The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, which produces hormones that increase oxygen use in cells and stimulate vital processes in every part of the body. These thyroid hormones have a major impact on growth, use of energy, heat production, and infertility. They affect the use of vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, electrolytes, and water, and regulate the immune response in the intestine. They can also alter the actions of other hormones and drugs.
The two key thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and L-triiodothyronine (T3). Iodine is the raw material used in the manufacture of these hormones; it is extracted from the blood and trapped by the thyroid gland where 80% of the body's iodine is stored. The thyroid mostly produces thyroxine, which in turn, is converted into T3, the more biologically active thyroid hormone. Only about 20% of T3 is actually formed in the thyroid gland, however; the rest is manufactured from circulating thyroxine in tissues outside the thyroid. The whole process of iodine trapping and thyroid hormone production is directly influenced by another important hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH or thyrotropin). This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and monitored by thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), which is produced in the hypothalamus gland. Both glands are located in the brain. Any abnormality in this intricate system of glands and hormone synthesis and production can have far-reaching consequences.
When there is inadequate secretion of thyroid
hormones, hypothyroidism occurs and the body begins to slow down. It was first
diagnosed in the late nineteenth century when physicians observed that after
surgically removing the thyroid gland, a patient developed swelling of the
hands, face, feet, and tissues around the eye. They named this syndrome myxedema
and correctly concluded that it was the outcome of the absence of substances --
thyroid hormones -- normally produced by the thyroid gland, i.e.,
hypothyroidism. A number of conditions can cause this disorder, and it is
usually progressive and irreversible. Treatment for hypothyroidism, however, is
nearly always completely successful and allows a patient to live a fully normal
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
If left undiagnosed, not only does your quality of life reduce, you are put
at risk from :
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
If left undiagnosed, not only does your quality of life reduce, you are put at risk from :
MYXEDEMA(Gr. myxa, "slime"; oidema, "swelling"), deficiency disease caused by insufficient or lack of production of hormone by the thyroid gland . Patients with myxedema complain of fatigue, lethargy, sleepiness, poor tolerance to cold, mental sluggishness, a tendency to gain weight, and generalized aches and pains. Their faces often look puffy and waxy. Their skin is dry and coarse; their hair is coarse, dry, and brittle, and it tends to fall out easily. Often patients also lose the outer portion of their eyebrows. These and other symptoms are caused by a low metabolic rate resulting from a deficiency of the thyroid hormone that stimulates metabolism. Myxedema differs from cretinism in that it develops after birth and produces less severe cerebral inadequacy. The disease may occur in several members of a single family. Any condition that decreases the elaboration of thyroid gland hormone may bring on myxedema. The disease is treated by the administration of thyroxine, other thyroid extracts, or a synthetic preparation such as levothyroxine.
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