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Thyroid ultrasound

The thyroid is the largest endocrine gland, it is in the shape of a butterfly, located in the neck, in the anterior cervical area, between the sternocleidomastoid muscles, consisting of two lobes located on either side of the trachea, joined by a small tissue bridge called isthmus, weighing approximately 15-25 g.

It plays an important role in the balanced functioning and development of the body, it is responsible for the secretion of two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) that acts faster and is more metabolically active and thyroxine (T4), their name coming from the presence of 3, respectively 4 atoms of iodine.

Thyroid hormone secretion is controlled by TSH or thyrotropin (another hormone), being released from the previous pituitary. In turn, thyrotropin is stimulated by TRH, secreted by the hypothalamus. The thyroid does not work solitary and is not autonomous in the body, so it is an entire system of regulation between the encephalus, pituitary and thyroid (feed-back mechanism).

Why is thyroid ultrasound performed?

Identifying thyroid problems as quickly as possible is favoured by ultrasound, which clearly and easily ascertains whether there are changes in the structure of the gland (cysts, inflammation, nodules, hypertrophy). This investigation takes between 15-20 minutes, no special training is required, the patient can drink, eat, or take medication normally.

It is good to know that the thyroid ultrasound does not pose any risks, can be repeated as often as necessary, is not invasive, it is painless in the region of the throat, does not radiate, and is used to diagnose nodules, lymphadenopathy, or the differentiation between goitre and adipose or muscular tissue.

Hyperthyroidism (excess of function) or hypothyroidism (through deficiency) are disorders of the thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are: weight gain, lack of appetite, constipation, muscle and joint pain, dry skin, drowsiness, thinking and slow speech.

Causes of hypothyroidism: inflammation caused by the immune system (autoimmune thyroiditis / Hashimoto); after radioactive iodine treatment, in the case of goitre or other thyroid diseases, too many cells (thyroid follicles) are destroyed following partial surgery, and the remaining part of the gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones.

Hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid hormone) occurs when the thyroid secretes a larger amount of thyroid hormones, evolving rapidly and aggressively.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism: nervousness, abdominal sweating, tachycardia. Causes of hyperthyroidism: Among the risk factors of this disease are gender (especially in women), age (occurs with a higher frequency in adults), hereditary factor (in Basedow’s disease), neuropsychiatric factors (stress).

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