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Thyroid Disease By Pitiporn “Nay” Duda

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The Thyroid is one of the main glands of the endocrine system. It is very small, located in the front of the neck below the “Adams Apple”, and shaped like a butterfly. The thyroid hormones are important for teenagers because they help to control metabolism and growth.  Iodine is the chemical element to help the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones and we can find iodine in foods such as salt and seafood. In many parts of our body if the thyroid is not working right that can cause many problems. The hormones that are needed by the body if the thyroid gland does not supply them will cause thyroid disease.

When the thyroid is overactive, it releases too much thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. This condition is called hyperthyroidism, which causes the body to use up energy more quickly than it should. This is the opposite of when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, the body uses energy more slowly than it should, and this is called hypothyroidism. About 20 million people in the United States have some form of thyroid disease that can occur in people of all ages. Thyroid disease usually happens in women five to eight times more often than men.

Symptoms for hypothyroidism vary widely and include fatigue, mental fogginess, forgetfulness, feeling excessively cold, constipation, dry skin, fluid retention, nonspecific aches and stiffness in muscles and joints, excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding, and depression. Symptoms for hyperthyroidism are suggested by several signs and symptoms. People older than seventy years old with mild hyperthyroidism usually experience no symptoms. In general, the symptoms become more obvious as the condition worsens. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include irritability/nervousness, muscle weakness/tremors, infrequent, scant menstrual periods, weight loss, sleep disturbances, enlarged thyroid gland, vision problems or eye irritation, and heat sensitivity.

Treatments for thyroid disorders are designed to restore normal blood levels of thyroid hormones. Levothyroxine is a drug that is used with patients who have hypothyroidism. This drug will help to replace missing thyroid hormones in the body. The doctor will adjust a patient’s dosage until they can return to their normal lifestyle. Hyperthyroidism, generally more difficult to treat, requires the normalization of thyroid hormone production. Treatment could involve drug therapy to block hormone production. Thyroid surgeries to remove part or all of the gland, or radioactive iodine treatment are usually used for hyperthyroidism, but the most popular treatment is radioactive iodine. Thyroid diseases are life-long conditions. People with thyroid disease can live healthy, normal lives if they know how to carefully manage it.

Prevention of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism is not yet possible. Iodine deficiency is rare in the United States, so there is no way to prevent thyroid nodules, but it is not recommended to take extra iodine. In multiple vitamin supplements, there is a lot of iodine, so it is good to read the ingredient label or ask your pharmacist to verify if it contains iodine.


Dowshen, Steven . “Thyroid Disease.” February 2012. N.p., Web. 9 Mar. 2012.


Stephanie, Lee. “Thyroid Problems.” N.p., Web. 9 Mar. 2012.


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