The Thyroid Gland: Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, and Autoimmune Thyroiditis

The thyroid gland is located at the front of the neck and produces thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine or thyroxine (T4). These thyroid hormones provide the basic metabolism of the body and affect the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs.

The release of thyroid hormones is regulated by the pituitary gland located in the brain. Thyroid hormone (TSH) is released in the pituitary gland and determines the production of T3 and T4 in the thyroid gland. If there are too many thyroid hormones, TTH decreases, whereas if there are too few thyroid hormones, TTH increases to stimulate the release of more thyroid hormones.

Thyroid disease may involve:

– An increase in thyroid activity, called hyperthyroidism;

– Decreased activity of the thyroid gland, called hypothyroidism.

It is not uncommon for nodules to form in the thyroid gland, in which case there may be both normal and impaired thyroid function.

In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland secretes too much thyroid hormone, which speeds up the body’s metabolism.

Hyperthyroidism can be of varying degrees of severity.

Complaint’s characteristic of patients with hyperthyroidism:

– tachycardia, arrhythmia;

– increased sweating, poor heat tolerance;

– Body tremor, more often hand tremor;

– sleep disturbances;

– enlargement of the thyroid gland;

– weakness;

– thin hair, hair loss.

The most common causes of hyperthyroidism are Graves’ disease or, less commonly, one or more thyroid nodules secreting elevated levels of thyroid hormones.


In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland secretes too little thyroid hormone, which slows down the body’s metabolism. It should be noted that the complaints characteristic of patients with hypothyroidism may vary in severity and may not always be the same for everyone.

Complaint’s characteristic of patients with hypothyroidism:

– Fatigue, drowsiness;

– dry skin;

– slow heart rate;

– edema;

– high blood cholesterol levels;

– muscle weakness;

– irregular menstrual cycle;

– memory impairment.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is most common in middle-aged women, 50-60 years old, but can occur at any age and can occur in men, children, and adolescents.

Hypothyroidism in children and adolescents has the same symptoms as in adults, but may be marked by:

– slower growth;

– Delayed puberty;

– delayed mental development.

Sometimes the thyroid gland secretes more thyroid hormones, then hyperthyroidism develops. A special examination – scintigraphy – is intended to examine such nodes. Thyroid scintigraphy provides a color image to show the activity of the nodules. Nodes that increase the release of glandular hormones are figuratively called “hot” nodes. Large nodules in the thyroid can cause tightness in the throat and difficulty swallowing or breathing. Then see your doctor immediately.


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