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  • Writer's pictureMarina Kitrell

What is Thyroid and Thyroid Diseases?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of your neck. It lies below your Adam's apple along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two side lobes (isthmus) connected by a bridge in the middle. (Hoffman, MD, 2014)

Thyroid has a benefit to our body. It secretes several hormones. The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4. It acts throughout your body, influencing your metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature.

However, some people are experiencing different kinds of thyroid conditions. Those conditions are:

  • Goiter- the general term for thyroid swelling

  • Thyroiditis - inflammation of the thyroid

  • Hyperthyroidism - excessive thyroid hormone production

  • Hypothyroidism - low production of thyroid hormone

  • Graves disease - an autoimmune condition which thyroid is overstimulated

  • Thyroid cancer - uncommon cancer yet curable

  • Thyroid nodule - a small abnormal mass or lump in the thyroid gland

  • Thyroid storm – a type of hyperthyroidism in which extremely high thyroid hormones levels that caused different illnesses.

For you to know if you are having thyroid problems, here are the signs and symptoms that may include depending on thyroid conditions:

1. Goiter - swelling at the base of your neck that may be particularly obvious when you shave or put on makeup, tight feeling in your throat, coughing, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, the difficulty of breathing.

2. Hypothyroidism - fatigue, increase sensitivity to cold, dry skin, weight gain, puffy face, hoarseness, muscle weakness, elevated blood cholesterol level, muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints, heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods, thinning hair, slowed heart rate, depression, impaired memory, enlarged thyroid gland (goiter).

2. Hyperthyroidism - restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tremors, weight loss despite an increased appetite, sweating, rapid heart rate, intolerance to heat, and frequent bowel movements.

4. Thyroid nodules - pain at the site of the nodule that can travel to the ear or jaw, difficulty of swallowing or shortness of breath by compressing the esophagus (tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) or trachea (windpipe), hoarseness or difficulty speaking because of compression of the larynx (voice box).

5. Thyroid Cancer - a lump or nodule in the lower front of the neck where the thyroid is located, most often painless and found incidentally by chance, an enlarged lymph node may be palpated by itself in the more lateral neck or in addition to a thyroid nodule, difficulty swallowing food (dysphagia) if the tumor compresses the esophagus, hoarseness may develop due to vocal cord paralysis. Most patients have normal thyroid function at the time the nodule is discovered and have no symptoms related to hyper or hypothyroidism. If the tumor grows large enough, it can affect nearby structures.

If you are feeling these kinds of symptoms, you need to watch out for your diet already to avoid eating food that may trigger your thyroid conditions. However, it is best to call and consult with your doctor and avoid doing home remedies to treat it immediately and to avoid making it worse.


Mayo Clinic, Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD Hyperthyroidism

Robert Ferry Jr., MD, FAAP, Thyroid Nodule Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Pictures

Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Thyroid Cancer

Mayo Clinic, Goiter

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