The thyroid gland which is located at the frontal end of the neck below the structure known as “Adam’s apple” is a vital part of the body. It is responsible for the production and secretion of an hormone called thyroxine. The absence of this in sufficient amounts in the body has negative results on an individual. One of them is a swelling in the neck called Goiter. An individual with goiter lacks a defined amount of thyroxine in his or her body. The insufficient production of thyroxine can be linked to the absence of iodine in the body. Iodine is a major initiator in the process of thyroxine production.
The thyroid gland has many functions. Some of them are regulation of the body metabolism, influencing of growth in children, and enhances the smoother running of other body organs. When there is an insufficient amount of thyroxine in the body, the metabolic processes are interfered with and the result is a reduction in the optimal functioning of the body organs and system. Children who lack a significant amount of thyroxine in he body can end becoming stunted in their growth and develop brains that are impaired. This is popularly referred to as cretinism. When there is an insufficient amount of thyroxine as a result of the thyroid gland’s inability to produce thyroxine, it is called hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland can be infected with various diseases apart from hypothyroidism. Other diseases can be Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism, inflammation of the thyroid, tumor, amyloidosis, and sarcoidosis. On the side, hypothyroidism has been noted to increase in women during pregnancy, after delivery and during menopause.
The common properties of these diseases is that it hinders and tries to render the thyroid gland useless. In thyroiditis which is hereditary, the antibodies in a body attack and fight the thyroid cells. In women, thyroxine deficiency is more pronounced when they are pregnant, just pre-delivery and post-delivery. When it goes undetected, it is capable of causing mental retardation in the afflicted individual.
Other form of disease that the thyroid can get is the opposite of hypothyroidism. It is called hyperthyroidism. This is simply the over secretion of the thyroid hormone known as the thyroxine. Grave’s disease, a form of thyroiditis, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Also referred as Graves-Basedow disease, it is found mainly in middle-aged women. Hurthle cell adenoma, or thyroid adenoma, is another thyroid disease. The Hurthle cell is a large cell and it stains pink. Plummer’s disease, a form of goiter, is another commonly occurring thyroid disease.
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