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All about thyroid and how to prevent thyroid disease

By on February 6, 2012 in Diseases, Prevention with 0 Comments

Thyroid troubles are on the increase of late, and medical science has been putting forward many a solution to quell such ailments. In case you didn’t know, the  thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland, situated in the anterior neck, above the sternal manubriului and  between the two muscles sternocleidomastoidieni. The gland gets its name from the Greek word for shield (Thyreo) after it was found out in the 18th century that thyroid was associated with the neck shield. But we now know that thyroid functions as a shield for the entire body.

Thyroid hormones are required for all processes that take place in the body. Based on growth, thyroid hormones are responsible for the appearance of ossification nuclei that take care of  body’s thermoregulation. They play a major role in metabolism.

There are almost a billion cells called thyroid follicles, which are based on the thyroid hormone biosynthesis. Any impairment of their functionality can lead to insufficient thyroid hormones. Thyroid is an autonomous body, but that doesn’t mean that it works alone. We have a full control system (called feedback mechanism) between encephalon, pituitary and thyroid.

Prof. Dr. Constantin Dumitrache, endocrinology MD, PhD Medical Clinic Medical Colentina Gral , has provided valuable information to better understand how the thyroid works, why and how to prevent illnesses.

Most common thyroid ailments:

A. Thyroid insufficiency ( hypothyroidism ) occurs when thyroid gland produces not enough tiorida. The disease can occur anytime – congenital, childhood or in the adulthood. The precautions must be taken at the earliest. Children have to have  regular check ups, as  the disease can occur without any previous symptoms. There are certain diseases that may be associated with thyroid failure.

Hypothyroidism symptoms: constipation, dry skin, weight gain even when the patient complaints of having no appetite, muscle and joint pain, poor / heavy menstrual flow, depression, slow thought and speech, drowsiness, impaired memory, poor adaptability to cold.

Hypothyroidism causes:

-Inflammation caused by immune system (autoimmune thyroiditis / Hashimoto);
– The left gland not producing enough thyroid hormone after a partial surgery;
– Too many cells are destroyed (thyroid follicles) after a treatment with radioiodine for goiter or other thyroid disease.

B. Excess thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) occurs when the thyroid gland puts into circulation a larger amount of thyroid hormones. A tumor located in a particular area of ​​the thyroid (toxic adenoma) or located throughout the gland could be the reason.

Manifestations and symptoms for hyperthyroidism:

-In the cardiovascular system, hyperthyroidism is manifested by cardiac arrhythmias, increasing the number of beats per minute (tachycardia), rapid and irregular heart beat (atrial fibrillation) or bradycardia (slow heart rate);
– In the lungs, it’s manifested by an increase in the number of breaths per minute (from an average 18 to over 25 breaths per minute);
-In the digestive tract, transit is accelerated and it is manifested by frequent unformed stools (5-7/zi);
– Skin becomes thin and wet, at times even excessively wet because the patient has hormone calorigen tirodieni; then light traces on the body remains due to peripheral vasodilatation (dermographism accent);
-Mentally, it is manifested by agitation, insomnia, trembling limbs, and Basedow Graves (goiter exophthalmos) disease plus ocular changes, the most obvious being “staring eyes” (eye protrusion);
– Rapid weight-loss even if the patient has appetite and eating well (sometimes above average).
“When patients exhibit one or more of these clinical symptoms, they should go to the endocrinologist (many patients go directly to a cardiologist or a gastroenterologist etc and forget about this aspect),” warns Dr. Constantin Dumitrache.

Causes  of hyperthyroidism

The main reason is the emergence of autoimmune pathology substances that stimulate the thyroid leading to an excess of thyroid hormones. Another reason could be the formation of hiperfunctionala tumor in the body which puts into circulation a large amount of thyroid hormones. Stress can also trigger or exacerbate autoimmune system. “Very often stress is found in each patient’s history (the story told the doctor that triggered the disease). Patients with hyperthyroidism are contraindicated foods with excessive consumption of iodine (including iodized salt),”says Dr. Constantin Dumitrache.

Treatment of thyroid diseases

Most thyroid diseases are treated with medication. For hypothyroidism, there are thyroid hormone medicines and the dose can be  determined based on severity of the disease. For hyperthyroidism, one might have to resort to antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, or surgery (thyroidectomy) when the disease does not respond to medication.

C. Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is quite often the case gusilor nodular, and especially in gusile uninodulare. Romania is a country with iodine deficiency, and there are many people with endemic goiter, about 20-30% of the population. Thyroid cancer is a slow growing cancer, and the diagnosis is made on fine needle aspiration puncture. The thyroid is removed completely through surgery and then follow it up with radioactive iodine to remove the remaining cancer cells that could remain in the tissue. Doctors determine the required dose, and this medication should be followed during the patient’s entire life.


When patients exhibit clinical symptoms of hypo or hyperthyroidism, they should go to the endocrinologist. It’s recommended that pregnant women must visit an endocrinologist for preliminary check up and in the first year after birth, the thyroid function should be tested to prevent associated (postpartum thyroiditis) diseases.

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