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What Is The Meaning Of Thyroid Gland

Blood Lymph And Nerve Supply

What does the thyroid gland do?

The thyroid is supplied with arterial blood from the superior thyroid artery, a branch of the external carotid artery, and the inferior thyroid artery, a branch of the thyrocervical trunk, and sometimes by an anatomical variant the thyroid ima artery, which has a variable origin. The superior thyroid artery splits into anterior and posterior branches supplying the thyroid, and the inferior thyroid artery splits into superior and inferior branches. The superior and inferior thyroid arteries join together behind the outer part of the thyroid lobes. The venous blood is drained via superior and middle thyroid veins, which drain to the internal jugular vein, and via the inferior thyroid veins. The inferior thyroid veins originate in a network of veins and drain into the left and right brachiocephalic veins. Both arteries and veins form a plexus between the two layers of the capsule of the thyroid gland.

Treating An Underactive Thyroid

Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels.

You’ll initially have regular blood tests until the correct dose of levothyroxine is reached. This can take a little while to get right.

Once you’re taking the correct dose, you’ll usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.

You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.

If an underactive thyroid is not treated, it can lead to complications, including heart disease, goitre, pregnancy problems and a life-threatening condition called myxoedema coma .

What Is Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is a ductless endocrine gland situated in the anterior/front portion of the neck. It roughly resembles the shape of a butterfly. It is also one of the largest endocrine glands, weighing an average of 25 30 g. This gland has two lobes on either side of the trachea, with each lobe measuring 4 6 cm in length and 1.3 1.8 cm in width.

The primary function of the thyroid gland is to secrete two hormones, namely, Triiodothyronine hormone and the Thyroxine hormone . Both T3 and T4 hormones play a very important role and affect almost every tissue in the body.

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Thyroid Volume Distribution In Hypothyroid Patients Vs Controls

A right-skewed distribution of thyroid volume was observed in both patients and controls, which is in accordance with other studies reporting this in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis, independent of biochemical status . Patients had a statistically lower thyroid volume than controls but with a large overlap. The dispersion of thyroid volumes was considerably larger in hypothyroid patients than in controls, illustrating that indeed some patients tend to have an increase and other a decrease in thyroid volume. On the other hand, the distribution of thyroid volumes was Gaussian with no sign of distinct subgroups. This finding was somewhat unexpected because primary autoimmune hypothyroidism is often divided into two clinical subtypes : Ords hypothyroidism with atrophic thyroid gland, and Hashimotos hypothyroidism with glandular hypertrophy and/or goiter. The volume distribution in patients diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism was the same in both sexes, and Q-Q plots illustrated a pearls-on-a-string pattern with no sign of a bimodal distribution. Our findings indicated that patients with a small or large thyroid gland represent only extremes of a continuous Gaussian distribution.

What Are Typical Symptoms Of Hyper

Thyroid Gland

Typical symptoms for hyperthyroidism is weight loss, fast heart rate, high irritability/nervousness, muscle weakness and tremors, infrequent menstrual periods, sleep problems, eye irritations and heat sensitivity.

Symptoms for hypothyroidism is the contrary of hyperthyroidism such as weight gain, slower heart rate, fatigue, more frequent and stronger menstrual periods, forgetfulness, dry skin and hair, hoarse voice and intolerance to cold. In addition, hypothyroidism is often accompanied by an enlargement of the thyroid gland known as goitre.

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How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed

The correct diagnosis of hypothyroidism depends on the following:

  • Symptoms. Hypothyroidism doesnt have any characteristic symptoms. There are no symptoms that people with hypothyroidism always have and many symptoms of hypothyroidism can occur in people with other diseases. One way to help figure out whether your symptoms are due to hypothyroidism is to think about whether youve always had the symptom or whether the symptom is a change from the way you used to feel .
  • Medical and family history. You should tell your doctor:
  • about changes in your health that suggest that your body is slowing down
  • if youve ever had thyroid surgery
  • if youve ever had radiation to your neck to treat cancer
  • if youre taking any of the medicines that can cause hypothyroidism amiodarone, lithium, interferon alpha, interleukin-2, and maybe thalidomide
  • whether any of your family members have thyroid disease..
  • Physical exam. The doctor will check your thyroid gland and look for changes such as dry skin, swelling, slower reflexes, and a slower heart rate.
  • Blood tests. There are two blood tests that are used in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
  • TSH test. This is the most important and sensitive test for hypothyroidism. It measures how much of the thyroid hormone thyroxine the thyroid gland is being asked to make. An abnormally high TSH means hypothyroidism: the thyroid gland is being asked to make more T4 because there isnt enough T4 in the blood.
  • What Does A Normal Tsh And Low T4 Mean

    A normal TSH and normal T4 show a normal thyroid. A low TSH and high T4 generally means an overactive thyroid. A high TSH and low T4 means an underactive thyroid. A low TSH and low T4 mean low thyroid function because of another problem, such as with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus of the brain.

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    Lab Testing For Your Thyroid

    Looking at your thyroid gland via imaging doesn’t usually give you any information about the FUNCTION of the thyroid gland.

    The function of your thyroid gland is very important because it relates to how well your thyroid is able to produce thyroid hormone.

    Any change to the ability of your gland to produce thyroid hormone will result in very specific symptoms that are too big to be ignored and these symptoms will often drive people into the Doctors office for evaluation.

    Fortunately, many conditions that result in thyroid gland enlargement usually do not interfere with thyroid hormone production.

    Some conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, cause both thyroid gland enlargement AND thyroid hormone issues.

    Because of this each and every patient with a known or suspected thyroid gland issue should undergo thyroid function testing with blood tests.

    To test your thyroid function you will need the following tests:

    • TSH – This will help you understand if your brain is talking to your thyroid gland.
    • Free T3 – This is the most important thyroid hormone in your body and is responsible for the majority of thyroid cellular activity/
    • Free T4 – This is the most abundant thyroid hormone in your body and is important because it acts as a reservoir for T3 thyroid hormone.
    • Thyroid Antibodies – The presence or absence of thyroid antibodies can help you understand if you have an autoimmune disease or if your body is attacking your own thyroid gland.

    How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery

    Why Is The Thyroid Gland So Important?

    It will take your body a few weeks to recover after your thyroid is surgically removed . During this time you should avoid a few things, including:

    • Submerging your incision under water.
    • Lifting an object thats heavier than 15 pounds.
    • Doing more than light exercise.

    This generally lasts for about two weeks. After that, you can return to your normal activities.

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    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.

    How Does The Thyroid Gland Function

    The major thyroid hormone secreted by the thyroid gland is thyroxine, also called T4 because it contains four iodine atoms. To exert its effects, T4 is converted to triiodothyronine by the removal of an iodine atom. This occurs mainly in the liver and in certain tissues where T3 acts, such as in the brain. The amount of T4 produced by the thyroid gland is controlled by another hormone, which is made in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain, called thyroid stimulating hormone . The amount of TSH that the pituitary sends into the bloodstream depends on the amount of T4 that the pituitary sees. If the pituitary sees very little T4, then it produces more TSH to tell the thyroid gland to produce more T4. Once the T4 in the bloodstream goes above a certain level, the pituitarys production of TSH is shut off. In fact, the thyroid and pituitary act in many ways like a heater and a thermostat. When the heater is off and it becomes cold, the thermostat reads the temperature and turns on the heater. When the heat rises to an appropriate level, the thermostat senses this and turns off the heater. Thus, the thyroid and the pituitary, like a heater and thermostat, turn on and off. This is illustrated in the figure below.

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    Living With Hashimotos Syndrome

    While Hashimotos syndrome cannot be cured, with the right hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes, individuals can experience relief from many symptoms from this condition.

    If you suspect you may have Hashimotos syndrome or are experiencing symptoms related to hypothyroidism such as fatigue, dry skin, depression, or constipation, or if you have an unexplained goiter, reach out to the experts at CentreSprings MD. Our integrative, functional, holistic approach can help you get to the underlying issue behind your symptoms and create a holistic approach to treatment.

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    Causes Of An Enlarged Thyroid

    Suspicious for follicular neoplasm of the thyroid gland ...

    Knowing that your thyroid is enlarged is not a diagnosis by itself.

    It’s more helpful to think of an enlarged thyroid gland as an observation or as a description of what is happening.

    This is because there are actually many different conditions which result in thyroid gland enlargement.

    These conditions range from infections, inflammation of the gland, nutrient deficiencies, cancer and even autoimmune disease.

    An important part of treating an enlarged thyroid gland is correctly identifying and diagnosing what is happening.

    This important step can be done through blood testing and imaging .

    The range of medical conditions which can cause thyroid gland enlargement include:

    These diseases can be differentiated based on how they present , how they affect the size of your thyroid gland , how they look on ultrasound imaging and how they affect thyroid hormone production.

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    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.

    Diagnostic Tests Of The Thyroid Gland

    Doctors first examine the person and feel the person’s neck to see whether the thyroid gland is enlarged.

    Depending on the results of the examination, other tests may also be needed. Additional testing may also be necessary in rare cases in which doctors cannot determine whether the problem lies in the thyroid or in the pituitary gland.

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    Gene And Protein Expression

    About 20,000 protein coding genes are expressed in human cells: 70% of these genes are expressed in thyroid cells. Two-hundred fifty of these genes are more specifically expressed in the thyroid, and about 20 genes are highly thyroid specific. In the follicular cells, the proteins synthesized by these genes direct thyroid hormone synthesisthyroglobulin, TPO, and IYD while in the parafollicular c-cells, they direct calcitonin synthesisCALCA, and CALCB.

    Types Of Thyroid Problems

    Thyroid gland – what does it do?

    Hopefully, you’re beginning to get the idea that there are MANY things that can go wrong with your thyroid gland.

    The good news is that some of the problems associated with your thyroid have no effect on thyroid hormone production.

    What does that mean?

    It means that even if you have a condition such as thyroid cancer or a thyroid nodule, there’s a low chance that it will interfere with thyroid function in your body.

    That means you probably won’t have the symptoms we discussed above.

    But, on the other hand, there are some conditions which primarily do alter your ability to produce thyroid hormone.

    These conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, WILL cause symptoms.

    To give you a better idea of what can go wrong with your thyroid I’ve included some of the most common problems below:

    Figuring out what is wrong with your thyroid is of utmost priority.

    When you go to your Doctors office make sure you walk out with a diagnosis or at least an idea as to what is going on.

    If you don’t then you may end up frustrated without any real clear idea how to treat your issue.

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    What Does The Thyroid Do

    Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your bodys systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.

    The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones T4 and T3 . These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.

    This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone . The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.


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