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Thyroid and Hypo-/Hyperthyroidism

Updated on March 8, 2013
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What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland located in the lower, front of the neck. For males, the thyroid gland is located beneath the Adam's Apple. The thyroid controls your body's metabolism by releasing necessary amounts of hormones into your bloodstream.

What does the thyroid look like?

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly with its wings wrapped around your throat. The thyroid gland however should not feel hard as a rock, look visibly swollen, or feel higher than the throat or nearly as high as the Adam's Apple. This an indication that you should get your thyroid checked. Unless you have a close relationship with your doctor or physician they will not always run tests that will screen for other cancers, so if you are concerned about your health or the risk of having thyroid cancer, do not be afraid to ask your doctor. Explain your reasons for the desired tests so that the doctor may have something to go off of.

Testing procedures for cancer are not that cheap, except for basic blood works, so ask your doctor what else you could cover under with that test. What else could you guys look out for (other types of cancers) in blood work, exams, or screenings.

What is Hypothyroidism?


Hypothyroidism is a disease or condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. If you have hypothyroidism and notice painless or painful swelling, lumps, or bumps in the neck, especially if you are already being treated with thyroid hormone injections or pills, try to see your local doctor and get a hint of what is really going on with your body.

What is Hyperthyroidism?


Hyperthyroidism results when the thyroid gland produces excess amounts, or too much, thyroid hormones. Having excess thyroid hormone causes many problems with the body, one of them may result as hypothyroidism later in life if the hyper- is not treated. Hypothyroidism may be diagnosed as one of two different disorders: Hashimoto's and Postpartum Thyroiditis.

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis


Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is an autoimmunity disease. This means that the under or over-production of the thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland, may affect an individual's health. This may become chronic if not treated early.

In Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, the body uses the immune system to destroy the thyroid gland, as though it were an invader to the body. The thyroid hormone production is sped up during part of this process. The damage resulting from the immune system defenses leaves the thyroid in "hypo- mode", tired and damaged. The whole process may start again and again.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is usually diagnosed through the many fluctuations of thyroid hormone production between hyer- and hypothyroidism.

Thyroid cancers...


Thyroid cancer, like many others, usually do not show signs of pain unless it has reached another stage. Cancers of the thyroid are usually detected by swellings, lumps, or bumps in the neck. It is always best to have a regular checkup with your doctor and ask questions you have. Cancer can pop up fast, especially if you have a family history of thyroidal hormone disorders.

Lymph node with metastasis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (middle/bottom of image). The papillary thyroid carcinoma (thyroid cancer) shown here has the classically described appearance (papillary architecture -- papillae with fibrovascular cores). Th
Lymph node with metastasis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (middle/bottom of image). The papillary thyroid carcinoma (thyroid cancer) shown here has the classically described appearance (papillary architecture -- papillae with fibrovascular cores). Th | Source

Treatment with thyroid medications or surgery

Thyroid medications, used to regulate the production of thyroid hormones, may come in pill form or injection (liquid form- injection by needle). The pill that I take is called Levothyroxine, which is for hypothyroidism, however, pills may not be a suitable suggestion to every person out there. Some people cannot swallow pills, therefore, receiving thyroid medication through injection will be a better idea.

Thyroid medications may also be used for the treatment of certain types of thyroid cancers as well. Not all cancers are best kept at bay with prescriptions. In fact, most thyroid nodules that have swelled excessively must be removed with some form of surgery, as well as a thyroid with positive cancer (metastatic) cells.

How is Thyroid Cancer detected?


Many people have their own ways to detect illnesses such as cancer, at home, however. the best way to get a solid answer as to whether you have cancer or not is to have radiological procedures and biopsies explored through a licensed doctor.

To have these tests done, you might have to lay down under a few machines that will only make a little whirring sound. You will have to patiently let doctors handle you professionally and wait for results to come in. Your next appointment with the doctor will not always mean that you have cancer, but have your questions ready for the doctor and they will supply you with references or answers to any questions you may have.

Generic Levothyroxine
Generic Levothyroxine

Not medically correct?

Feel free to correct me. I am not a professional of any sort, neither a doctor with any credentials in the medical field. The above information is only for informational purposes and should not be taken heavily as any sort of diagnosis. If you are suspicious of your personal health, I highly recommend contacting your doctor or local emergency room if necessary.

I wish you all cancer-free, and illness-free days! Take care everyone. You can message me if you need someone to talk to, or comment below- your preference. :)

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    • Brandon Martin profile image
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      Brandon Martin 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      :) Definitely. No problem! I'll be wishing good thoughts your way, and, Thank You.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Brandon! :)

    • Brandon Martin profile image
      Author

      Brandon Martin 5 years ago from Colorado, USA

      Thank you so much. I was thinking the same thing just the other day. I'm sorry about your thyroid. Hang in there! :)

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Good, researched article. I've just had some blood tests done for the thyroid - it seems like it's quite a common problem - either it being over-active or under-active. Thanks for the info :)