What is a thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland positioned at the base of the throat. The thyroid is located below the Adam's apple in front of the windpipe. Your thyroid secretes many hormones that affect:
- Body temperature
- Growth and development
What happens if the thyroid isn't working correctly?
When the thyroid is struggling to perform its functions, issues arise, such as:
- Goiter - A harmless swelling of the thyroid usually caused by an iodine deficiency or thyroid inflammation termed Hashimoto's thyroiditis
- Thyroiditis - Swelling of the thyroid due to a viral infection or immune issue
- Hyperthyroidism - Too much hormone secreted by the thyroid can be caused by Graves disease or an overactive thyroid nodule
- Hypothyroidism - The thyroid isn't producing enough hormone typically caused by thyroid injury due to an autoimmune condition
- Graves disease - An autoimmune disease that overstimulates the thyroid
- Thyroid cancer - A rare cancer and is typically curable with radiation, hormone treatments or surgery
- Thyroid nodule - A tiny abnormal mass within the thyroid gland that is very common and usually non-cancerous
- Thyroid storm - A very rare type of hyperthyroidism where outrageously high thyroid hormone levels cause extreme illness
What types of treatments for thyroid issues are there?
Treatment for a thyroid problem include:
- Antithyroid medications - Slow down the overproduction of hormone
- Thyroid surgery - Removes all or a piece of the thyroid
- Radioactive iodine - Can destroy an overactive gland
- External radiation - Kills thyroid cancer cells
- Thyroid hormone pills - Daily regimen to replace the hormone not being made
- Recombinant human TSH - Injection of a thyroid-stimulating agent
What is a parathyroid gland?
The parathyroid glands are tiny glands in the neck behind the thyroid and within the endocrine system.
Why is the parathyroid important?
Parathyroid glands monitor the calcium in our bodies, namely within our bones and blood. Calcium is the most vital component of our bodies and is utilized to regulate many systems and must be monitored closely. Everyone has 4 parathyroid glands that are typically the size of a pea. If the parathyroid glands grow larger than a pea, this could indicate a problem.
What if there's an issue with my parathyroid gland?
If a person develops a parathyroid disease, they'll need a procedure to extract the gland with the tumor or other abnormality. Another serious parathyroid gland issue is overactivity of the parathyroid gland, causing a calcium imbalance.