Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid is a gland that plays a major role in our body. Nervousness, mood, weight, sleep, heart rate, digestion, it regulates many functions. But when the machine stalls, it can have harmful consequences. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, nodule, cancer: the thyroid pathologies are multiple and affect between 5 and 10% of the population and rather women. Ensuring that people suffering from these diseases are better informed is the objective set by the teams of the endocrinology departments of Prof. Brue and endocrine surgery of Prof. Sebag of the La Conception hospital in Marseille.
On the occasion of National Thyroid Day Thursday, they will organize an information sequence for the public. Which symptoms for which pathologies? When should we consult? What are the new treatments? Should we always have surgery? What are the risks during pregnancy? Before this day, here are the first answers.
It is a hyperfunction of the gland. It causes great irritability, a high heart rate, a feeling of heat and weight loss. The most common hyperthyroidism is Basdow’s disease, the origin of which is autoimmune.
The most common symptoms are severe fatigue, feeling cold, mood swings. These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by weight gain.
Goiter, nodule, cancer
Goiter is an increase in the size of the thyroid that causes swelling of the neck. The presence of nodules on the thyroid is very common. They are mostly benign. Only 5% of the nodules are cancerous with an excellent long-term prognosis. In all cases, they justify regular long-term monitoring.
Treatments for nodules
The operation is not systematically offered. One treatment may be sufficient. On the other hand, if the nodules are numerous, grow larger, surgery may be considered with the help of thyroid surgical instrument set. Ditto when the goiter becomes too large because it can cause unwanted effects. After surgery, it takes about two weeks of convalescence. “We are feeling the symptoms of the flu,” underline doctors Albarel, Guérin and Paladino. And you live quite normally as long as you take thyroid hormone replacement therapy for life.
Treatment with radioactive iodine is used in addition to surgery to remove any thyroid cells, normal or tumor that may remain in the neck. In hyperthyroidism, it helps destroy excess thyroid cells. Radioactive iodine is administered in the form of a capsule. After taking it, the body eliminates excess radioactivity. This will require isolation for a few days in the room.
Thyroid and pregnancy
Pregnancy is a delicate stage for the thyroid. Sometimes she gets carried away. Especially at the beginning of pregnancy it is often gestational hyperthyroidism that is recognized by frequent nausea. It is transient and requires only symptomatic treatment. Basdow’s disease also appears during pregnancy and requires specific treatment.
Hypothyroidism may appear during pregnancy or may already exist. Some women are at risk and they will in fact be screened before pregnancy. Hypothyroidism can have a deleterious effect on the course of pregnancy, but also on the fetus and the unborn child (especially cognitively). The message is clear, in the event of thyroid disorders, it is better to plan your pregnancy.
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