Visualize Thyroid Cancer Symptoms &amp; Thyroid Cancer Treatment – E Blog Line throughout Symptons Of Thyroid Cancer
EXAMINING YOUR THYROID
Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid is a bow-tie shaped gland, which is part of the endocrine system. It is the gland which takes iodine from the blood, and then sets to work, producing a cocktail of thyroxine and triiodothyronine, two hormones that help to regulate your bodyís metabolism. Secreted into the blood, these hormones are then delivered to each and every tissue throughout the body. It is because of the thyroidís hormones that a body is able to stay warm or use energy. It is important to each and every cell of your body, helping to make everything grow and work properly.
Sometimes, this gland may not work properly and can either flood the body with an overabundance of hormones or it can withhold these needed hormones from the system. These two conditions are the most common problems of the thyroid, and are known as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Both conditions have a wide variety of symptoms and can lead to a wide range of problems. When left unattended, abnormalities in the thyroid can escalate into something even more serious.
Patients suffering from a lack of activity in the thyroid gland are said to have hypothyroidism, and often suffer many different symptoms, affecting many different parts of the body. Previously, researchers had believed that an underactive thyroid may represent a risk to the heart, much in the same way that smoking cigarettes or cholesterol prove to be risk factors for heart disease. Recent studies, coming from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, however, claim that leaving a mildly underactive thyroid (called subclinical hypothyroidism) untreated does not lead to increased cardiovascular risk. Similarly, hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) may result in atrial fibrillation, one of many varieties of abnormal heart rhythms. To date, however, there is no solid evidence, linking atrial fibrillation as a high risk factor of the cardiovascular system.
The insufficient production of thyroidal hormones, hypothyroidism, can cause a person to exhibit symptoms such as weight gain and a decrease in the metabolism, fatigue, a slower heart rate, memory impairment, slowed or hoarse voice, sensitivity to heat or cold, decreased sex drive, or a buildup of fluid in the pericardial cavity (the membrane which surrounds the heart). When people say that someone has a thyroid disorder, hypothyroidism is usually the first thing brought to mind.
The most common variety of hypothyroidism is known as Hashimotoís Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, in which the bodyís own antibodies attack the cells of the thyroid. Four times more common in females than males, this is also a hereditary risk, known to run in families. Auto-immune disorders, however, are not the only causes for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Secondary hypothyroidism is actually due to the loss of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) secretions from the pituitary gland; and while it is more rare, it can be equally as troublesome.
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is an overactive thyroid gland which results in an overabundance of thyroxine and/or triiodothyronine (or sometimes both hormones) being released into the body. Some major causes of hyperthyroidism include the auto-immune disorder known as Graves Disease, toxic thyroid adenoma (often associated with cancer of the thyroid gland), and toxic multinodular goiter (also known as Plummerís Disease). While symptoms vary widely, some major ones include a rapid weight loss (often accompanied with a near-ravenous appetite), hyperactivity and/or irritability, fatigue, depression and extensive sweating. In the case of Graves disease, thyroid dysfunction can affect the eyes; common occurrences including eye protrusion, eyelid retraction, dry eye (which, if untreated, can lead to a loss of vision), double-vision, and/or bags beneath the eyes. If any eye related problems are discovered, the doctor may suggest any one of a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments.
Thyroid gland diseases are very common, and they affect millions of Americans. While hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are most commonly seen now, enlarged thyroid glands (goiters) were often seen in the olden days and still exist, today, in areas where iodine is lacking from peoplesí diets. Likewise, some countries still see children who are born with thyroid hormone deficiencies, these children suffering from poor growth and often having trouble with mental impairments, when the brain ceases to grow normally. Fortunately, many countries have adopted procedures which allow doctors to test newborn babies with a simple heel prick, performed shortly after birth. Early diagnosis allows these children to receive supplementations of synthetic thyroxine, thus enabling them to develop naturally.
It is also common, especially amongst those who have received radiation therapy to the head and neck (often used to treat conditions such as severe acne or adenoid problems), to encounter abnormal masses on the thyroid. Due to the risk of thyroid malignancy, a doctor should always be asked to evaluate any newly-discovered nodes or lumps. This is done by performing a fine needle aspiration biopsy; relatively painless, this is a procedure where a hypodermic needle is passed through the neck and into the abnormal mass, with samples taken from the tissues within. Several different samples may be taken in this fashion, allowing the doctor more information, so that he can judge whether the lump is benign or a malignant (cancerous) growth. Fortunately, most thyroid lumps are benign and may be treated with supplemented doses of thyroid hormone. This is known as ìsuppressionî therapy and can usually shrink the mass over a three-to-six month period.
Many different tests are available for abnormalities of the thyroid; these are often needed, due to the wide variety of symptoms, which widens the risk for a possible misdiagnosis. One of the more common methods of testing for hypothyroidism, or hyperthyroidism, is performed by means of a simple blood sample. By examining the blood, doctors can run tests to determine how much TSH is being produced by the pituitary gland, as more will be produced in an attempt to sort of ëjump startí the thyroid, if thyroxine levels are determined to be low. Likewise, too little TSH present in the blood strongly suggests that the body is producing too much thyroxine and the stimulating hormone is not required.
Doctors can also determine iodine deficiencies and whether or not the thyroid is working properly by having the patient swallow a very small amount of radioactive iodine. Using special equipment, the doctor is able to trace the iodine, because it is radioactive, and determine how much of it is taken into the thyroid and put to use. With the radioactive iodine in the system, doctors can also take a picture of the thyroid, which will then allow them to look it over for any sign of abnormalities.
Additionally, one can check for abnormal growths on the thyroid by performing a simple test at home; itís best to have someone assist you, though you can also position mirrors so that you can watch. For the test, all you need is a simple glass of water and that friend and/or mirror, to help keep an eye on things for you. Taking the glass of water, tilt your head back and drink, while watching your reflection. The thyroid gland, if enlarged, will be visible just below the Adamís apple. If itís enlarged, you should be able to see it, pressing against the skin as you swallow; just be careful not to mistake the Adamís apple for an enlarged thyroid. While this is by no means as good as a doctor diagnosis and proper health care, it can help you to know what to look for and specific questions to ask your doctor about.
Due to public awareness and education, few people die from thyroid dysfunction or the presence of goiters anymore. In many cases, simple medications may be beneficial to help control the problem but, in other situations, surgery may be necessary. Sometimes a doctor may wish to remove a nodule from the thyroid, in order to submit it for biopsy and, in some cases, surgery may be needed to remove goiters. In the event a mass is discovered to be malignant, a cancerous thyroid may necessitate removal of the entire gland.
Patients who have thyroid surgery are quite often placed on special medication to replace the thyroid hormones that their body can no longer produce. In some cases, calcium replacement may also be required. The doctor can perform tests to determine whether or not the blood calcium readings are low.
When in doubt, maintain regular checkups. Should you not feel well, or believe youíre experiencing some of the symptoms of thyroid disorder, see your doctor and raise any concerns you may have at that time. While diseases of the thyroid do not appear as dangerous as they once did, the reasoning behind this is because of public awareness, education and medical advancement. As with any disease, neglecting it or pretending it will just go away, if you donít talk about it, only compounds the problem and puts you at risk. Thyroid disease, if left untreated, can become life threatening, as well as running the risk of causing complications with other parts of the body. Thyroid cancer can also be a risk and, for these reasons, you should seek medical assistance, should you suspect this condition.
As they say; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.î Dont be afraid to ask questions. Be responsible, be aware, and be safe.