Thyroid

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The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland found in the neck. It is responsible for producing the hormonesthroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are then secreted into the blood. If the thyroid doesn't function correctly it can result in thyroid diseases. Hypothyroidism occurs as a result of an underactive thyroid, while Hyperthyroidism arises from an overactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism cannot be prevented, however, they are both manageable with the correct medications. Characteristic symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, depression, sensitivity to the cold, aching muscles and dry hair and skin. Characteristic symptoms of hyperthyroidism include anxiety, hyperactive behaviour, considerable unexplained weight loss, swollen thyroid gland (Goitre)[1].

Hypothyroidism can be caused by the autoimmune disease Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, where the immune system attacks the thyroid organ, resulting in the under-production of thyroid hormone. In undeveloped countries, Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by iodine deficiency in the diet[2][3]. Hyperthyroidism on the other hand, can be caused due to the autoimmune condition Grave's disease, another condition caused by the immune system attacking the thyroid organ, this time causing over-production of thyroid hormone[4][5].

Diagnosis of both conditions is by a thyroid function test. The thyroid itself is composed of 2 sections: the right lobe and the left lobe. The thyroid is controlled by the pituitary gland situated just under the brain. It monitors levels of T4 and T3 in the body and secretes appropriate hormones to stimulate the thyroid activities[6].

References

  1. British thyroid foundation. Your thyroid gland.[cited 06/12/2017]. Available from http://www.btf-thyroid.org/information/your-thyroid-gland
  2. National institute of Diabetes and digestive and kidney disease. Hypothyrodism.2016.[cited 06/12/2017]. Available from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism
  3. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hashimotos-disease
  4. National institute of Diabetes and digestive and kidney disease. Hypothyrodism.2016.[cited 06/12/2017]. Available from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism
  5. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/graves-disease
  6. British thyroid foundation. Your thyroid gland.[cited 06/12/2017]. Available from http://www.btf-thyroid.org/information/your-thyroid-gland
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