For many years, the traditional distinction of thyroid diseases has developed. By structure, they are divided into nodal and diffuse. In terms of functionality, euthyroidism, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. For reasons, they are associated with a lack or excess of substances, autoimmune, genetic, traumatic and other. At the same time, diseases of the thyroid gland, like other organs, are benign and malignant, with and without inflammation. How to understand these options? Where to begin?
First of all, it should be remembered that one disease of the thyroid gland can simultaneously have different painful qualities. Common and nodal processes can jointly occur in the gland. It can be reduced or increased, and, at the same time, contain a different number of nodes. These nodes may differ in size, structure and goodness.
Regardless of the change in the gland structure, a blood test can show one of three qualities: euthyroidism (normal hormone levels), hypothyroidism (increased need for hormones), and hyperthyroidism (excess hormones). At the same time, immune cells can be active outside the nodes and inside them. Of course, the combination of features of changes in the thyroid gland will be reflected in the symptoms of the disease.
What conclusion can be drawn from knowledge about the diversity of combinations of signs of the disease? First of all, you should understand that the disease of the thyroid gland is called by the predominance of the main change. If nodes play an important role in the disease, then this is a nodular goiter. If immune changes are an autoimmune process. If inflammation – thyroiditis. If the increase in glandular volume and hyperthyroidism is a diffuse toxic goiter, etc.
Secondly, it is important to understand that at the same time diagnostic attention should be aimed at two leading processes in the thyroid gland – the function and structure of the tissue. On this side, thyroid diseases are characterized dually. For example, a doctor might write: euthyroid goiter. This means that the thyroid gland is enlarged, but hormonal metabolism is normal. There may be a combination of hypothyroidism with a normal gland size, with a goiter. If the enlarged thyroid gland does not contain nodes, then this condition is called diffuse goiter. If at the same time one or more nodes are found in it, then the doctor can determine the diagnosis: diffuse nodular goiter.
Modern endocrinology distinguishes primary, secondary and tertiary hypothyroidism. Such indications can be found in the diagnosis. Primary means directly connected to the thyroid gland itself. This is the most common disease. Secondary hypothyroidism is caused by changes in the pituitary gland, and tertiary – in the hypothalamus. Recent variants of hypothyroidism are very rare.
In men and women, thyroid disease does not have significant differences. In both sexes there are all types of diseases of this organ. But, as you know, in women, all variants of benign gland changes are more common. This is due to the greater waste of energy the female body, compared with the male. The symptoms of the disease in women also do not differ from the male with the exception of genital. Unless such a sign as “a lump in the throat” or a feeling of “pressure in the neck” is statistically more common in women. Malignancy is observed proportionally the same in both sexes.
Thyroid disease occurs at any age. But in each period of life, certain changes in the gland prevail to some extent. Therefore, you should check the thyroid gland and hormonal metabolism, even in any period of life – both at birth and in old age. This applies especially to persons from 15-18 to 35-40 years. This is due to the fact that it is at the beginning of growing up and in the period of adulthood that the greatest burden is placed on the thyroid gland.
Diagnosis of diseases of the thyroid gland should always be carried out, as a minimum, using blood tests and ultrasound. Both studies are important. A blood test should not be limited to TSH. Always determine thyroid hormones (T3 and T4 free). These indicators will prompt the sufficiency of forces in the gland. Ultrasound will help to identify changes in the structure of the tissue and especially its voltage. The combination of the two studies will allow to determine the diagnosis – the name of the disease of the thyroid gland.
Can you just rely on the symptoms? Well, the signs of the disease are important. They are the first harbingers of the disease. They should listen and look closely. But a complete diagnosis cannot be determined only by symptoms. Remember that if you suspect a disease, you should always do an ultrasound of the thyroid gland and a blood test.