All about the thyroid and how to prevent thyroid disease

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All about the thyroid and how to prevent thyroid diseaseThe thyroid is an endocrine gland, a butterfly shape, located in the anterior neck, to the neck above the sternal manubrium between the two sternocleidomastoid muscles.

In the century XVIII the term was introduced by the thyroid starting from the fact that it was associated with a neck shield (in Greek shield is called Thyreos), but later turned out that the functionality can be considered a shield of normality in the body.

Thyroid hormones are necessary for any process that takes place in the body. Based on growth, thyroid hormones are responsible for the appearance of ossification kernels, are responsible for body thermoregulation (heat plant) are those that differentiate the nervous system and play a major role in metabolism (carbohydrate, lipid, protein, etc.).

Nearly one billion cells called follicles thyroid, thyroid hormone biosynthesis are premises and any damage to their functionality can lead to insufficient thyroid hormone. The thyroid is not autonomous in the body and doesn’t work alone, so we have a full control system (called feed-back mechanism) between cerebrum, pituitary and thyroid. Prof. Dr. Constantin Dumitrache, MD Endocrinology, Doctor of Medical Sciences from Gral Medical Clinic Colentina provided us valuable information to better understand how the thyroid works, why gets sick and how we can prevent inconvenience.

The most common thyroid diseases

1.    Thyroid insufficiency (hypothyroidism) occurs when thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.

The disease can occur anytime during the evolution of humans (congenital, childhood or adulthood), so care must be taken at an early stage. Children have to made regular checks to the doctor because the disease can occur without any previous symptoms. There are a number of diseases that may be associated with thyroid insufficiency, but trough damage to the pituitary or hypothalamus.

•    Hypothyroidism symptoms: constipation, dry skin, weight gain though the patient has no appetite, muscle and joint pain, menstrual delays or heavy flow, depression, slow thinking and speech, drowsiness, decreased memory capacity, low adaptability to cold. etc…

•    Causes of Hypothyroidism:

– inflammation caused by the immune system (autoimmune thyroiditis / Hashimoto);
– after partial surgery, the remaining gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone;
– following treatment with radioactive iodine in the event of jowls and other diseases of the thyroid, too many cells are destroyed (thyroid follicles).

2.    Excess of thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), occurs when the thyroid gland put into circulation a larger amount of thyroid hormones. May be involved in the process throughout the gland, or a tumor located in a specific area of the thyroid (toxic adenoma). If in thyroid failure all is ” evolving slowly ” , in hyperthyroidism everything is ” evolving rapidly and aggressively,” says Dr. Constantin Dumitrache.

•    Manifestations and symptoms for hyperthyroidism:

– the cardiovascular system is manifested by disturbances of cardiac rhythm, increasing the number of beats per minute ( tachycardia) , rapid and irregular heart beat ( atrial fibrillation ) , bradycardia ( slow heart rate ) ;
– lung is manifested by increasing the number of breaths per minute (increased from 18 breaths averaged more than 25 per minute) ;
– in the digestive transit becomes accelerated and this is manifested by frequent stools but no diarrhea , but by frequent unformed stools (5-7 / day) ;
– skin is thin , moist , even excessively wet due to the calorigen effect that the thyroid hormones have, then there’s some light on the body due to peripheral vasodilatation ( dermographism emphasis ) ;
– mentally manifested by agitation, insomnia , tremors of the limbs , and in case of Graves Basedow disease ( goiter exophthalmos ) plus ocular changes , the most obvious being ” staring eyes ” ( protrusion of the eyeballs ) ;
– rapid weight loss even if the patient has appetite and eat (sometimes above average ).
“When patients exhibit one or more of these clinical symptoms , should go to the endocrinologist ( many patients go directly to a cardiologist , gastroenterologist etc.. , And forget this) ” warns Dr. Constantin Dumitrache .

•    Hyperthyroidism causes

The main cause is autoimmune pathology with the advent of stimulants for thyroid functionality leading to an excess of thyroid hormones. Also, as stated at the beginning, another cause is the hyperfunctional tumor that puts in circulation in the body large amounts of thyroid hormones. Stress can be a factor that trigger or exacerbate autoimmune causal precisely this element of the disease. “Very often, stress is found in each patient’s history (story told the doctor that trigger the disease). Patients with hyperthyroidism are contraindicated to eat foods with iodine excess (including iodized salt) to clean nut with bare hands, to make investigations with contrast etc. “says Dr. Constantin Dumitrache.

•    Thyroid disease treatment

Most thyroid disease are treated with medication. For hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone medication administered and the dosage is determined based on disease severity. For hyperthyroidism is turning to antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, or surgery (thyroidectomy) when the disease does not respond to medication.

3.    Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is quite common in the case of nodular goiter, and especially uni-nodular goiter. Romania is a country with iodine deficiency in the population and there are many people with endemic goiter, almost 20-30% of the population. Thyroid cancer is a cancer with a slow, and the diagnosis is made based on fine needle aspiration puncture. The thyroid is eliminated in this case completely by surgery and patients follow after radioactive iodine treatment to remove the remaining cancer cells that may remain in the tissue. The doctor determines the dose needed filling the removed gland, and this medication should be followed over the entire lifetime.

•    Recommendations:

When the patient manifested clinical symptoms of hypo or hyperthyroidism, should go to the endocrinologist (many patients go directly to a cardiologist, gastroenterologist etc., And forget this). For pregnant women is recommended for preliminary visit to the endocrinologist and in first year after the birth postpartum thyroid function should be tested to prevent diseases associated (postpartum thyroiditis). In this period, the emergence benign thyroid nodules is common, but in recent years the incidence of cancerous nodules increased (thyroid cancer).

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