Thyroid disease symptoms

The thyroid is a small gland that sits at the front of the neck. It produces thyroid hormones that are essential for regulating the body’s metabolism and the very important functions of bodily cells. Iodine makes it possible for the thyroid to produce these necessary hormones. Thyroid disease can cause great turmoil and upset in the body because many things would not be working properly. There are two major types of thyroid disease: hypothyroidism, or under secretion, and hyperthyroidism, or over secretion. All of the symptoms can vary in each individual because the severity of the problem may be different.

Thyroid Hormones
There are a few different thyroid hormones—T4 and T3 that are responsible for important processes. T3 has more biological power, and many of the T4 hormones, once released into the bloodstream, are converted into T3 because it actively affects the metabolic actions of the body. In addition, there is a thyrotropin releasing hormone that sends a signal to the pituitary gland to secrete thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is responsible for releasing T3 and T4. If there is a problem with any of these hormones, a serious thyroid condition can result. Unrelated to metabolic function, there is a thyroid hormone released called calcitonin, which regulates calcium levels, mostly working to lower them. Too much calcium in the blood is called hypercalcemia.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can be caused by: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis, acute thyroiditis, silent thyroiditis, thyroid hormone resistance, or some medications.

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Slow heart rate
  • Constipation
  • Uncontrolled and unexplained weight gain
  • Heavier periods in women or irregular periods
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Dry skin and/or hair loss

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by a variety of things, including: Graves’ disease, toxic multinodular goiter, toxic nodule, excessive intake of iodine, hashitoxicosis, or some medications. The symptoms are:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Sweating more frequently and more profusely
  • Feeling hot more often
  • Diarrhea, or more frequent bowel movements
  • Shaky hands
  • Uncontrolled and unexplained weight loss
  • Lighter periods in women
  • Erectile dysfunction in men
  • Difficulty concentrating

Other Thyroid Diseases
Graves’ Disease is one cause of hyperthyroidism because it causes the thyroid to release too much of the thyroid hormones. Symptoms include:

  • Enlarged thyroid gland, known as goiter
  • Bulging, itchy, or swollen eyes
  • Having breathing difficulty
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss that is unexplained
  • Profuse sweating
  • Muscle weakness concentrated in the upper arms and thighs

Hashimoto’s Disease is a type of autoimmune disease. It is a severe condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and manifests itself in a form of hypothyroidism. Symptoms include:

  • Goiter
  • Cold intolerance
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight gain that is unexplainable
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Irregularities in the menstrual cycle
  • Infertility
  • Graying of the hair earlier than usual
  • Having a hard time concentrating or thinking

Postpartum Thyroiditis is a condition that can happen in women after giving birth. The thyroid gland becomes inflamed and involves first hyperthyroidism, and if that doesn’t return to normal, hypothyroidism results. It has similar symptoms to those listed above.

Thyroid Cancer results from small tumors called thyroid nodules that grow on the thyroid gland. 95% of these are noncancerous, but the other 5% are. When they are cancerous, they can easily spread throughout the body and become life-threatening. There are rarely symptoms that are exhibited with this condition, and is usually only found during a routine examination.

Last updated on Feb 7th, 2011 and filed under Endocrine System. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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