A butterfly-shaped gland on the front lower portion of the neck, the thyroid is rich with blood vessels and secretes hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones influence metabolism, development, growth and body temperature. Sufficient hormone from this organ is very important in infancy and childhood for brain development. Thyroxine, also known as T4, is the main hormone secreted by the gland.

1210561_1437671330Problems Necessitating Thyroid Treatment
There are multiple conditions which necessitate treatment. Those include:


  • Goiter: Swelling, usually harmless. It can represent deficiency of iodine or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition causing the gland’s inflammation.


  • Hyperthyroidism: A condition wherein the gland produces too much hormone. Graves disease or an overactive nodule is usually what causes this condition.


  • Hypothyroidism: Insufficient production of hormone, usually caused by an autoimmune disease.


  • Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the gland from an autoimmune disease or viral infection. May be painful or completely free of symptoms.


  • Graves disease: Overstimulation of the gland from an autoimmune condition, of which hyperthyroidism is the result.


  • Nodule: An abnormal lump or mass in the neck gland, of which few are cancerous. Extremely common, these masses may secrete excess hormones, causing hyperthyroidism. Some cause no problems.


  • Thyroid Cancer: A usually curable, uncommon form of glandular cancer treated through surgery, radiation and hormone treatments.


  • Thyroid storm: A rare type of hyperthyroidism, as part of which extremely high hormone levels result in severe illness.



Tests Conducted to Assess the Thyroid’s Disorders
There are several tests conducted to determine whether there is malfunction, and what condition may be causing that issue. Some of those are:


  • Anti-TPO antibodies: A test conducted to determine whether proteins common to autoimmune disease are present, mistakenly attacking the enzyme necessary to produce hormones.


  • Ultrasound: By placing a probe on the neck, reflecting sound waves are used to detect abnormal tissue.


  • Scan: Radioactive iodine is orally ingested for imaging of the butterfly-shaped gland.


  • Biopsy: Tissue is removed to look for glandular cancer or other conditions. This test is performed using a needle.


  • TSH hormone tests: TSH is secreted by the brain and regulates hormone release. The test results can indicate either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.


  • T3 and T4: Primary hormones checked using a blood test.


  • Thyroglobulins: A glandular secretion which can be measured for markers of cancer.


  • Other tests: Some conditions can be further assessed using CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans.



Thyroid Treatment
Thyroid treatment varies according to the specific diagnosis. Some of those treatments include surgery, medications, radioactive iodine, external radiation, or injections of recombinant human TSH. Recombinant human TSH is a stimulating agent used as part of imaging tests, to make cancer show up more clearly in those images.


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