The thyroid gland makes a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism. The gland is located in front of the neck below the voice box. It can produce too much or too little thyroid hormone, resulting in an imbalance that affects the internal organs and leads to serious side effects.
What are Some Common Thyroid Diseases?
Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid produces too much hormone, causing the body’s metabolism to speed up. This results in an increased heart rate, anxiety, and irritability. You may experience muscle weakness, trembling in your hands, loss of weight, fatigue, problems with your vision, and sensitivity to heat. Hyperthyroidism is often caused by an immune system disorder known as Grave’s Disease, a condition that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that attack the thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism is similar, but the thyroid is underactive, and produces too little hormone. This causes the metabolism to slow down; as might be expected, symptoms are the opposite of those experienced when the body’s metabolism is faster than normal. You might experience sluggishness, depression, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, and sensitivity to cold. Hypothyroidism is often caused by Hashimoto’s Disease, a disorder of the immune system similar to Grave’s Disease.
In addition to these disorders, the thyroid is subject to nodules, noncancerous lumps of the thyroid gland that may lead to pain, hoarseness, and difficulty breathing or swallowing.
How Are Thyroid Disorders Treated?
The gland plays a critical role in the way your body works on a daily basis.
Thyroid hormone is essential. It affects or regulates pretty much every tissue in the human body.
Treatment of thyroid disorders is essential for maintaining good health. It will vary depending on whether you are suffering from a gland that is overactive or underactive. Hyperthyroidism is treated with radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medication, or surgery. Hypothyroidism sufferers must rely on synthetic thyroid hormone. Thyroid nodules are removed surgically.