The thyroid gland is situated at the front of the neck and it lies slightly below the Adam's apple. This gland is known as an endocrine gland and it is responsible for producing two essential hormones. The hormones in question are thyroxin and triiodothyronine and these vital hormones are responsible for regulating the speed at which the body cells work. If the gland fails to produce sufficient thyroxin then it is classed as under-active (hypothyroidism). Should the thyroid produce too much thyroxin then the gland will become overactive (hyperthyroidism). Anyone who is found to have a thyroid disorder will need to undergo thyroid treatment. |
A person who experiences thyroid problems may find that the symptoms are uncomfortable and unpleasant. But for the main part problems with the gland can be managed and treated as long as they are diagnosed early on. Hypothyroidism (an under-active gland) is a very common condition. Above are two of the most common thyroid problems but other conditions including thyroid cancer, thyroid eye disease and swellings and nodules. Cancer of the thyroid gland is comparatively rare. Sometimes those who are suffering from Grave's Disease as a result of an overactive gland develop thyroid eye problems. If any swellings or nodules appear around the gland then they may prevent the gland from functioning as it should do, in time this could lead to problems.
If the gland is under-active then the person may feel lethargic, cold and depressed. Those who suffer from an under-active thyroid may have a tendency to gain weight. An overactive thyroid gland can make the sufferer feel anxious. They might develop intolerance to heat, they could lose weight and they may feel like their eyes are gritty and sore. In general thyroid disorders are diagnosed by taking and analysing a small sample of blood. One blood test is will usually confirm that there is a problem but in certain circumstances the physician may order more tests to be carried out. When the diagnosis has been confirmed then the treatment can begin.
A person with an under active thyroid will usually be prescribed Levothyroxine. This drug acts as a hormone replacement. The doctor may start by offering a low dose of Levothyroxine and the amount will be increased as and when needed. The patient will have regular blood tests to ensure that they have a sufficient intake of the hormone replacement drug. Naturally it takes time to determine the correct dosage needed.
When someone is diagnosed with an overactive gland then they may be referred to an endocrinologist. This is a person who specializes in thyroid treatment and hormonal problems. The specialist could recommend that the patient takes Thionamides. These drugs are used to stop the gland from producing excessive amounts of triiodothyronine or thyroxin. The specialist may recommend that these drugs are taken for several weeks until the gland stops producing too many hormones. At this point the physician may recommend reducing the dosage. It may take a while to get the condition under control.
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