Underactive thyroid disease: causes, symptoms and treatment

Underactive thyroid disease:

When the thyroid secretes low thyroid hormone is called as under active thyroid or hypothyroidism . Thyroid is one of the important endocrine gland situated in the neck region  in front of the trachea joins to larynx. Thyroid measures 4cm height and 3 cm width. Thyroid secretes the hormones called T4- thyroxine and T3 – triiodothyronine. These thyroid hormones have very important vital functions in the body. Low thyroid levels should be treated to prevent metabolic disorders.

Control of body metabolism is the main function of thyroid gland. The thyroid hormones are less secreted when thyroid becomes under active and is a thyroid disease. Under active thyroid leads to hypothyroidism. Body metabolism is altered with under active thyroid gland. Thyroid function is to regulate body metabolism, and the change in body metabolism causes altered vital signs. Thyroid weight gain is common with under active thyroid or hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) : Controls the production of thyroid hormone. Pituitary gland secretes and controls the release of thyroid stimulating hormone.

Causes of under active thyroid

Iodine insufficiency : Iodine is the major element needed to secrete thyroid hormone in the body. Iodine deficiency in diet causes under active thyroid. Iodine supplementation with Salt helps in preventing Iodine deficiency.

Autoimmune thyroiditis : Autoimmune disorder destroys the thyroid and leads to less secretion of thyroid hormones.

  • Anti thyroid drugs and radio iodide therapy causes under active thyroid.
  • Congenital hypothyroidism, babies have at the time of birth.
  • Older people are more prone to have under active thyroid.
  • Women are more affected than males.
  • thyroid tumor, or thyroid cancer,
  • Autoimmune disorder also causes Hypothyroidism.
  • Certain medications such as  lithium carbonate and amiodarone causes under active thyroid.

Symptoms of Under active thyroid

Symptoms of under active thyroid develops gradually and may vary from mild to severe.

  • Tiredness and feeling sleepy,
  • Cold body temperature,
  • Dry and pale skin,
  • Thin and coarse hair and brittle nails,
  • Mental depression,
  • Weight gaining,
  • Muscle weakness and reduced movements,
  • Hoarse and croaky voice,
  • Decreased memory power,
  • Constipation is associated with under active thyroid,
  • Problems related to fertility,
  • Irregular menstrual periods, and
  • Slow heart rate

Treatment of Under active thyroid or Hypothyroidism

Thyroxine replacement  and levothyroxine in tablet form is the main treatment for Hypothyroidism. Lower dose is started first and dose of medication is gradually increased later. Blood test have very significant value in fixing the dose for an individual with under active thyroid or Hypothyroidism. Side-effects are less with levothyroxine and symptoms such as anxiety and weight loss are seen on prolonged replacement of levothyroxine hormone. Periodical medical check up is suggested for patients with under active thyroid or Hypothyroidism. Normal thyroid levels are shown in the healthy individual.

Pituitary gland : functions and importance

Pituitary gland

Pituitary gland

Pituitary gland is an important endocrine gland in the body. Pituitary gland is very small in size measures the size of Pea nut. Pituitary gland is an external protrusion from the hypothalamus, situated in the bony cavity called sella turcica. The pituitary gland locates in the pituitary fossa, situated in the sphenoid bone in middle cranial fossa. Pituitary gland is the master gland among endocrine glands because pituitary controls the functions of the other endocrine glands

The pituitary gland secretes several hormones and maintains homeostasis of the body,  and produces tropical hormones which stimulate other endocrine glands to release certain hormones. Pituitary gland  is functionally connected to the hypothalamus. Adenohypophysis and neurohypophysis are the two lobes of the pituitary gland. Adenohypophysis is also called as anterior pituitary gland and neurohypophysis is called as posterior pituitary gland. Each lobes have different functions and secretes different hormones.

The  anterior pituitary gland synthesizes and secretes important endocrine hormones, which includes ACTH, TSH, PRL, GH (growth hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) , and LH (luteinizing hormone). These hormones are released from the anterior pituitary regulated by hypothalamus. Hypothalamic hormones are secreted to the anterior lobe by a special capillary system.

Oxytocin and Antidiuretic hormone are the hormones secreted by posterior pituitary.  ADH helps in maintaining water balance in the body and Oxytocin helps in contraction of uterus during labor or child birth and maintains lactation in mother.

Intermediate lobe is the lobe of thin layer between anterior and posterior pituitary gland. This gland is related to melanocytes and controls skin pigmentation.

Hormones  plays a major role in maintaining various bio chemical changes in the body. Some hormones are released when an individual grown up or attains puberty. It has been proved that love, affairs and some emotional changes occurs because of hormones produced by pituitary gland. Hormones produced during young age regulates the desire to love, affection, etc. Steroids or steroid hormone leads to  puberty and physiological changes in the body.


Functions of pituitary gland

  • Growth regulation,
  • Controls Blood pressure,
  • Uterine contraction with release of oxytocin during labor,
  • Maintains pregnancy with some hormones,
  • Production of milk from mammary glands,
  • Regulates thyroid function,
  • Helps in metabolism of food,
  • Osmolarity regulation, etc are main functions of pituitary gland.

So the pituitary gland is the important gland has various functions in the body.

Thyroid nodule: causes, facts, biopsy and treatment

Thyroid nodule

Thyroid nodule are lumps which commonly grow within thyroid gland. These lumps are the abnormal growths of thyroid tissue which are situated at the edges of thyroid gland and are felt as lump on throat by feeling external palpation. Sometimes thyroid nodule can be seen as a lump in the front of the neck in thin individuals who have less subcutaneous fat deposition.

Causes,  Facts related to thyroid nodule and thyroid biopsy

  • Women are more prone to have thyroid nodule .  1 woman out of 15 has risk of getting thyroid nodule.
  • 1 out of  40 young men has risk of developing thyroid nodule.
  •   discomfort
  • Thyroid nodule are benign tumors and non cancerous cells. Only five percent may develop carcinomas.
  • More than 95 percent of all thyroid nodules are benign (non-cancerous growths)
  • Some  thyroid nodule  are cysts  filled with fluid rather than thyroid tissue
  • People aged over 50 years have chance of developing thyroid nodule.
  • Thyroid biopsy is done to diagnose the nature of thyroid nodule, as a benign or malignant. Thyroid biopsy is the important diagnostic test for confirmation of thyroid nodule.
  • complete family physical examination, measurement of serum TSH level and FNAB of the nodule are the diagnostic tests done before treatment of thyroid nodule.
  • Ultrasound thyroid scan is done to notify the nature and extent of thyroid nodule.
  • Thyroid biopsy is the procedure done to get the sample tissue for diagnostic studies. Thyroid biopsy is done in the minor OT with aseptic techniques. Care should be taken to avoid damage to blood vessels or thyroid gland while conducting thyroid biopsy. Needle biopsy is the common thyroid biopsy type. Biopsy specimen is tested in the laboratory and nodule nature is identified as benign or malignant.

Treatment of thyroid nodule

Experienced physicians need to treat the thyroid nodule. Treatment based on the nodule is benign or carcinogenic, metastatic. Hormone replacement may done after removal of affected thyroid lobe or thyroid part. Surgery is done to correct or remove thyroid nodule,  concerns about cosmesis should be taken by the surgeon. Patient need  some days of hospitalization and she can lead normal life. Regular medications should be taken as per doctor’s advice. Follow the medical care and have a healthy soft diet. Liquid diet is given for some days after thyroid nodule surgery.