Through the hormones it produces, the thyroid gland influences almost all the metabolic processes of the human body. Thyroid disorders are of various kinds, from minor stages to very advanced stages, such as thyroid cancer.
The most common thyroid problems also involve the abnormal production of thyroid hormones. An excess of these hormones leads to hyperthyroidism, and insufficient production leads to hypothyroidism.
Although the effects can be unpleasant and undesirable, most thyroid problems can be successfully treated, it is important to be discovered and diagnosed.
How to get to thyroid problems?
Hyperthyroidism is due to an excess production of thyroid hormones, and this situation arises from several clear causes:
- Excessive production of thyroid hormones
- Formation of nodules in the thyroid gland, which begin to secrete thyroid hormones, disturbing the balance of the body
- Inflammation of the thyroid gland may still be a cause of excess hormones, leading to temporary hyperthyroidism, which may last from a few weeks to several months.
- Pituitary gland dysfunctions or thyroid gland tumors, but these are less common causes of hyperthyroidism.
At the opposite end, hypothyroidism is found when not enough thyroid hormones are secreted. The human body needs a certain number in order to function properly, and too little will lead to a state of apathy. What are the most common cases of hypothyroidism:
- Hashimoto's thyroid. In the case of this autoimmune disorder, the body attacks the thyroid tissue, and this tissue eventually dies. It becomes inert, unable to produce hormones.
- Thyroid gland removal – thyroidectomy. The thyroid can be surgically removed or medicated.
- Exposure to excessive amounts of iodine. Cold or sinus medications, heart pills or certain contrast agents given before certain tests may expose us to iodine. And if you have had thyroid disorders in the past, the more you are at risk of developing hypothyroidism.
- A large amount of lithium can also cause hypothyroidism.
Untreated, hypothyroidism comes with a lot of health problems.
Hypothyroidism is especially dangerous for newborns and infants. The lack of thyroid hormones in the system at an early age can lead to the development of cretinism (mental retardation) and nanism (also called nanosomia, microsomia or hyposomia), a medical condition that is characterized by a stature far below the average.
The levels of hormones in newborns are checked, and if they have a deficiency, they are immediately given the necessary medication. In children, as in adults, these are the causes of hypothyroidism:
- Disorder of the pituitary gland
- Dysfunctional thyroid gland
- Total lack of gland
A child suffering from hypothyroidism will be unusually apathetic, without appetite and will sleep too long.
Thyroid cancer is quite rare, as it is registered in 5% of patients diagnosed with thyroid nodules.
You can have one or more thyroid nodules for years, until the cancer starts. Those most prone to thyroid cancer are those who have irradiated the head and neck area.