Where is the thyroid gland and what is its role?
The thyroid gland (thyroid) is an endocrine organ under the control of the pituitary gland, and one of the most abnormal in the body. It is located in the front lower part of the door, where the hood is filled with a breathing tube (a hole).
The thyroid gland creates, stores and releases into thyroid hormones. These hormones, called T3 and T4, work on almost every cell in the body and help control the body’s metabolism. If you have too little thyroid hormone in your blood, your body slows down and weakens. This condition is called hypothyroidism. If you have too much thyroid hormone in your blood, your body accelerates. This condition is called hyperthyroidism
The protective gland is located in the base of the neck, just below Adam’s apple. It has a butterfly shape. One wing, or the lobe of your thyroid gland, lies on either side of the spleen.
The amount of hormone that produces the thyroid gland determines and adapts one other gland that is located in the brain and is called the pituitary gland. The second part of the brain, the hypothalamus, helps the pituitary to perform its task.
- The hypothalamus sends information to the pituitary gland.
- The pituitary, in turn, controls thyroid function.
The thyroid, pituitary, and hypothalamus jointly control the amount of thyroid hormone in your body. These organs work like a thermostat that controls room temperature.
When the thyroid hormone level returns to normal, the pituitary gland senses and “turns off heating”, slowing down the production of TSH and restoring it to normal values.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders
Everyday stress, inadequate nutrition, and life in the polluted environment have led to an increase in the number of patients with thyroid disorders. This has become one of the most common endocrinological problems in our country and in the world. Many unpleasant symptoms that patients feel can be caused just by problems in the work of the thyroid gland.
Hormones of the thyroid gland have an important role in the regulation of metabolism throughout the body: they stimulate basal metabolism and heat generation, increase protein synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, fat, decomposition of cholesterol, and increase the minute heart volume. These hormones play an important role during growth and maturation. They affect the development of the central nervous system, bone ointment, and the secretion of growth hormones. Furthermore, they influence the alertness, mood, sense of hearing, the ability to remember and learn. They play an important role in the reproductive functions of men and women and during pregnancy.
Symptoms of disturbed thyroid work in pregnancy are harder to recognize because they are similar to the usual signs of pregnancy such as increased sweating, emotional excitement, nervousness, vomiting, feelings of fatigue, muscle pain …
In addition to the already mentioned risk of premature birth, the proper functioning of the thyroid is also important for the proper development of the fetus. Since the activity of the thyroid gland is enhanced during pregnancy, the possibility of complications for both mother and child is higher, therefore control is very important.
If pregnancy is planned, it is recommended that you check before conception and, of course, as indicated during pregnancy.
There is a group of thyroid disorders that are less commonly diagnosed but can have significant repercussions on the health of the individual in the long term. We call them subclinical thyroid disorders. They are characterized by the absence of clinical symptoms but can be identified by the values of blood findings. Concentrations of T3 and T4 hormones are usually at reference intervals, while TSH hormone values are beyond the reference intervals. In subclinical hypothyroidism, TSH concentrations were elevated relative to the reference interval (TSH 4.50-19.99 mIU / L), and in subclinical hyperthyroidism, TSH concentrations were lower than reference intervals (TSH 0.45 mIU / L).
Hypothyroidism is the state of insufficient thyroid hormone production. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is chronic thyroid inflammation (Hashimoto thyroiditis), and in some geographical areas, insufficient amounts of iodine in the diet. In maternity clinics, a continuous study of newborns on congenital hypothyroidism is carried out to prevent the development of severe mental retardation, and the delay in development and growth.
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include nausea, drowsiness, depression, lack of concentration, slow heart rhythm, impaired and painful menstruation, decreased appetite, weight gain, wrinkling, constipation, pale and dry skin, blurred face, thickened tongue, swollen hands, and feet.
Hyperthyroidism is a state of excessive thyroid hormone production, which is relatively common in women between the ages of 20 and 50, and lately, it has become increasingly common in men. It is most often a consequence of an autoimmune process, during which the body does not recognize the thyroid as its structure, and produces antibodies against it, with the consequence of its excessive stimulation. Hyperthyroidism can also cause one or more hyperactive nodes in the thyroid gland, and rarely certain tumors.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include nervousness, restlessness, irritability, tiredness, insomnia, tremor, increased sweating, hair loss, heart palpitations, increased arterial pressure, weight loss, frequent stools, menstrual cycle disorders, increased thyroid gland, and neck pressure, two-sided, visual disturbances.
What is thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer is a malignant tumor or an outgrowth located inside the thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer is not too common and only 2% of all malignant tumors. Nevertheless, it is the most common cancer of the endocrine system – a glandular system in the body that produces hormones.
Thyroid cancer affects men and women and can develop at any age. The number of new cases of thyroid cancer found every year increases in the female population faster than any other type of malignant tumor. Thyroid cancer is at least three times more common in women than in men. However, in the male population, thyroid cancer, as the cause of mortality, has the fastest growth rate in the group of malignant diseases. The reasons for this growth have not been fully clarified.
What causes thyroid cancer?
Any person can get ill from thyroid cancer. It is more likely, however, that the disease will occur in persons who have undergone radiotherapy of the head, neck, and chest radiographs during childhood. Namely, such radiation, until 1960, was regularly used to reduce increased tonsils, to treat various skin problems (such as, for example, acne), and to reduce the increased thoracic gland (thymus) in children. The incidence of thyroid cancer is more likely if a member of your family had thyroid cancer. However, from thyroid cancer, however, it can infect anyone.
How to diagnose thyroid cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is usually detected by patients themselves, who spot or twist the growth or node on the front of the neck. The node can also be seen by the doctor during a regular examination. The doctor can determine the existence of the node on the thyroid gland by gently pressing the thyroid gland. This procedure can only cause a small discomfort in the patient. In most cases, these are nodes, they are happy, benevolent. Only 5% to 10% of nodes appear to be malignant.
If a doctor discovers a node, it will probably recommend further searches:
- Blood tests (in order to determine thyroid hormone values),
- thyroid scintigraphy (to depict the entire thyroid gland)
- thyroid biopsy (in order to determine it contains the node of the carcinogenic cell).
Minimal invasive surgery on the thyroid gland with the so-called ultrasound scissors, photo: Leptir Polyclinic
The final step is the surgical removal of a part or whole thyroid gland, which is performed only if there are clear indications for performing an operation. Surgery is recommended for patients with thyroid tumors, large knots, a state of pronounced chronic thyroid inflammation, and all conditions where conservative treatment of hyperthyroidism has not yielded results. After a surgical procedure, it is necessary to introduce lifelong substitution hormonal therapy.
It takes some time for the body to get used to functioning without the thyroid, and with replacement therapy, but a part of the patients have already reported that the long-standing unpleasant symptoms caused by the thyroid gland have disappeared a few days later. In a few weeks, patients return completely to their usual routine of work and obligations.
Treatment – return to equilibrium
The first step in treating functional thyroid diseases is a lifestyle change. Patients are given advice on how to restore the organism to a state of natural balance. Altering small changes in daily rhythm can reduce pressure on the thyroid gland. If necessary, supplementation therapy in the form of food supplements and phytotherapy preparations is introduced in order to prevent further development of the disease and alleviate unwanted symptoms.
The second step is to introduce substitution therapy for the thyroid gland (in the case of reduced hormone secretion or hypothyroidism) or therapy that stops the production of excess thyroid hormone (in case of excessive hormone secretion or hyperthyroidism).
For normal life still
To balance your thyroid, an important lifestyle change that involves day-to-day physical exercise, relaxation, learning stress management techniques, and nutrition-rich substances that support normal thyroid hormone function is recommended.
The following nutrients are desirable for thyroid health:
- Selenium – found in mushrooms, marine crabs, cod, tuna, veal liver, Brazilian nuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains
- Zinc – contain it from veal liver, red meat, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, asparagus
- Iron – natural sources are red meat, veal liver, fish, eggs, nuts, seagulls, spinach, shrimp, kale, cabbage
- Calcium – it has green leafy vegetables, broccoli, milk and dairy products, turnips, sardines, salmon, mussels, oats, legumes, nuts
- Vitamin E – found in wheat germ, cold-fried vegetable oils, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, asparagus, tomatoes, avocados, green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin D – Although it is present in some foods in some foods (for example, in greasy sea fish, eggs, and dairy products), moderate exposure to the sun is recommended as the primary source of vitamin D, as the body only produces vitamin D.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, anchovies, salmon, tuna, algae, linseed and olive oil, nuts)
- Probiotics or so-called good bacteria, naturally found in kefir and other types of fermented products.