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Thyroid Disorders

Human Biology (Year 12) - Technology in Treating Diseases

Ben Whitten

What are the main thyroid disorders?

Both the over secretion or under secretion of thyroid hormones can cause disruptions to homeostasis. The predominant hormone secreted by the thyroid gland include thyroxine (T3) and triiodothyronine (T4), which both contain iodine and control the cells metabolic rate.

The two main disorders you need to have an awareness of include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

What is hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyrodism is a disorder which is caused by overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in too much thyroxine being produced.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Increased heartrate

  • Weight loss

  • Increased appetite

  • Fatigue

  • Sweating

  • Anxiety

  • Protruding eyeballs (Graves disease)

The treatment options for hyperthyroidism include:

  • Drugs which block the thyroid gland

  • Surgery to remove either part of or the entire thyroid gland

  • Drinking radioactive iodine which targets thyroid cells (kills thyroid cells)

What is hypothyroidism?

The cause of hypothyroidism lies within the underproduction of thyroxine by the thyroid gland.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism includes:

  • Slow heartrate

  • Unexplained weight gain

  • Fatigue or lack of energy

  • Intolerance to cold

  • Swelling of the face

  • Goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland resulting in a swollen neck)

The treatment options for hypothyroidism includes:

  • Extra iodine in the diet

  • Tablets containing thyroid hormones (synthetic levothyroxine (T4))

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