Below you will find an overview and brief explanation of the most important thyroid diseases.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ at the front of the neck and produces the vital thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which mainly regulate the body's energy metabolism.

Classification of thyroid diseases

Below you will find the most common thyroid diseases divided into:

  1. Thyroid dysfunction
  2. Structural thyroid disease

Thyroid dysfunction

Hyperthyroidism

If you have an overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism) the thyroid gland produces too many thyroid hormones. One of the most common causes is autonomy, which means that certain parts of the thyroid gland are simply overly active. The far more common cause of hyperfunction is the autoimmune disease Graves' disease. Typical symptoms of being overactive are tremors, sweating, high blood pressure, weight loss, and irritability. Therapy is either surgery of the thyroid gland or drugs that stimulate the metabolism of the thyroid gland.

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You can find detailed information at: Hyperthyroidism

Graves disease

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease that produces antibodies that activate the thyroid gland. This leads to an overactive thyroid. In addition to the classic symptoms of hyperfunction, Graves' disease protrudes in the eyes and swelling of the shins. The diagnosis is made through the detection of specific antibodies in the blood. For therapy, drugs are used that inhibit the production of thyroid hormones. If this does not improve, there are also surgical therapy options.

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Hypothyroidism

If you have an underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism) the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The most common cause is destruction of thyroid tissue due to inflammation of the thyroid gland. Typical symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, and dry skin. The therapy consists of taking thyroid hormones in the form of L-thyroxine tablets.

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Inflammation of the thyroid gland

There are different types of thyroid inflammation. Acute inflammation can be caused by bacteria or viruses. This form can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. The second form is de Quervain's thyroiditis, which usually occurs after a viral infection of the respiratory tract and is also inflammatory. This form usually heals spontaneously and therefore only requires symptomatic therapy. The most common form of thyroiditis is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland. All forms are symptomatic of an underactive thyroid.

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Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid that ultimately leads to an underactive thyroid. The typical symptoms at the beginning of the disease can be similar to those of an overactive thyroid (sweating, nervousness, weight loss), but as the disease progresses, symptoms of underactive (tiredness, weight gain, dry skin) appear. As with hypothyroidism, L-thyroxine is also used as a tablet for treatment.

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Structural thyroid disease

Goiter

An enlargement of the thyroid gland is also known as a goiter or goiter. One of the main causes here is an iodine deficiency, especially in iodine-deficient areas like the Alps. This enlargement of the thyroid often goes undetected. Only in the later stage can swallowing disorders, a feeling of tightness or lump in the throat or hoarseness occur, for example. Iodine in the form of tablets and usually a combination with L-thyroxine is used for therapy.

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You can find detailed information on the subject at: Thyroid enlargement

Hot knot

A hot lump in the thyroid gland is a lump that produces thyroid hormones on its own. This can lead to an overactive thyroid, which can also cause symptoms. A hot lump is not suspected of being cancerous. Most hot lumps are surgically removed. If this is not possible, they can be treated with radio-iodine radiation therapy.

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Cold knot

A cold lump in the thyroid gland produces little or no thyroid hormones. In contrast to the hot knot, there is a suspicion of malignancy and therefore further clarification should be carried out. This is usually done through a fine needle biopsy. Cold lumps are mostly incidental findings and usually remain completely symptom-free beforehand. Cold lumps are usually removed surgically, but may also be treated with medication.

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Thyroid cancer

The most common form of thyroid cancer is papillary thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer causes few symptoms in the early stages. Later, there may be swallowing disorders or hoarseness due to masses. In the examination, the thyroid gland is hardened and can hardly be moved. Therapeutically, the thyroid gland is usually completely removed, followed by replacement of the thyroid hormones with L-thyroxine.

You can find detailed information at: Thyroid cancer


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