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Hypoactive and Hyperactive Thyroid: How to Reveal and What to Do? - Mikhail Zabotin

Until the first half of the 19th century, thyroid gland received very little attention from physicians. In the 2nd century AD, Claudius Galen assumed that this organ serves to release fluid that lubricates the larynx, and until the 18th century, this opinion was considered absolutely correct.

Only in the 19th century, they described cases of decrease (hypothyroidism) and increase (hyperthyroidism) in thyroid gland function accompanied by the development of major and dangerous diseases.

Thyroid gland is an organ of the endocrine system that secretes hormones into the blood - thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) involved in metabolic control and the growth of certain cells, and calcitonin involved in calcium and phosphorus metabolism and bone formation.

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Such condition as hypothyroidism is caused by insufficient thyroid hormone synthesis and slow metabolism and is most often accompanied by the following complaints:

  • lethargy, sluggishness, decreased performance and fatigue, drowsiness, memory loss, depression
  • increased body weight and difficulty losing weight
  • dry skin (often on elbows and knees), face puffiness and limb swelling, baggy skin under eyes, rough and low voice, brittle nails, hair loss. Hair loss more often occurs on the entire body surface, although there are more interesting complaints: loss of eyebrow edges (Queen Anne's sign)
  • sensitivity to cold, low body temperature, constipation
  • development of cretinism with prolonged course of myxedema in adults and in children.
  • Hyperthyroidism, or increased function of the gland, is usually accompanied by an accelerated metabolism and complaints such as:

    - palpitations, heart rhythm disorders

    - weight loss despite good appetite

    - hot flashes, sweating and intolerance to warmth and hot climate, increased body temperature

    - diarrhea

    - finger tremor and whole body shivering

    - anxiety and irritability

    - some diseases are accompanied by exophthalmos or goggle eyes, eye redness and increased lacrimation

    - extreme manifestation of hyperthyroidism is thyrotoxicosis.

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    Until the end of the 20th century, thyroid diseases were treated without laboratory control. In the 1940s, an American physician Broda Otto Barnes proposed a very interesting and affordable temperature test for detecting thyroid pathology. For authenticity and reliability, it is advisable to use a non-electronic (mercury) thermometer and observe the following simple rules:

    • measure the temperature under the armpit or in the mouth immediately after waking up, while still in bed
    • measure it for three days
    • on the days of the test, one should not be sick with acute diseases or exacerbations of chronic diseases, take medications (especially antipyretic or pain relievers), drink alcohol the day before
    • get enough sleep.

    7df816e1b350f774153f785ec45a7d90.jpg

    Test results are quite easy to assess:

  • if during the measurement, the body temperature was below 36.6 degrees, then with a high degree of probability the person has hypothyroidism
  • he normal physiological temperature is between 36.6 and 36.8 degrees C
  • if throughout the course of measurement, the temperature was above 36.8, there is a high risk of increased thyroid function or hyperthyroidism.
  • This test is almost never used by modern doctors. A blood test for thyroid hormones (T4 and T3), as well as, in most cases, a pituitary thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test are the most accurate tests for detecting thyroid dysfunction (hypo- or hyperthyroidism).

    But if you still have a combination of the above complaints and for some reason cannot visit a doctor, performing a temperature test will help, with a certain degree of probability, assess the function of the thyroid gland and ultimately set you up for visiting a medical center.

    Endocrinologist Mikhail Zabotin.

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