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Diagnostic tests to check Thyroid

About Thyroid

Thyroid gland is one of the important endocrine gland in human body. Thyroid gland is responsible for secreting thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones. These hormones control metabolism, growth, development & body temperature. Thyroid gland is butterfly shaped & situated in the neck region, just front of the trachea ((Wind pipe).

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which an overactive thyroid gland is producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones that circulate in the blood. Thyroid gland removes iodine from blood With the Use of T4 (Thyroxine) & T3 (triiodothyronine) hormone. The release of T4 & T3 hormone regulated by TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone) which is released from Pituitary gland. The release of TSH hormone is signaled by TRH (thyrotropin releasing hormone) which is released from hypothalamus gland. So, if over activity of any of these three glands occurs, an excessive amount of thyroid hormones can be produced, thereby resulting in hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the condition when thyroid gland is underactive & does not produce some important thyroid hormones. T4 (Thyroxine) & T3 (triiodothyronine) are two most important hormones which are secreted from Thyroid gland & responsible to manage body’s metabolism, body temperature & heart rate. The activity of the Thyroid gland secretion are regulated by TSH (Thyroid stimulating Hormone) which is released from pituitary gland.  So high TSH and low thyroxine (T4) indicate that the thyroid is underactive.  It means that the pituitary gland is secreting more TSH to stimulate the thyroid gland to replenish the deficiency.

The following factors are responsible for Hypothyroidism:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Congenital disease
  • Pituitary gland disorder
  • Pregnancy condition
  • Thyroid surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Some medications

Risk factors associated with Hyperthyroidism

  • Age: People aged over 60 years are at higher risk of Hyperthyroidism.
  • Gender:Women are at higher risk of Hyperthyroidism than men.
  • Menopause & Pregnancy: Hormone fluctuations during menopause and pregnancy can also lead to temporary cases of hyperthyroidism. 
  • Family history: Family history of Graves’ disease is a known risk factor. There is likely some genes that initiate the susceptibility to hyperthyroidism.
  • Autoimmune disorder: Individual who are suffering from other autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes or Rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of hyperthyroidism.
  • Smoking: Smokers are at higher risk because smoking is linked to overactive thyroid.

Risk factors associated with Hypothyroidism:

  •  Age: Aged people over age of 60 years are at higher risk of hypothyroidism
  • Gender: Women are at higher risk than men of hypothyroidism.
  • Family History:Earlier Family history of thyroid disorder are at higher risk of hypothyroidism.
  • Autoimmune disease: Suffering   from autoimmune disease (eg. Type 1 Diabetes or Celiac disease) are at higher risk of hypothyroidism.

Complications of Hyperthyroidism:

  • Heart Disorders: Rapid Heart rate, abnormal heart beat (Atrial fibrillation), Congestive Heart failure, Hypertension etc.
  • Bone Problem: Weak & brittle bones (Osteoporosis).
  • Eye Problem: Bulging, swollen, red eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision. (Graves Opthalmopathy).
  • Skin Problem: Swelling ,dryness and redness of the skin
  • Thyrotoxic crisis or Thyroid storm: Complicated condition characterized by Tachycardia (racing Heart beat), atrial fibrillation (Abnormal heart beat), high fever, Persistent Sweating, shaking, agitation, confusion, diarrhea & unconsciousness.
  • Pregnancy Complication: Characterized by miscarriage, premature delivery, still birth or maternal heart failure.

Complication of Hypothyroidism:

  • Metabolism related:Fatigue, Digestive problem, Sensitivity to cold temperature, menstrual irregularities.
  • Heart related: Abnormal heart beat, slow & weakened pulse rate.
  • Kidney related:Lower Kidney’s function results lower excretion of water & lower absorption of sodium.
  • Nerve related:Muscle weakness, nerve injury also results some   complications.
  • Reproductive scenario:Reduces fertility in both men & women.

Treatment of Hyperthyroidism:

Treatment procedure may include the following

  • Medication- Some medications (Anti thyroid Drugs) are usually prescribed to reduce hyperthyroidism.
  • Radioactive iodine treatment- Thyroid cells have the ability to absorb iodine thus exposure to radioactive iodine shrinks the thyroid gland & slows down the activity & become under reactive. This form of treatment is widely followed.
  • Surgical removal of the gland or nodule (Thyroidectomy)-A part of the thyroid gland or the whole gland is sometimes removed surgically to treat hyperthyroidism in extreme cases.

Treatment of Hypothyroidism:

Patient should always consult with physician for proper treatment. Usually the treatment includes the following:

  • Medications:  Usually synthetic thyroxine drugs are referred. It is strongly recommended to consult with the physician before taking any medication.
  • Iodine replacement & nutrition: Maintaining proper iodine intake with proper nutrition.

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