Frequently asked questions

Thyroid in general

What is the thyroid and what is its function?

The thyroid gland, or simply the thyroid (lat. thyroidea), is an endocrine gland and one of the most vascularized organs in the human body. It is found at the front of the neck and comprises trachea as a horseshoe. It has a form of butterfly consisting of right and left lobe connected by an isthmus which passes in front of the trachea and below the larynx.

What do the thyroid hormones “do”?

The thyroid secretes two hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) created from iodine (I). The thyroid hormones regulate basal metabolic rate in our organism in a way that lack of hormones slows down the basal metabolism for about 40%, i.e. excess of hormones speeds up the basal metabolism for about 60% to 100% above the regular values. Thyroid hormones cause an increased protein synthesis and degradation, improve fats and carbohydrates metabolism, stimulate growth of young people and improve mental processes. Thus, hormones (T3 and T4) affect the growth and development of organism, moving, sleeping, respiratory and vascular system, brain, digestion and functioning of other glands (e.g. sex glands).

Two basic thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. What kind of disorders are they?

Hyperthyroidism is excessive production and excretion of thyroid hormones. Accelerated thyroid function causes excess of hormones and brings to metabolism acceleration in cells, tissues and entire organism. The main indicator is increased concentration of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 and decreased concentration of TSH as well as accelerated metabolism symptoms. Hypothyroidism is decreased thyroid function. The main indicator is decreased concentration of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 and increased concentration of TSH. A decreased thyroid function causes a lack of hormones and brings to metabolism deceleration in cells, tissues and entire organism.

What are the causes of hyperthyroidism?

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in 70-80% cases is Basedow-Graves’ disease. It is an autoimmune disorder affecting younger women and characterized by diffuse increased thyroid, exophthalmos (bulging eyeballs) and hyperthyroidism symptoms. The disease is characterized by a presence of antibodies (anti-TPO, anti-Tg) affecting their own thyroid cells to stimulate an increased production and excretion of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Other often causes of hyperthyroidism are: multinodular toxic goiter, toxic adenoma and thyroiditis. The main characteristic of multinodular toxic goiter are numerous nodes in thyroid which secrete thyroid hormones without TSH control. Toxic adenoma is a benign tumor (“hot node” on scintigraphy) which also secretes thyroid hormones without TSH control. As regarding thyroiditis, such as subacute thyroid inflammation and chronic lymphocyte thyroiditis Hashimoto, a transient hyperthyroidism may occur at the beginning of disease due to release of thyroid hormones from inflamed tissue.

What are the causes of hypothyroidism?

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto thyroiditis (chronic lymphocyte thyroiditis or lymphomatosa goiter). It is an autoimmune disorder where due to disturbed immunological system there is a chronic (long-term) destruction of thyroid tissue along with filling in with fibrosis tissue and lymphocytes. The disease is characterized by positive antibodies on thyroglobulin, anti-Tg (>34 J/ml) and thyroid peroxidase, anti-TPO (>12 J/ml). It is more often at women and frequency grows with age. At the beginning of disease, there may be a transient hyperthyroidism due to a sudden release of hormones from damaged tissue. Other causes of hypothyroidism are: other autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, other thyroiditis (Riedel’s goiter, subacute thyroiditis), pregnancy, lithium (manic-depressive diseases), age (10% of all women older than 50 have hypothyroidism) and after being treated with radioactive iodine or surgery.

Which disorder is more often, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism? Why?

Hypothyroidism is more often disorder as stress and accelerated lifestyle, disbalanced nutrition, radiation and heavy metals cause damaging of thyroid tissue and thus exhaustion, i.e. decrease of functional reserve of hormones. The radioactive iodine therapy and surgical removing of thyroid increase the hypothyroidism in population.

Could thyroid hormone tests be the only diagnostic parameter?

The thyroid hormones can be in reference intervals, while in clinical analysis the symptoms of slowed down or accelerated metabolism prevail. In all possible cases it is required to monitor the hormones trend in relation to old tests, according to which we may conclude whether it concerns the increase or decrease of hormones level. Guidelines for treatment are given based on the clinical assessment.

How dangerous can be the thyroid disorders?

Hyperthyroidism, if not recognized in time, can cause a slow heart rate due to excessive heart activity, osteoporosis, weight loss, exhaustion and tiredness, because of which it is necessary to start with the therapy immediately. Hypothyroidism is a silent killer, since the thyroid slows down gradually, thus decreasing the life energy and bringing us into the chronic inflammations.

How to prevent the potential thyroid problems?

It is recommened to live in accordance with natural daily cycle, which means to carry out all major psycho-physiological activities in the morning and early afternoon and to reduce all other activities gradually from later afternoon to sleeping phase. It is of great importance to sleep long enough, to eat in more intervals, to introduce proteins and complex carbohydrates in combination with vegetable, to stay in nature, meditate, recreate and walk.

What is the difference between synthetic and natural hormone substitutes?

Synthetic hormones contain only T4, while natural hormones contain both T4 and T3. Natural hormones are recommended for persons who do not react well to synthetic hormones, particularly in case of hypothyroidism, because in this way the lack of both thyroid hormones is substituted.

How often do I need to control the thyroid?

The thyroid activity depends on various external factors as well as on season. Therefore, it is recommended to control the hormones few times a year (depending on doctor’s instructions), so that therapy could always be appropriate. The thyroid ultrasound and antibodies control should be carried out once a year.

When can I take the blood for thyroid hormones?

You can take the blood in Leptir Polyclinic every working day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (you can eat before), without any previous announcement.

Other questions

How does the mole examination look like?

The mole is examined by dermatoscope, while polaroid light and magnifying glass enable detailed observation of even the smallest moles. A whole body is examined, particularly the area of groins, feet and toes, lower part of legs and back and other less available parts of body.

How can moles be removed?

If formation is above the skin level, it is removed by radiofrequency method using innovative surgical instrument called “surgical knife”. If formation is at the skin level, it is removed by surgery. The sample is sent for patohistological test, whereby it is determined whether it concerns the benign or malignant tumor. If it concerns the melanoma, it is necessary to determine how deep it is and if there are metastases on surrounding tissue. It is checked by examining the lymph node responsible for that part of body.