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Metabolism and the Thyroid

You’ve heard about that part of your body called the thyroid, right? Well, if you haven’t then it’s time you did. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ that is below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid helps regulate your metabolism, helps your body grow and develop, and also helps your body’s temperature stay consistent. Your thyroid depends on iodine to keep everything running smoothly. Problems with your thyroid can cause significant bodily trouble. Here are 7 of the most common thyroid conditions, their symptoms, and their treatments.

Hypothyroidism

  • This happens when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.
  • Some symptoms are: forgetfulness, dry, brittle hair and nails, weight gain, puffy face, sore muscles, and fatigue.
  • To treat it, you usually need levothyroxine, a hormone that will help replace what is destroyed by the immune system.

Hyperthyroidism

  • This happens when thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone.
  • Some symptoms are: fast heart rate, trembling hands, weight and hair loss, muscle weakness, and fingernails separating from their nail beds.
  • There are different treatments that are administered depending on how severe the hyperthyroidism is. They include: antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine treatment, and removing the thyroid.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

  • This happens when a person’s immune system recognizes thyroid cells as bad bacteria (instead of good cells) and gets rid of them. This results in a lack of thyroid cells (and thyroid hormone) to help the body.
  • Some symptoms are: swelling in the lower front of the neck, difficulty swallowing, a pressure sensation on the lower neck, fatigue, constipation, and sore muscles.
  • Doctors treat this condition with levothyroxine.

Graves’ disease

  • This happens when your immune system makes antibodies that causes the thyroid to create an overabundance of thyroid hormones.
  • Some symptoms are: anxiety, irritability, fatigue, rapid or irregular heartbeat, sensitivity to heat, and weight loss.
  • There are 3 treatments that are suggested. They are medications, radioiodine therapy, and removal of the thyroid.

Thyroid Nodules/Goiters

  • Nodules occur as fluid-filled lumps on your thyroid, and goiters are inflamed or enlarged thyroids.
  • There are no specific symptoms, other than noticing the lump, or having the sensation of pressure on your lower neck and difficulty swallowing.
  • Most nodules and goiters don’t need to be treated. However, some doctors will prescribe levothyroxine or radioiodine. If they are malignant or problematic, then doctors will suggest surgery.

Thyroid Cancer

  • While there are four main types of thyroid cancers, two occur most frequently. The cancer can spread from the thyroid to the neck lymph nodes, lungs, and bones.
  • There are no symptoms for this. The cancer is found through routine scans, or catching the thyroid enlarging.
  • Doctors treat this through surgery, radioactive iodine, and external radiation.

 

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