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What Kind Of Gland Is The Thyroid

Thyroid Hormone Production And Regulation

What is Thyroid Disease? (HealthSketch)

The thyroid gland produces the hormonesthyroxine, triiodothyronine, and calcitonin. Thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine are produced by thyroid folliclar cells. Thyroid cells absorb iodine from certain foods and combine the iodine with tyrosine, an amino acid, to make thyroxine and triiodothyronine . The hormone T4 has four atoms of iodine, while T3 has three atoms of iodine. T4 and T3 regulate metabolism, growth, heart rate, body temperature, and affect protein synthesis. The hormone calcitonin is produced by thyroid parafollicular cells. Calcitonin helps to regulate calcium concentrations by lowering blood calcium levels when the levels are high.

What Is Thyroid Disorder

In thyroid disorder, your thyroid gland is unable to produce the right amount of hormones. This leads to various complications like raising your heartbeat, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, nervousness, inability to endure cold temperatures, so on and so forth. Broadly speaking, there are two types of thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Various risk factors, starting from genetic predisposition to health conditions like diabetes can up your risk of these conditions.

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Who Is Affected By Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease can affect anyone men, women, infants, teenagers and the elderly. It can be present at birth and it can develop as you age .

Thyroid disease is very common, with an estimated 20 million people in the Unites States having some type of thyroid disorder. A woman is about five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than a man.

You may be at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease if you:

  • Have a family history of thyroid disease.
  • Have a medical condition .
  • Take a medication thats high in iodine .
  • Are older than 60, especially in women.
  • Have had treatment for a past thyroid condition or cancer .

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Does An Enlarged Thyroid Cause Symptoms

Anatomical changes to your thyroid, such as changes to the size or shape of your thyroid, are most often found incidentally.

Patients are often quite surprised that they even have a thyroid issue until they are notified by their physician during a routine exam.

Problems which cause changes in the shape and size of thyroid usually do NOT cause problems with the production of thyroid hormone.

This is important because the symptoms associated with dysregulated thyroid hormone production are often profound and easy to identify.

Instead, disorders to the shape and size usually are asymptomatic.

What this means is that they do NOT cause any symptoms.

Now, this isn’t true for all disorders because there are always exceptions.

One such exception is the if the size of your thyroid grows to a size large enough to cause local anatomical issues .

These issues might present as problems swallowing, changes to your vocal cords or a change in your voice, or a bulge that is noticeable in your neck.

Occasionally, if your enlarged thyroid is due to swelling or inflammation, then you might also experience pain when touching your neck.

Some conditions which result in an enlargement of your thyroid gland are reversible and may go away on their own while others may persist and cause permanent thyroid damage .

Hopefully, you’re beginning to understand that in order to really understand what is happening with your thyroid gland you will need further evaluation.

What Causes A Thyroid Nodule To Form

Thyroid nodules treatment, symptoms and diagnostics ...

Sometimes the thyroid begins to grow , causing one or more nodules to form. Why this happens is not known. Cancer is the biggest concern when nodules form. Fortunately, cancer is very rare it is found in less than 5 percent of all nodules. Nodules develop more often in people who have a family history of nodules, and in people who dont get enough iodine. Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone.

There are different types of thyroid nodules:

  • Colloid nodules: These are one or more overgrowths of normal thyroid tissue. These growths are benign . They may grow large, but they do not spread beyond the thyroid gland.
  • Thyroid cysts: These are growths that are filled with fluid or partly solid and partly filled with fluid.
  • Inflammatory nodules: These nodules develop as a result of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. These growths may or may not cause pain.
  • Multinodular goiter: Sometimes an enlarged thyroid is made up of many nodules .
  • Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules: These nodules autonomously produce thyroid hormone without regard for normal feedback control mechanisms, which may lead to the development of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can affect the heart and cause such problems as sudden cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, arrhythmias , osteoporosis and other health problems.
  • Thyroid cancer: Less than 5 percent of thyroid nodules are cancerous.

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What Causes Thyroid Problems

Thyroid dysfunction is when too much or not enough thyroid hormones are made. It can be caused by:

  • primary thyroid disorders problems in the thyroid gland itself or
  • central thyroid disorders problems with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus .

While an inadequate intake of iodine is the most common cause of thyroid disease worldwide, autoimmune problems are the most common cause of thyroid problems in Australia. Sometimes thyroid problems start during or after pregnancy.

Hashimotos Diagnosis And Treatment

Testing the level of TSH is often the first step when screening for any type of thyroid disorder. Your doctor might order a blood test to check for increased levels of TSH as well as low levels of thyroid hormone if youre experiencing some of the above symptoms. Hashimotos thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder, so the blood test would also show abnormal antibodies that might be attacking the thyroid.

Theres no known cure for Hashimotos thyroiditis. Hormone-replacing medication is often used to raise thyroid hormone levels or lower TSH levels. It can also help relieve the symptoms of the disease. Surgery might be necessary to remove part or all of the thyroid gland in rare advanced cases of Hashimotos. The disease is usually detected at an early stage and remains stable for years because it progresses slowly.

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Thyroid Nodules Diagnosis And Treatment

Most nodules are detected during a normal physical exam. They can also be detected during an ultrasound, CT scan, or an MRI. Once a nodule is detected, other procedures a TSH test and a thyroid scan can check for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. A fine needle aspiration biopsy is used to take a sample of cells from the nodule and determine whether the nodule is cancerous.

Benign thyroid nodules arent life-threatening and usually dont need treatment. Typically, nothing is done to remove the nodule if it doesnt change over time. Your doctor may do another biopsy and recommend radioactive iodine to shrink the nodules if it grows.

Cancerous nodules are pretty rare according to the National Cancer Institute , thyroid cancer affects less than 4 percent of the population. The treatment your doctor recommends will vary depending on the type of tumor. Removing the thyroid through surgery is usually the treatment of choice. Radiation therapy is sometimes used with or without surgery. Chemotherapy is often required if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

Children can also get thyroid conditions, including:

  • hypothyroidism
  • thyroid nodules
  • thyroid cancer

Sometimes children are born with a thyroid problem. In other cases, surgery, disease, or treatment for another condition causes it.

What Are Thyroid Blood Tests

What Is The Thyroid Gland? | Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism?

Doctors use blood tests to check for thyroid or pituitary problems. In kids already diagnosed with thyroid or pituitary problems, the tests are used to guide treatment.

Commonly ordered thyroid blood tests include:

  • T4 test: This is done to measure the blood level of the hormone T4 . It might be done in one or both of the following ways:
  • total T4, which measures the entire amount of thyroxine in the blood, including the amount attached to blood proteins that help carry the hormone through the bloodstream
  • free T4, which measures only the thyroxine that’s not attached to proteins. This is the part of T4 in the blood that affects how the body’s cells work.The results of the T4 blood tests can help diagnose hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism and guide treatment.
  • TSH test: A thyroid stimulating hormone test can help tell how well the thyroid is working. If a thyroid disease prevents the gland from making enough thyroid hormone, the pituitary gland releases more TSH into the blood. If the thyroid is making too much thyroid hormone, the pituitary releases less TSH, which can lower the levels of TSH in the blood.
  • T3 total test: The T3 total test measures the other major thyroid hormone in the blood. It often helps doctors diagnose hyperthyroidism.
  • In some cases, abnormal thyroid test results can be due to a medicine, an ongoing medical condition, or pregnancy. In these cases, there may be nothing wrong with the thyroid or pituitary glands themselves.

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    What Is The Outlook For A Patient With Thyroiditis

    In the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the resulting hypothyroidism is generally permanent. People who develop subacute thyroiditis usually have symptoms for 1 to 3 months, but complete recovery of thyroid function can take up to 12 to 18 months. These people have about a 5 percent chance of developing a permanent condition of hypothyroidism.

    The time frame for recovery to a thyroid that functions normally for post-partum, silent or painless thyroiditis is also about 12 to 18 months. People with these conditions have about a 20 percent chance of developing permanent hypothyroidism.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/26/2018.

    References

    Treatment For Thyroid Gland Disorders

    Problems with thyroid hormone levels can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. The presence of antibodies in the blood will confirm Graves or Hashimotos disease. Underactivity is treated by taking thyroxine tablets – a form of hormone replacement. Overactivity is treated with drugs that slow the activity of the thyroid gland. If these do not work, part or all of the thyroid can be removed surgically, or some or all of the active thyroid cells can be killed with radioactive iodine.Nodules and cancers are diagnosed with a variety of different tests, including ultrasound, special x-rays and fine needle biopsies. Hot nodules will generally be removed surgically or destroyed with radioactive iodine. Cold nodules are frequently left alone and simply kept under observation. Cancer is treated by surgically removing the thyroid gland, followed by treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy any cells which may have spread.Taking iodine supplements can be dangerous for patients with Graves disease or hot nodules.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroiditis

    The symptoms of thyroiditis depend on the type of thyroiditis and phase of thyroiditis.

    • Hyperthyroid phase: Usually short lasting If cells are damaged quickly and there is a leak of excess thyroid hormone, you might show symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as:
    • Being worried
    • Increased sweating and heat intolerance
    • Anxiety and nervousness

    Types Of Thyroid Cancer

    Thyroid Cancer Treatment

    There are 4 main types of thyroid cancer. They are:

    • papillary carcinoma this is the most common type, accounting for about 6 out of 10 cases it usually affects people under the age of 40, particularly women
    • follicular carcinoma accounts for around 3 out of 20 cases of thyroid cancer and tends to affect older adults
    • medullary thyroid carcinoma accounts for between 5 and 8 out of every 100 diagnosed cases unlike the other types of thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid carcinoma can run in families
    • anaplastic thyroid carcinoma this is the rarest and most aggressive type of thyroid cancer, accounting for less than 1 in 20 thyroid cancers it usually affects older people over the age of 60

    Papillary and follicular carcinomas are sometimes known as differentiated thyroid cancers, and theyre often treated in the same way.

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    When To See A Gp

    See a GP if you have symptoms of an overactive thyroid.

    Theyll ask about your symptoms and if they think you might have a thyroid problem, they can arrange for a blood test to check how well your thyroid is working.

    If the blood test shows that you have an overactive thyroid, you may be referred for further tests to identify the cause.

    What Do You Do When Your Child Has A Thyroid Nodule

    The first step if your child has a thyroid nodule is to get an ultrasound. This will help your healthcare provider assess the quality of your childs nodule and determine if additional workup is needed. In some cases a repeat ultrasound is needed, and in some cases a biopsy. This all depends on what it looks like on the ultrasound. Some nodules require labs to look at how the thyroid is functioning.

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    What Does A Thyroid Fine Needle Aspiration Or Biopsy Entail

    In some situations this is performed with local anesthesia in the clinic. Your child will be awake. In very young children the FNA is done in the operating room under general anesthesia. The pathologist will look at the tissue to determine what they thyroid nodule is composed of and if additional workup or surgery is needed. It often takes about one to two weeks to get the results.

    What Does The Thyroid Gland Do

    What does the thyroid gland do?

    The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate controlling heart, muscle and digestive function, brain development and bone maintenance. Its correct functioning depends on a good supply of iodine from the diet. Cells producing thyroid hormones are very specialised in extracting and absorbing iodine from the blood and incorporate it into the thyroid hormones.

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    What Is The Thyroid

    The thyroid gland is a small organ thats located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe . Its shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.

    When your thyroid doesnt work properly, it can impact your entire body. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone, you can develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, its called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are serious and need to be treated by your healthcare provider.

    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.

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    How Does The Thyroid Gland Work

    The thyroid gland is a vital hormone gland: It plays a major role in the metabolism, growth and development of the human body. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. If the body needs more energy in certain situations for instance, if it is growing or cold, or during pregnancy the thyroid gland produces more hormones.

    This organ is found at the front of the neck, under the voice box. It is butterfly-shaped: The two side lobes lie against and around the windpipe , and are connected at the front by a narrow strip of tissue.

    The thyroid weighs between 20 and 60 grams on average. It is surrounded by two fibrous capsules. The outer capsule is connected to the voice box muscles and many important vessels and nerves. There is loose connective tissue between the inner and the outer capsule, so the thyroid can move and change its position when we swallow.

    The thyroid tissue itself consists of a lot of small individual lobules that are enclosed in thin layers of connective tissue. These lobules contain a great number of small vesicles called follicles which store thyroid hormones in the form of little droplets.

    Thyroid gland cells

    The thyroid gland produces three hormones:

    • Triiodothyronine, also known as T3
    • Tetraiodothyronine, also called thyroxine or T4
    • Calcitonin

    Can I Check My Thyroid At Home

    Causes and Types of Thyroid Cancer

    You can do a quick and easy self-exam of your thyroid at home. The only tools you need to do this self-exam are a mirror and a glass of water.

    To do the thyroid self-exam, follow these steps:

    • Start by identifying where your thyroid is located. Generally, youll find the thyroid on the front of your neck, between your collar bone and Adams apple. In men, the Adams apple is much easier to see. For women, its usually easiest to look from the collar bone up.
    • Tip your head back while looking in a mirror. Look at your neck and try to hone in on the space you will be looking once you start the exam.
    • Once youre ready, take a drink of water while your head is tilted back. Watch your thyroid as you swallow. During this test, youre looking for lumps or bumps. You may be able to see them when you swallow the water.

    Repeat this test a few times to get a good look at your thyroid. If you see any lumps or bumps, reach out to your healthcare provider.

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