Thyroid dysfunction is a problem that many people face. Moreover, many of them do not even suspect that they have a disease of this organ. Let’s take a look at the most common thyroid diseases, their symptoms, and how they are diagnosed.
A little about the thyroid gland itself
The thyroid gland is located on the front of the neck. In its shape, the organ resembles a butterfly. Despite its compact size, it has an important function in the body. The fact is that the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, which enter the bloodstream. They not only start the metabolism of all cells, but also support the functioning of the brain, musculoskeletal system, heart, muscles and the reproductive system. Therefore, any pathology of the thyroid gland can lead to the disruption of the work of the whole organism.
Causes of pathologies of the thyroid gland
Thyroid diseases occur for various reasons. This can be a hereditary predisposition, excessive exposure to sunlight, constant stress, viral and bacterial infections, pathology of organ development. But most often, disorders in the thyroid gland are observed in connection with a lack of iodine in the body. However, an excess of it can also cause harm. Therefore, it is so important to consume iodine in the optimal amount.
In addition, human immunity can often be the cause of thyroid disease. In case of violations in work, he begins to perceive the organ as alien. In this case, the immune system actively produces antibodies to the thyroid tissue, which gradually destroy it or cause it to produce excessive amounts of hormones.
The most common pathologies of the thyroid gland
Diffuse and nodular goiter
A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. It is diffuse if the organ is enlarged evenly, and there are no changes in its structure. Basically, the dysfunction of the thyroid gland does not occur. To cure diffuse goiter, therapy is needed, which is selected by examining the level of thyroid hormones.
Nodular goiter is detected by ultrasound and palpation, when there are delimited tumor-like areas in the tissues of the thyroid gland. Nodal formations are not only single, but also multiple. Moreover, they are able to produce an excess of thyroid hormones.
To choose the right treatment, a complete thyroid examination is required. It will not be superfluous to conduct a puncture fine-needle aspiration biopsy (PTAB). Despite the frightening name, this procedure is almost painless and completely safe. Having received the necessary information about the cells that are contained in the nodular formation, it will be possible to predict how it will begin to manifest itself in the future, and also prescribe a suitable treatment.
Most often, due to autoimmune thyroiditis, there is a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones. In this regard, the patient is observed:
- rare pulse;
- violation of blood pressure;
- daytime sleepiness;
- weight gain;
- memory impairment;
- frequent constipation;
- too dry skin;
- brittle nails;
- hair loss.
To confirm the diagnosis and prescribe further treatment for autoimmune thyroiditis, it is necessary to conduct an ultrasound scan, a puncture biopsy and determine the level of thyroid hormones in the blood serum. The type and amount of hormonal drugs required to eliminate the disease is determined by the doctor. Moreover, over time, their dose may change. If autoimmune thyroiditis is left untreated, the disease will progress. At the same time, the patient’s appetite will decrease, drowsiness and lethargy will increase, and interest in the world around him will be lost.
With thyrotoxicosis, the level of thyroid hormones increases. It is often a manifestation of diffuse toxic goiter. Thyrotoxicosis has the following symptoms:
- weight loss;
- feeling of fear;
- heart palpitations;
- sudden and frequent mood swings;
- feeling hot;
- muscle and general weakness;
- trembling hands or the whole body;
- increased irritability.
In most cases, thyrotoxicosis is accompanied by the presence of goiter. However, it is not always possible to detect it on your own. Pathology is detected only by ultrasound. To establish the correct diagnosis, you need to examine the level of thyroid hormones. You should also determine the amount of antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to produce excess hormones.
Prevention of the appearance of pathologies of the thyroid gland
The best way to prevent thyroid disease is to eat seafood, iodized salt, fish, and algae. You also need to take drugs that contain iodine. It is equally important to undergo regular examination by an endocrinologist. It is possible that the disease is not associated with iodine deficiency, or with it, it is generally contraindicated in large quantities. And this can only be revealed through diagnosis.
Medical practice shows that the sooner a patient treats a thyroid disease, the more effective and faster his treatment will be. Therefore, you should not delay a visit to an endocrinologist if you find you have symptoms that have been described in this article.