thyroid disorders

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism, also known as an overactive thyroid gland, is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland excretes an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. This overproduction creates more hormones than the body needs and causes many important bodily functions to speed up. The thyroid is the gland in the front of the neck that controls energy use, metabolism, heart and nervous system functions and other metabolic functions. An overproduction of thyroid hormones can lead to weight loss, irregular heartbeat and irritability. Hyperthyroidism is more common in people over the age of 60 and women are more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism.


Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a common condition that occurs when an underactive thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to properly manage many important functions of the body. The thyroid is the gland in the front of the neck that controls energy use and metabolic functions. If the thyroid gland is not active enough, it does not make enough thyroid hormone to meet the body's needs and causes certain functions of the body to slow down. As a result, functions such as heart rate, brain function and the rate that the body converts food into energy, all slow down. Women over the age of age of 60 are at the highest risk for developing hypothyroidism. If left untreated, this condition may cause a variety of health complications including obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.


Hashimoto's Disease

Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, which plays an important role in managing many of the functions of the body. Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. If the thyroid gland is not active enough, it does not make enough thyroid hormone to meet the body's needs and causes certain functions of the body to slow down. As a result of Hashimoto's disease, functions such as heart rate, brain function and the rate that the body converts food into energy, all slow down. Women are more likely to develop Hashimoto's disease than men. If left untreated, this condition may cause a variety of health complications.


Graves' Disease

Graves' disease is a disorder of the immune system resulting in the overproduction of hormones by the thyroid gland, or hyperthyroidism. Like most other immune system irregularities, its cause is unknown, though research to date has shown that heredity, age, gender and stress level are risk factors for the condition. Graves' disease is the most frequent cause of hyperthyroidism and is most common in women between 20 and 40 years of age. Graves' disease is usually treatable and may even resolve on its own in a few months. Left untreated, however, a severe case can become life-threatening.


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