The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated just below the Adam’s apple. Thyroid hormones control how fast you burn calories, how fast your heart beats, and your body’s metabolism.

Thyroid gland hormones

The thyroid gland makes hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones influence your metabolism, and control vital functions such as body temperature and heart rate.

What are common signs of thyroid problems?

Some thyroid problems include goiter (thyroid gland enlargement), hyperthyroidism (overproduction), hypothyroidism (under production), and thyroid cancer. Some signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism can include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, weight gain, puffy face, muscle weakness, elevated blood cholesterol level, muscle aches, slowed heart rate, and enlarged thyroid gland (goiter).

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system produces antibodies that attack your own tissues. These antibodies affect the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones.Medications can contribute to hypothyroidism, such as lithium used to treat certain psychiatric disorders. If you’re taking medication, ask your doctor about its effect on your thyroid gland.

The trace mineral iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Too little iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, and too much iodine can worsen hypothyroidism in people who already have the condition.

What is the best thyroid medication?

Standard treatment for hypothyroidism involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levo-T). This oral medication restores adequate hormone levels, reversing the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. The medication gradually lowers cholesterol levels elevated by the disease and may reverse any weight gain. The patient will likely start to feel better soon after they start treatment. Levothyroxine causes minimal side effects when used in the appropriate dose and is relatively inexpensive.

Iodine and thyroid function?

Patients who produce too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) are often treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications to get thyroid function back to normal. Excessive amounts of thyroid hormone can cause side effects, such as heart palpitations, insomnia, and increased appetite.

Thyroid problems can appear for a number of reasons including autoimmune disease, hyperthyroidism treatments, radiation therapy, thyroid surgery and certain medications. Thyroid treatment may include medicines, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery. Surgically removing all of the thyroid gland can halt hormone production, so you’ll need to take thyroid hormone for life.

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