The Thyroid gland produces two hormones, Thyroxine (T4) and Trijodthyronine (T3). Both are released into the bloodstream in a 24 hour cycle, with a peak in the morning.
An enlargement of the Thyroid gland, with or without transformation into a nodular state needs a lifelong therapy with Thyroid hormones. An enlargement of the Gland is not normal, but pathological and the main reason for this disease is a lack of Iodine.
Thyroid disease can be hereditary and if this is the case, children of sufferers should be given Thyroid hormones from an early age. In women the instances of Thyroid disease is greater because of fluctuating hormonal rhythms and, during pregnancy, the Thyroid having to work for both mother and baby.
A hyperfunction (hyperthyroidism) is mostly observed with weight loss, rising appetite, fatigue, weak muscles, possible aggressive behavior and an intolerance of closed or heated rooms.
If diagnosed early, this can be treated with medicines to counterbalance the hormonal overproduction, although in severe cases radioactive Iodine is given to the patient, which destroys a part of the hormone producing cells. Sometimes, depending on the seriousness of the disease, the Thyroid has to be removed (Thyrotomy).
The hypofunction ( hypothyroidism) produces an increase in weight, lack of concentration, permanent fatigue and is often a source of depression together with claustrophobia and shortness of breath.
The enlargement of the Thyroid is always an indication that the gland is not working properly, in general, the less the enlargement the fewer symptoms will be observed but treatment should begin as soon as any symptoms are noticed.
The most extreme case of enlargement is called Struma and is thankfully now rare in European countries, due to medical progress and education.
Great advances in the treatment of Thyroid abnormalities make detection and early treatment far easier then in the past also modern medicine is very successful in controlling hormone irregularities. However early detection and treatment are essential for successfully controlling the disease and if you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms you should seek the advice of your doctor as soon as possible.