Thyroid problems

The thyroid gland is a small, but very important organ. The thyroid regulates our metabolism, which is the body's ability to break down food and convert it into energy. It does this by producing hormones. Sometimes the thyroid can become underactive or overactive. This can cause physical problems.

What are the symptoms?
An underactive thyroid gland can produce the following symptoms:
- Fatigue;
- Being sensitive to cold;
- Weight gain despite eating well;
- Slow pulse;
- Swollen thyroid gland (goitre);
- Constipation.

An underactive thyroid gland is also referred to as 'hypothyroidism'. Hashimoto's disease is a common cause of hypothyroidism.

An overactive thyroid gland can produce the following symptoms:
- Palpitations;
- Weight loss despite eating well;
- Excessive sweating;
- Hyperactivity;
- Trembling or shaking (tremor);
- Swollen thyroid gland (goitre);
- Diarrhoea.

An overactive thyroid gland is also known as 'hyperthyroidism'. There are various causes. The most common cause of an overactive thyroid gland is Graves' disease.

Treating thyroid problems
Thyroid problems are treated with medication. Thyrax, Euthyrox and Levothyroxine are commonly prescribed medicines for an underactive thyroid. These medicines contain a synthetic thyroid hormone that replaces the hormone that is normally produced by your thyroid gland.

Thiamazole is typically used to manage overactivity of the thyroid gland, often in combination with some form of thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

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