The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones, which control the speed at which the body’s chemical functions proceed (metabolic rate).
Your Thyroid Gland is situated in your neck area, close to your trachea.
There are two main types of Thyroid activity. Hyperthyroidism (the over-activity of the thyroid gland) and Hypothyroidism (the under-activity of the thyroid gland).
Hyperthyroidism is the name given to a Thyroid condition when the Thyroid is overactive. This means that the bodies metabolic rate speeds up usually through the over production of the thyroid hormone T3 & T4.
Hyperthyroidism can cause many different symptoms for different people. The symptoms can often be varied and sporadic. Generally the symptoms relate to the fact that the hormone is in overdrive and has speeded up your metabolic rate. Some patients can experience feeling nervous, irritable or unexpectedly emotional. Some people also comment on having a shortness of breath, especially when exercising along with the increase of your heart rate with added palpitations. A more extensive list of symptoms can be found by reading our information sheet – Hyperthyroidism which you can access by following this link here or via the menu.
The treatment of an Overactive thyroid condition basically involves bringing the thyroid back into its normal operating pattern. On occasions this can right itself however in most cases treatment will involve either a dose of “Anti-Thyroid” medication or “Radioiodine” (Iodine-131). Sometime surgery may be suggested if other treatments have been exhausted or if the condition has been caused by a single nodule or Goitre which can easily be removed.
Hypothyroidism is the name given to a Thyroid condition that is underactive. This means that the metabolic rate slows down and does not produce enough of the Thyroid producing hormone.
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include tiredness, constipation and a sensitivity to the cold. Some people may gain weight and may also suffer from sore muscles and joint pain. *A detailed list of common symptoms can be found by reading our factsheet about Hypothyroidism which you can access by following this link here or via the menu.
The first line of treatment is for you to visit your G.P. and request a Thyroid test to check the level of the hormone in the gland. The tests will provide a reading of your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). When your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone, the TSH reading will be high. Once a confirmed diagnosis has been made you will be given a regular dosage of Thyroxine. This can be given in tablet form however it can take some time to get your dosage right. Therefore it is recommended that you start off with a low dosage and build up your intake gradually every six weeks. Your dose will be adjusted according to your TSH levels which will also be recorded on a regular basis.