All about Thyroid Disorders

All about Thyroid Disorders

What is a Thyroid gland?

One of the largest pure endocrine glands in the body (» 20gms in adults) located in the neck just below the larynx, on either side of & front of the trachea (wind pipe). It is not visible under normal conditions, but can be seen/felt during swallowing if enlarged.

What are its functions?

The thyroid gland produces hormones T3 (Triiodothyronine) & T4 (Thyroxine) that regulate the body’s metabolic rate controlling heart, muscle and digestive function, brain development and bone maintenance. Its correct functioning depends on a good supply of iodine from the diet.

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Overactive tissue within the thyroid gland causing an overproduction of thyroid hormones.


  1. High state of excitability.
  2. Intolerance to heat; feeling of being overheated and leading to heavy sweating.
  3. Mild to extreme weight loss.
  4. Varying degrees of diarrhea.
  5. Muscle weakness.
  6. Extreme fatigue but inability to sleep.
  7. Nervousness or other psychic disorders.
  8. Tremor of the hands.

Thyroid Gland


  • Surgical removal of most of the thyroid gland.
  • Radioactive Iodine, absorbed by the gland and destroys most of the secretory cells of the thyroid gland.
  • blockers.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland does not produce enough of thyroid hormones.

Types of hypothyroidism

  1. Autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto disease).
  2. Auto-immunity against the thyroid gland with diminished or absent secretion of thyroid hormone.
  3. Nodular gland; inflamed (thyroiditis) and non-inflamed portions.
  4. Abnormality of the enzyme system required for formation of the thyroid hormones.
  5. Goitrogenic substances (anti-thyroid activity), turnips and cabbages.


  • Fatigue and extreme somnolence with sleeping up to 12 to 14 hours a day.
  • Extreme muscular sluggishness.
  • Slowed heart rate, decreased cardiac output, decreased blood volume.
  • Sometimes increased body weight.
  • Constipation.
  • Mental sluggishness.
  • Failure of many trophic functions in the body evidenced by depressed growth of hair and scaliness of the skin.
  • Development of a frog like husky voice.
  • In severe cases, development of an edematous appearance throughout the body called myxedema.
  • Atherosclerosis: increases the quantity of blood cholesterol due to diminished liver excretion of cholesterol in the bile.
  • Goiter (not in all cases).

Treatment of hypothyroidism.

  • Oral thyroxine 0.1-0.2 mg/day.
  • Intravenous T3 for rapid response 20ug tds.


  • A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland
  • Palpable and usually highly visible
  • Occurs whenever either TSH or TSI excessively stimulates the thyroid gland
  • May accompany hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, but it need not be present in either condition.


Simple goiters may occur in people who live in areas with iodine-poor soil. People in these areas might not get enough iodine in their diet. (0.1 mg/day).



  • Thyroid hormone replacement, if the goiter is due to an underactive thyroid.
  • Small doses of Lugol’s iodine or potassium iodine solution if the goiter is due to a lack of iodine.
  • Surgery (thyroidectomy) to remove all or part of the gland.

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