Medical: Abnormalities of the Thyroid Gland

Functional abnormalities

A properly functioning thyroid gland produces precisely the right amount of thyroid hormone, day and night. It also stores and secretes precisely enough of the hormone. But the thyroid does not always work as it should. For example, something may have gone wrong during the development and migration of the thyroid or with the synthesis or secretion of thyroid hormone. There may also be abnormalities in the way the thyroid gland is controlled by your brain. If the thyroid does not function properly, you may end up with the wrong amount of thyroid hormone. If the thyroid gland works too slowly, this is referred to as hypothyroidism. If the thyroid gland is working too hard, then this is called hyperthyroidism.

Deviations in size

Something can also go amiss with the growth of your thyroid gland. If the entire thyroid gland is larger than normal, then we speak of a condition called goiter. If only a small portion of the gland is growing too quickly, then you have what is known as a nodule or a node.

Congenital or acquired

You can have a thyroid problem at birth, or it can first appear and develop in later years. If you have had a thyroid problem since birth, this is called a congenital thyroid disorder. This may occur as a result of an alteration in embryonic development. If the problems arise later, then we refer to this as an acquired thyroid disorder. This may occur as a result of damage to the thyroid gland, usually due to an auto-immune reaction and sometimes as a consequence of radiation.

Detecting thyroid disorders

If a change occurs in the functioning of your thyroid gland, you might not always notice it. Sometimes, the change can occur very gradually. On the other hand, you might have a lot of complaints and notice that something is definitely wrong. It is sometimes difficult to see whether your thyroid gland is entirely or partially enlarged. To find this out, the structure and size of the thyroid gland, as well as its function, must be examined. You can read more about this topic in the Diagnostics section below.

Thyroid Disorders:

Reduced Thyroid Function (hypothyroidism): Increased Thyroid Function (hyperthyroidism): Devations in size of the thyroid gland:

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