The thyroid diseases are a major cause of metabolic disorders, occurring mostly in adult women.
These diseases can affect the size of the gland, as occurs with goiter and the presence of nodules, or its functioning leading to disorders known as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Under normal conditions the thyroid gland is activated by stimulation of the pituitary gland, through Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which in turn is stimulated by the hypothalamus, producing the hormones Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). The latter, known as thyroid hormones, are released into the blood to stimulate the function of various organs and systems.
The regulation of these hormones is very tight and works by a feedback system.
Hyperthyroidism is the condition of the thyroid gland in which there is an increase in the production of thyroid hormones.
This condition is due to several causes:
· Increased stimulus produced by the pituitary gland.
· Increased production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland regardless of its stimulus.
· Administration of exogenous thyroid hormone, as a consequence of an inadequate dose of the same to treat hypothyroidism.
This leads to the appearance of a series of symptoms or manifestations due to an accelerated metabolism.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
The increase in metabolism can produce symptoms that are usually mild initially, leading to them being mistaken for a state of anxiety or nervousness.
As the disease progresses, the state of anxiety increases, adding restlessness, tachycardia, palpitations, sweating, weight loss, insomnia, irritability, tremor, muscle weakness and hair loss.
In more advanced stages it occurs in thickening of the skin that is located in the anterior part of the leg, this manifestation is known as myxedema.
Graves disease, a form of hyperthyroidism
In the mid-1800s, the Irish physician Robert Graves described the presence of an enlarged thyroid gland associated with symptoms of hyperthyroidism and prominence of the eyeballs in several of his patients. This condition was named Graves' Disease in his honor.
It is a form of hyperthyroidism in which antibodies are produced against the receptor where the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) normally binds. The binding of these antibodies to the receptor stimulates the function of the gland, leading it to produce greater amounts of thyroid hormone.
Immunological changes related to the production of these antibodies are associated with the presence of other mediators that induce the proliferation of cells and various types of proteins that make up connective tissue, which ultimately leads to thickening of the tissues that surround the cells. eyes and skin.
This mechanism causes two symptoms that characterize this disorder, these are: ocular prominence, known as exophthalmos, and thickening with swelling of the skin, called myxedema.
Graves' disease is the only cause of hyperthyroidism that is accompanied by prominence of the eyes.
What Causes Graves' Disease
This disorder is a disease of autoimmune origin. This means that the immune system recognizes a certain type of cell in the body as foreign, thus initiating the production of antibodies to attack it and eventually eliminate it.
In this process, the target structure of the attack is destroyed, affecting its operation. In this case, the attack of the receptor for the hormone TSH leads to a constant stimulation of the gland, which results in an increase in its functioning.
It is thought that the intake of large amounts of iodine may play a role in the development of this cause of hyperthyroidism. However, as with all other autoimmune diseases, the original cause of the disorder is some situation that has led to the development of a state of emotional stress that was poorly managed.
It is possible that people with this disease report a difficult emotional situation such as a divorce, relationship problem, financial difficulties, work problem or bereavement a few months before developing the disease.
It is a problem that can be treated
This disease can be successfully treated by reversing the symptoms. Its treatment is carried out with medications that have anti-thyroid action, although in some cases it may be necessary to resort to the use of radioactive iodine to slow down the gland.
All these interventions can lead to a state of hypothyroidism, especially radioactive iodine.
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