Issues with the thyroid gland affect millions and millions of people worldwide. Thyroid problems can affect a person’s daily life, bringing a range of debilitating symptoms. These issues normally stem from a person’s thyroid gland not being able to produce the correct level of hormones. The condition of having an underactive thyroid gland that is producing fewer hormones than what is required is called hypothyroidism. The condition of having an overactive thyroid gland that is producing more hormones than what is required is called hyperthyroidism. Characteristically, thyroid issues affect women more than men. In this article, we go over some of the causes of thyroid issues and show how thyroid treatment and medication would occur.
Causes of thyroid issues
Most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by damage to the thyroid gland. The body’s immune system can attack the gland by mistake when fighting infection, inflicting irreparable damage. Treatment for an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or thyroid cancer can also lead to permanent damage to the thyroid gland. Extreme treatment measures such as surgery and chemotherapy damage the gland and impair its ability to produce hormones too drastically, causing hypothyroidism.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is where antibodies stimulate the thyroid to produce extreme levels of hormones. Tumours of the thyroid or pituitary gland, as well as the ovaries and testes, can lead to hyperthyroidism. Another common cause is thyroiditis, where the thyroid becomes inflamed and hormones leak out of the gland.
Thyroid treatment and medication
Daily hormone tablets are prescribed for those suffering from hypothyroidism. The hormone thyroxine is contained within the daily hormone tablets and will correct the imbalance in hormones caused by the hypothyroidism. With some consultation in the first weeks of treatment, the correct level of thyroxine for you will be found and it will enable you to lead a full and fulfilling life.
Hyperthyroidism is far more difficult to treat. Typically, antithyroid medicines are used to try and block your thyroid from over-producing hormones. Beta-blockers are also used to try and stop the effects of the hormones taking place without reducing the amount produced. In severe cases, surgery or radioiodine is used to remove or kill the parts of the thyroid that are producing high levels of hormones. However, as mentioned in the causes section, often this leads to increased damage to the thyroid and gives the patient hypothyroidism. This means that they will be taking the daily hormone tablets from then on.
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This article should have helped you to understand what causes thyroid issues and how they are treated. If you feel like you have a thyroid issue, seek out professional help and get treatment so that you can maximise your richness of life.