Thyroid disease

Thyroid disease

The thyroid is a small gland located below the skin and muscles at the front of the neck, just at the spot where a bow tie would rest. It manufactures the hormones that help control metabolism and growth.

Thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t supply the proper amount of hormones needed by the body.

If the thyroid is overactive, it releases too much thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, resulting in Hyperthyroidism causing the body to use up energy more quickly than it should and chemical activity (metabolism) speeds up.

An under-active thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, resulting in Hypothyroidism causing the body to use energy more slowly and chemical activity (metabolism) in the cells slow down.

In both conditions although different the thyroid can become enlarged, and this can be felt like a lump under the skin at the front of the neck. When it is large enough to see easily, it is called a goiter.

People who don’t get enough iodine in their diets also can get an enlarged thyroid.

–          Hyperthyroidism can cause nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, intolerance to heat, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, a fast heartbeat, irregular menstrual periods in girls and muscle weakness. People with this problem might lose weight even though they are eating more than usual. The eyes may feel irritated or look like they are staring. Sometimes the tissue around the eyes become inflamed and swollen and the eyes appear to bulge out.

Graves disease is an autoimmune disease and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism

–          A person with mild Hypothyroidism may feel just fine — in fact, the condition might cause no symptoms at all. However, symptoms can become more obvious if hypothyroidism progresses.

People with under-active thyroids might feel depressed and sluggish. They might gain weight, even though they’re not eating more or getting less exercise than usual. Teens with hypothyroidism also might have slow growth in height, slow sexual development, irregular menstrual periods in girls, muscle weakness, dry skin, hair loss, poor memory, and difficulty concentrating.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also an autoimmune disease and is the most common cause of the hypothyroidism in teens.

 

GOITERS AND THYROID NODULES

It can take months or years for a goiter to develop. In teens, goiters are usually caused by the autoimmune thyroid conditions discussed above, which might show no obvious symptoms until the goiter is visible as a swelling at the front of the neck. People with this problem might have the sensation that food is stuck in the throat, especially when they lie down or sleep on their backs.

A thyroid nodule is a lump or enlarged area in the thyroid gland. Sometimes a nodule can appear in a healthy gland. It may feel like a lump in the throat, or there may be tenderness or pain in the front of the neck. If the nodule is large enough, it may be visible at the front of the neck.

Most thyroid nodules are harmless. A nodule may simply be an overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue, a swelling caused by inflammation (such as in autoimmune thyroid diseases) or a collection of fluid called a cyst.

The doctor usually discovers nodules by touch during a physical examination. If the doctor finds a nodule, blood tests might be needed to find out how the thyroid gland is working. A doctor may also take an ultrasound image of the gland to detect whether the nodule is a cyst or a solid growth or tumor.

Thyroid Disease, Growth, and Puberty

Once puberty starts, the body goes through some very noticeable changes. Because thyroid hormones play an important role in this process, thyroid disease may slow down or interfere with a teen’s physical development. But it’s important to know that not everyone grows or develops at the same age or at the same rate. If your friend seems to grow 4 inches overnight and you haven’t had a growth spurt yet, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or your thyroid.

A thyroid problem also may cause a girl to have changes in her periods. Girls with thyroid problems may have a decrease or increase in menstrual flow or there may be a shorter or longer time between periods than usual. However, because girls who are just starting to menstruate often have irregular periods for the first year or so, changes in periods are usually nothing to worry about and don’t mean a girl has thyroid disease.

People who are concerned that they might have a thyroid problem should visit the doctor. Chances are, the problem is something simpler. And if someone does have thyroid disease, diagnosing and treating it properly — including bringing the blood levels of thyroid hormones back to normal — will usually prevent or correct any problems.

DIAGNOSIS

  • Blood Tests: Measurement of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), decreased levels of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3), autoantibodies, thyroglobulin (TG) and Calcitonin, TBG and transthyretin
  • Ultrasound
  • Radioiodine scanning and uptake
  • Biopsy

TREATMENT

Medical Treatment; Levothyroxine, natural thyroid hormone from pigs, propylthiouracil, carbimazole or methimazole, lugols solution, radioactive iodine etc.

Surgery; thyroidectomy

Radioiodine therapy

SUPPLEMENTS

Some studies have shown that the isoflavones in soybeans inhibit the enzyme responsible for adding iodine to thyroid hormone, thyroid peroxidase (TPO). These and other studies also indicate that if you have low iodine in your body, the soy isoflavone could bond to what iodine you do have, leaving you with an inadequate reserve for thyroid hormone production. However, if you have sufficient iodine in your body, eating soy will most likely not be a problem

Iodine

Iodine is the classic remedy for hypothyroidism and there is a reason for that. Iodine is one of the two ingredients needed by the thyroid gland to synthesize thyroid hormones.

Most countries mandate the sale of iodized salt and other iodine-fortified food products for this reason.

Supplementing iodine in food is the single most effective and affordable means of reducing the incidence of hypothyroidism, infertility and cretinism in the population. And such supplementation is absolutely essential for people living far away from the coast.

Selenium

Besides iodine, selenium is another essential mineral needed for proper thyroid functioning.

 

Zinc and Copper

Other minerals that contribute to thyroid functions include zinc and copper. These metals fulfill smaller roles but they are also important.

 

Vitamins

Vitamin D is the most important for thyroid function. In addition, vitamin D has also been proven to protect against thyroid cancers.

 

Vitamins A, C and E are the antioxidant vitamins, and they can also be used in the treatment of hypothyroidism. These vitamins can help mop up harmful free radicals and eliminate reactive oxygen species. Therefore, they can reduce the oxidative stress placed on the thyroid gland. This translates to improved thyroid functions and increase in the syntheses of T3 and T4 for hypothyroid patients.

Another essential supplement for hypothyroid patients is essential fatty acids group; This includes both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The essential fatty acid supplement to take must contain more omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are useful in the management of chronic and autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins in the body including hormones such as T3 and T4.

REFERENCE

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyroid_disease
  2. http://kidshealth.org/teen/diseases_conditions/growth/thyroid.html#
  3. http://www.progressivehealth.com/top-supplements-to-improve-thyroid-function.htm

 

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