Thyroid Problems and Disease
The thyroid gland produces hormones that influence most of the metabolic processes in the body. Therefor thyroid disorders range from small issues such an enlarged gland known as a goiter, which requires no treatment, to something as life-threading as cancer. Most thyroid issues involve the production of hormone levels considered abnormal. If too much thyroid hormone is produced the condition known as hyperthyroidism is the result, while not enough of thyroid hormone production will result in hypothyroidism. And though effects of these conditions can be of concern, as well as uncomfortable, most thyroid conditions can be well managed if diagnosed and treated properly.
All versions of hyperthyroidism are the result of the presence of much of the thyroid hormones in the body, but hyperthyroidism can occur in a few different ways.
- Graves Disease: Graves Disease is simply put when there is too much thyroid produced in the body.
- Toxic Adenomas: Toxic Adenomas are nodules that can develop within the thyroid gland, which then begin secreting hyroid hormones, which causes imbalance.
- Subacute Thyroiditis: Subacute Thyroiditis is a result of inflammation in the thyroid which causes “leaking” of excess hormones in the glad. This results in a kind of temporary version of hyperthyroidism, lasting usually only a few weeks, but can sometimes continue for a few months.
- Pituitary Gland Malfunctions and Cancerous Growths: Pituitary Gland Malfunctions and Cancerous Growths can sometimes cause hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism, in contrast to hyperthyroidism, is a result of the body producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones. These lower level of thyroid hormones in the body can lead to lower energy, and there are several ways in which Hypothyroidism occurs and presents:
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the tissues in the thyroid. As the tissue dies it can no longer produce hormones.
- Thyroid Gland Removal: Thyroid Gland Removal can be the result of surgical removal or being chemically destroyed. Without the thyroid glands there are of course no thyroid hormones produced.
- Excessive Iodine Exposure: Excessive Iodine Exposure can lead to hypothyroidism, especially if you have a history of thyroid issues. Various cold and sinus medications, the heart medicine known as Amiodarone, as well as some contrast dyes (which are given before certain kinds of X-rays), can all expose a person to too much iodine.
- Lithium Use: Lithium has been shown as a possible cause of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism does pose a serious danger to infants (and newborns). Lack of thyroid hormones at an early age can develop into cretinism (a mental disability) and dwarfism. It is now typical for most infants to have thyroid levels checked just after birth and routinely. As with adults, in infants hypothyroidism can be the result of pituitary disorder, defective thyroid, or a missing thyroid.
Luckily, cancer of the thyroid gland very uncommon, and occurs only in roughly 5 percent of thyroid nodules. If you have any concerns or suspect you have a thyroid hormone imbalance, consult with your doctor as soon as possible.