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What causes thyroid disease: A Comprehensive Report

What causes thyroid disease? The gland influences almost all of the metabolic processes in the human body, it secretes hormones that control everything from body temperature to metabolism.

This disorders can range from a minor, harmless goiter (enlarged  gland) that requires no treatment to a potentially fatal cancer. The most common problems involve abnormal hormone production.

The gland creates and produces hormones that are involved in a variety of systems throughout human body. This disease occurs when it produces either too much or too little of some important hormones. This disease is classified into several types, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

What causes thyroid disease

What Is Thyroid?

It is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck. The thyroid gland is about 2 inches long and is positioned in front of the throat, just below a prominence of This cartilage known as the Adam’s apple.

It is divided into two parts called  lobes that lie on either side of the trachea (windpipe). These lobes are intimately connected by a small band of tissue known as an isthmus. Rarely, some people lack an isthmus and instead they have two distinct lobes.

How The Gland Works?

It is a part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that produce, store, and release hormones directly into the bloodstream so that the hormones can reach the cells of the body.

This gland uses iodine from dietary food to produce two major hormones:

  • Triiodothyronine (T3)
  • Thyroxine (T4)

It is extremely crucial that T3 and T4 levels are neither too high nor too low. These hormones are regulated by two glands namely, hypothalamus and pituitary which are located in the brain.

The hypothalamus and pituitary glands communicate to keep T3 and T4 levels balanced. Production of T3 and T4 is managed by a hormone called Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which is released by pituitary gland.

The Hypothalamus produces TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH) that signals the pituitary gland to inform this gland to produce more or less T3 and T4 by raising or lowering the release of TSH.

  • When T3 and T4 levels are low in the blood, the pituitary gland secretes more TSH to inform this gland to produce more hormones.
  • When T3 and T4 levels are high, the pituitary gland secretes less TSH to this gland to slow production of these hormones.
T3, T4 levelsTSH levels
When lowMore TSH is released by pituitary
When highLess TSH is released by pituitary

What Is The Need Of Gland?

T3 and T4 travel through the bloodstream to almost every cell of the human body. Hormones control the rate at which the metabolism of each cell work.

It is an endocrine gland which releases hormones that regulate metabolism (process by which body produce and consume energy). This hormones regulate vital body functions such as:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Body weight
  • Muscle strength
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels

T3 and T4 hormones, for example, control the heart rate and the rate at which the intestines metabolize food. As a result:

  • If T3 and T4 levels are low, the heart rate may be slower than usual, and one may experience constipation or weight gain problems.
  • If T3 and T4 levels are high, one may experience a rapid heart rate as well as diarrhea or weight loss.

What Are The Various Diseases And Disorders Of Thyroid?

It is associated with a wide range of diseases and disorders. They can appear at any age and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as injury, disease, or a dietary deficiency. However, in most cases, they can be attributed to the following issues:

  • Increase in hormone (hyperthyroidism)
  • Decrease level of hormone (hypothyroidism)
  • Abnormal growth
  • Nodules or lumps within the this
  • Thyroid cancer
Everything You Need To Know About Thyroid: A Complete Overview

What Causes Thyroid Problems?

Due To Overproduction Of Hormones

All types of hyperthyroidism are caused by excessive production of hormones, but the condition can manifest itself in a variety of ways:

Grave’s diseaseExcessive hormone production.
Toxic adenomasNodules form in the gland and begin to secrete hormones, disrupting the body’s chemical balance; some goiters may contain multiple nodules.
Subacute thyroiditisIts inflammation causes the gland to “leak” excess hormones, resulting in temporary hyperthyroidism that usually lasts a few weeks but it may last for months.
Pituitary gland dysfunction or cancerous growthsAlthough rare, hyperthyroidism can also develop from these causes.
Exposure to high levels amounts of iodideCold and sinus medicines, the heart medicine amiodarone, or certain contrast dyes given before some X-rays may expose people to too much iodine.

Due To Underproduction Of Thyroid Hormones

Hypothyroidism is caused by a decrease in hormone production. Because the body’s energy production requires specific amounts of hormones, a decrease in hormone production results in decreased energy levels. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Hashimoto’s thyroiditisHashimoto’s thyroiditis is a painless autoimmune condition in which the body’s cells attack and damage this. This is an inherited disorder.
Removal of the glandThis may have been surgically removed or chemically destructed.
Iodine deficiencyThe uses iodine to produce hormones. Iodine deficiency is a problem that affects millions of people worldwide.
LithiumThis medication has also been linked to hypothyroidism.
Postpartum thyroiditisThis condition affects 5% to 9% of women after childbirth. It is usually a transient condition.
Non-functioning glandSometimes gland doesn’t work properly from birth.

Hypothyroidism In Neonatal And Infants

Neonatal and infants are especially vulnerable to hypothyroidism. A lack of hormones in the system at a young age can cause cretinism (intellectual disability) and dwarfism (stunted growth).

Its levels are now routinely checked on most infants shortly after birth. If they are hypothyroid, treatment will begin immediately. Hypothyroidism in infants, as in adults, can be caused by the following factors:

  • A pituitary disorder
  • A defective thyroid
  • Lack of the gland entirely

A hypothyroid infant is unusually quiet and inactive, has a poor appetite, and sleeps for unusually long periods of time.

Who Is Affected By This Disease?

This disease can affect anyone, including men, women, infants, adolescents, and the elderly. It can be present at birth (typically hypothyroidism) or develop as one get older (often after menopause in women).

This disease is extremely common, with an estimated 20 million Americans suffering from some form of disorder. A woman is five to eight times more likely than a man to be diagnosed with this condition.

Individuals may be at a higher risk of developing this disease if they:

  • Have a family history of this disease.
  • Have a medical condition (example, pernicious anemia, type 1 diabetes, primary adrenal insufficiency, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, or Turner syndrome).
  • Take an iodine-containing medication (amiodarone).
  • Are over the age of 60, particularly in women.
  • Have had therapies for a past this condition or cancer (thyroidectomy or radiation).

What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of This Disease?

There is a wide range of symptoms individuals could encounter if they have this disease. Unfortunately, the symptoms of this condition are frequently confused with those of other medical issues and stages of life. This can make it difficult to determine whether the symptoms are due to problem or something else entirely.

This disease symptoms can be classified into two main categories:

  • Hyperthyroidism, caused by having too much hormone.
  • Hypothyroidism, caused by having too little hormone.
Symptoms Of An Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism)Symptoms Of An Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
Anxiety, irritability and nervousnessExperiencing forgetfulness
Trouble sleepingInsomnia
Weight lossUnexplained weight gain
Brittle hairThinning of hair and hair loss
An enlarged gland or a goiterDry and coarse skin
Increased appetiteLoss of appetite
Muscle weakness and tremorsTiredness or feeling of fatigue
Irregular menstrual periods or amenorrheaFrequent and heavy menstrual periods
Vision problems or eye irritationChanges in voice (hoarse voice)
Intolerance to heatIntolerance to cold temperatures
Rapid or irregular heartbeatSlow heartbeat
Increased perspirationPuffy face
Low serum cholesterolSerum cholesterol increased

How Is This Disease Diagnosed?

This disease can be difficult to diagnose at times because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. When pregnant or ageing, one may experience symptoms similar to those associated with This disease.

Fortunately, there are tests that can help determine whether the symptoms are the result of problem. These tests include:

  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests
  • Physical exams

Blood Tests

Blood tests are one of the most accurate ways to diagnose with problem. Its blood tests measure the amount of this hormones in the blood to determine if  gland is functioning properly.

Blood is drawn from a vein in the arm for these tests. Its blood tests are used to determine whether people have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Its blood tests are used to diagnose disorders caused by hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. These include:

  • Thyroiditis
  • Graves’ disease
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Goiter
  • Thyroid nodule
  • Thyroid cancer

The Following Blood Tests May Be Performed To Assess One’s Thyroid:

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is produced in the pituitary gland and regulates the balance of hormones in the bloodstream, including T4 and T3. This is usually the first test one’s doctor will advise to determine if there is any  hormone imbalance in the body.

This hormone deficiency (hypothyroidism) is usually associated with an elevated TSH level, whereas this hormone excess (hyperthyroidism) is usually associated with a low TSH level. If TSH is abnormal, hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) may be measured directly to further evaluate the problem.

Normal TSH range for an adult: 0.40 – 4.50 mIU/mL (milli-international units per liter of blood).

Thyroxine (T4)

Thyroxine tests for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are used to monitor treatment of this disorders. Hypothyroidism is associated with reduced T4 levels, whereas hyperthyroidism is associated with high T4 levels.

T4 levels in adults should be between 5.0 and 11.0 ug/dL (Micrograms per deciliter of blood).

Free T4 (FT4)

Free T4, also known as free thyroxine, is a method for determining T4 that eliminates the effect of proteins that naturally bind T4 and may interfere with accurate measurement.

Normal FT4 range for an adult: 0.9 – 1.7 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter of blood)

Triiodothyronine (T3)

Triiodothyronine tests aid in the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and in determining the severity of it. T3 levels can be low in hypothyroidism, but this test is more commonly used in the diagnosis and management of this, where T3 levels are elevated.

Normal T3 range: 100 – 200 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter of blood).

Free T3 (FT3)

Free T3 or free triiodothyronine is a method for determining T3 that eliminates the effect of proteins that naturally bind T3 and may prevent accurate measurement.

Normal FT3 range: 2.3 – 4.1 pg/mL (picograms per milliliters of blood).

These tests are not intended to diagnose any illness, but they may prompt one’s healthcare provider to perform additional testing to rule out disorder.

Everything You Need To Know About Thyroid: A Complete Overview

Additional Blood Tests May Be Performed, Such As:

Thyroid Antibodies

These tests aid in the identification of various types of autoimmune conditions. Common antibody tests include:

Microsomal antibodies (also known as thyroid peroxidase antibodies or TPO antibodies)

Thyroglobulin antibodies (also known as TG antibodies)

Its Receptor antibodies (includes thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins [TSI] and thyroid blocking immunoglobulins [TBI])


This test is used to diagnose rare disorders such as C-cell hyperplasia and medullary cancer.


This test is used to diagnose ( inflammation) and to track cancer treatment.

Imaging Tests

To diagnose and determine the cause of disease, the doctor may recommend one or more imaging tests. These tests are typically performed by a trained technician in the doctor’s office, outpatient center, or hospital.

A radiologist, a doctor who specializes in medical imaging, reviews the images and sends a report to discuss with the health care professional. Imaging tests includes:

  • Ultrasound
  • Scan
  • Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test


Ultrasound is most commonly used to detect or examine nodules. These nodules are lumps found in the neck. A doctor can use ultrasound to determine whether the nodules are cancerous.

  • Typically, there is little or no preparation prior to the ultrasound.
  • Individuals do not need to change their diet or fast beforehand.
  • During the examination, people will have to lie flat on a padded examining table with their head on a pillow, tilted back.
  • A warm, water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the examined area. This gel will not irritate skin or stain one’s clothing.
  • The probe will then be gently moved around one’s neck by the healthcare provider to see all parts of this.
  • The transducer creates images of this by bouncing sound waves off one’s neck in a safe and painless manner.
  • The ultrasound usually lasts 30 minutes.

Thyroid scan

It is a scan used by health care professionals to examine the size, shape, and position of the gland. This test employs a small amount of radioactive iodine to aid in the diagnosis of this and the detection of nodules.

For a week before the test, the doctor may advise one to avoid foods high in iodine, such as kelp, or medicines containing iodine.

  • A technician injects a small amount of radioactive iodine or a similar substance into one’s vein for the scan. Individuals can also take the substance as a liquid or capsule.
  • The scan actually begins 30 minutes after an injection, or up to 24 hours after individuals swallow the substance, so that  has enough time to absorb it.
  • During the scan, individuals will have to lie on an exam table while a special camera takes pictures of gland. The scan generally takes 30 minutes or less.
  • This nodules that produce an excessive amount of hormone are clearly visible in the images. The presence of radioactive iodine throughout this could indicate Graves’ disease.

Even though a scan requires only a small amount of radiation and is thought to be safe, one should avoid this test if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test

A radioactive iodine uptake test, also known as uptake test, can aid in the evaluation of function and the identification of the cause of this. Because the it “takes up” iodine from the blood to produce hormones, this test is known as an uptake test.

For a week before the test, the doctor may advise individuals to avoid foods high in iodine, such as kelp, or medicines containing iodine.

  • For this test, one will have to swallow a small amount of radioactive iodine in liquid or capsule form.
  • During the test, individuals will sit in a chair while a technician inserts a device called a gamma probe near the gland in front of the neck.
  • The probe measures the amount of radioactive iodine that it absorbs from your blood.
  • Measurements are usually taken 4 to 6 hours after swallowing the radioactive iodine, and then again at 24 hours.
  • The test is only a few minutes long.

If it accumulates a high level of radioactive iodine, individuals may have Graves’ disease, or one or more nodules that produce an excessive amount of hormone. This test may be performed concurrently with this scan.

Even though a scan requires only a small amount of radiation and is thought to be safe, one should avoid this test if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Physical Examination

A physical exam in the healthcare professional’s office is another quick way to check the gland. This is a simple and painless test in which the doctor feels one’s neck for any growths or enlargement.

What Tests Do Doctors Use If Someone Have A Thyroid Nodule?

If the doctor discovers a nodule or lump in one’s neck during a physical exam or on imaging tests, individuals may undergo a fine needle aspiration biopsy to determine whether the lump is cancerous or not.

  • For this test, one will have to lie on an operating table and needs to slightly bend the neck backward.
  • A technician will clean the neck with an antiseptic and may numb the area with some numbing medication.
  • An endocrinologist, who treats patients with endocrine gland problems such as disease, or a specially trained radiologist will insert a needle into the skin and use ultrasound to guide the needle to the nodule.
  • Small samples of nodule tissue will be sent to a lab for testing.
  • This procedure is usually completed in less than 30 minutes.
  • When the test results are available, the doctor will evaluate it, and then discuss about the report with the patient.

Management And Treatment

What Is The Treatment For Thyroid Disease?

The goal of a healthcare professional is to restore one’s hormone levels to normal. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, and the specific treatment will be determined by the underlying cause of the condition.

If people have high levels of hormones (hyperthyroidism), they may be able to receive the following treatment:

Anti-Thyroid Drugs

These are drugs that prevent this from producing hormones. Some commonly prescribed ones are methimazole and propylthiouracil.

Radioactive iodine

This treatment damages cells, preventing them from producing high levels of hormones.

Beta Blockers

These medications do not affect the amount of hormones in the body, but they do help people to manage their symptoms.


The medical professional may surgically remove one’s this as a more permanent form of treatment (thyroidectomy). This will prevent it from producing hormones. Individuals will, however, require replacement hormones for the rest of their life.

If anyone have low hormone levels (hypothyroidism), the main treatment option is:

Thyroid Replacement Medication

This medicine is a synthetic (man-made) method of reintroducing hormones into the body. Levothyroxine is a commonly used medication. Individuals can control disease and live a normal life by taking medication.

Everything You Need To Know About Thyroid: A Complete Overview

Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery?

If the healthcare professional determines that this gland should be removed, there are two options. The gland may need to be removed entirely or partially. The severity of gland’s condition will determine this.

Furthermore, if it is very large (enlarged) or has a lot of growths on it, one may be ineligible for certain types of surgery.

A thyroidectomy is the surgical procedure used to remove gland. This surgery can be performed in two ways:

  • With an incision on the front of the neck.
  • With an incision in the armpit.

Incision On The Front Of The Neck

The incision on the front of the neck is more like a traditional thyroidectomy. It enables the surgeon to perform a direct thyroidectomy. In many cases, this is the best option. This approach may be required if it is particularly large or has a large number of larger nodules.

Incision In The Armpit

Alternatively, the surgeon can perform removal surgery through an incision in the armpit and then create a tunnel to one’s thyroid.

This tunnel was created using a highly specialized tool known as an elevated retractor. It makes an opening that connects the incision in one’s armpit to the incision in the neck.

To reach , the surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel. Once there, it can be removed through the tunnel and out of the incision in the armpit.

Because the incision is hidden beneath one’s armpit and out of sight, this procedure is often referred to as scar less. However, the surgeon’s job is made more difficult, and the tunnel is more invasive.

One may not be a candidate for this type of thyroid removal if he/she:

  • Is not having a healthy body weight.
  • Have large nodules.
  • Have a condition like thyroiditis or Graves’s disease.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery (Thyroidectomy)?

It will take a few weeks for the body to recover after having thyroid surgically removed (thyroidectomy). Individuals should avoid a few things during this time, including:

  • Submerging the incision under water.
  • Lifting an object weighing more than 15 pounds.
  • Doing more than light exercise.

This usually lasts about two weeks. After that, people can return to their normal activities.

Nutrients Required For Thyroid Health


Iodine is one of the most important nutrients for a healthy thyroid. However, it should be used with caution because too much of it can cause problems and lead to hypothyroidism. As a result, it’s best to consult a doctor before taking iodine supplements.


Tyrosine is another essential nutrient for formation. Although our bodies can produce tyrosine from amino acids, dietary tyrosine is also important and can be found in peanuts, almonds, bananas, line beans, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.

Zinc and Copper

Zinc and Copper are two such minerals required for T4 to T3 conversion. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, spinach, cacao, beans, mushrooms, spirulina, cashews, and avocado are all plant sources.

Other important nutrients for hormone function include vitamin B, healthy fats, a sufficient amount of amino acids, and a variety of fruits and vegetables that provide high-quality natural vitamins and minerals.

Read Also: Insomnia A Sleep Disorder: How to Fight with it?

Nutrients That Are Harmful for Thyroid

Foods containing goitrogens should be avoided because these compounds tend to inhibit iodine absorption, which can be problematic if people are deficient in iodine. Food containing goitrogens include:

  • Soy foods: tofu, edamame, tempeh
  • Vegetables like: cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc.
  • Fruits and starchy plants: sweet potatoes, peaches, strawberries, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: millet, pine nuts, peanuts, etc.


This glands are the most important part of human endocrine system; this gland is in charge of everything from one’s mood to weight, body temperature, metabolism, and digestion.

This gland functions as a modulator and is sensitive to the causes and consequences of actions. As a result, they can quickly become unbalanced.

As people get older, the body goes through natural changes. If people notice a significant difference in how they feel or how their body responds, consult a doctor to see if they have any  problem. Investigate the physiological effects of hypothyroidism.

If anyone is having a low hormone level, a simple treatment could significantly improve quality of life.

This dysfunction is a common problem that can be easily diagnosed and treated. Although, it requires lifelong treatment, one can live a normal life.

In most cases, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism cannot be avoided. Iodine deficiency is a common cause of hypothyroidism in developing countries. However, this can be over-come by consuming iodized salt.

Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease that is incurable, is a common cause of hyperthyroidism. Taking too much hormone can cause an overactive disease. In rare cases, eating too many iodine-containing foods, such as table salt, fish, and seaweed, can cause disease to become overactive.

Though people cannot prevent disease, they can avoid its complications by seeking treatment as soon as possible and adhering to the doctor’s recommendations.

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