in size too. Sometimes the whole thyroid gland becomes enlarged , and sometimes individual lumps called nodules grow in the gland . A special examination, known as thyroid scintigraphy, can be used to see whether these nodules are producing abnormal amounts of hormones. If they make more hormones than the rest of the thyroid tissue, they are called hot nodules. If they make less, they are called cold nodules.
In most cases, an enlarged thyroid or nodules arent caused by anything serious. They are only rarely cancer. But its still important to see a doctor if you notice any changes in your thyroid gland.
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What Happens In Your Body
Thyroid hormones have an impact on every cell and every organ. Specifically, T3 directly controls the production of various proteins made by your bodys cells. T3 does this by binding to a cells DNA.
Free T4 and free T3 circulating in your blood are available to immediately enter your bodys cells whenever they’re needed, for instance, when you’re cold or when your body is digesting food. Some of the intracellular T4 is converted to T3, and some of the T3 binds to specific T3-receptors in the nucleus of the cell. This bound T3 causes nuclear DNA to stimulate the production of specific proteins.
Among these proteins are various enzymes that, in turn, control the behavior of many important bodily functions mentioned above, such as how quickly your food is digested, your heart rate, body temperature, and how fast calories are burned.
Though thyroid hormones regulate DNA in this way in all cases, different cells in your body have different kinds of T3-nuclear receptors and in different concentrations. As such, the effect of T3 on a cell is quite variable from tissue to tissue and under various circumstances.