This vital organ controls central body functions, is shaped like an “H” and is located in front of the trachea in the area of the larynx. Thyroid disorders are common, and the effects are varied.
Functions controlled by the thyroid gland:
Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland, often triggered by iodine deficiency and/or genetic predisposition. The enlarged thyroid gland can press on the trachea and esophagus.
Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
The thyroid gland produces too many hormones. It results in hyperactivity, rapid pulse, sleep disturbances, weight loss, hair loss, restlessness. Hyperthyroidism is often accompanied by Graves’ disease.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland)
The thyroid gland produces too few hormones. This leads to depressive mood, decrease in sexual desire, fatigue, listlessness, lack of concentration, weight gain, brittle hair, hair loss, dry skin and cracked fingernails. Hypothyroidism usually develops gradually. The most common cause is the autoimmune disease Hashimoto.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune disease)
This chronic inflammation accounts for about 80 percent of thyroid disorders. Middle-aged women are more often affected than men. The following favor the disease:
Other diseases: Tumors, diseases of the parathyroid glands.