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What is it?
The gland is situated in the lower part of the neck, immediately in front of the windpipe and just below the Adam’s apple. It produces the thyroid hormones that control the rate of metabolism and therefore our mental and physical growth and development. The thyroid is in turn controlled by the pituitary gland at the base of the skull, which secretes thyroid-stimulating hormone. The main disorders of the gland are swelling, and under and overactivity, which can affect the body in disturbing ways. Swelling of the gland (goitre) may be caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. Swelling may also be due simply to overgrowth, or to a tumour. Underactivity of the thyroid gland in babies may lead to difficulty in feeding and sleeping, and they may suffer from constipation and delayed mental and physical development. If the gland becomes underactive later in life, the symptoms develop gradually. The patient becomes lethargic, sleeps more and puts on weight. The hair and skin become dry, and the hair may fall out. The eyes become puffy and the voice deepens. In some cases, thyroid underactivity may be caused by inflammation of the gland (thyroiditis). The symptoms are similar to those of a sore throat. Overactivity of the thyroid gland results in too much of the thyroid hormones in the blood. The body’s metabolism speeds up and, despite a good appetite, the sufferer losses weight, becomes restless and fidgety, and cannot sleep. There may be a tremor, most obvious when the sufferer’s hands are outstretched, along with palpitations and sweating. The eyes may protrude and appear to be staring.
Swelling of the gland, difficulty in feeding and sleeping, constipation, delayed mental and physical development in babies, lethargic, drowsiness, weight gain, dry hair, dry skin , hair loss, puffy eyes, deepening voice, weight loss, restlessness, insomnia, tremor in the hands, palpitations, sweating, protruding eyes.
Endemic goitre is treated with iodine supplements to the diet. A blood test in which low levels of thyroid hormones are found in the sample confirms diagnosis of underactivity of the thyroid gland. Doctors treat the condition in all ages with T4 (thyroxine) tablets. For overactivity of the thyroid gland, doctors usually prescribe a course of antithyroid tablets called carbimazole. A dose of radioactive iodine may be given to destroy part of the gland, or part of it may be removed by surgery.
An ancient Chinese therapy, patients are treated by sticking needles into their skin at particular points. These acupuncture points lie along invisible energy channels called meridians. The needles are said to unblock a flow of energy (called Qi) through the meridians. More Info
The medicinal use of herbs is said to be as old as mankind itself. Tribes still use their traditional knowledge of plant and their healing properties passed on from generation to generation. The armies of slave workers who laboured to build the Egyptian pyramids took a daily ration of garlic to ward off the pestilential fevers and infections that were rife at the time. More Info
Reflexologists treat diseases in parts of the body they claim to be related to reflex areas. It is thought that illness occurs when energy channels in the body are blocked, causing damage to one area or another. Massage is aimed at destroying these blocks, allowing the energy to flow freely again and so heal the damage. More Info