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Recognize thyroid complaints better

Recognize thyroid complaints better


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Ultrasound recognizes thyroid diseases more clearly

The thyroid gland is an important hormone gland in our organism, which takes on a variety of metabolic functions. Unfortunately, the metabolic organ is also susceptible to diseases and functional disorders. According to estimates, around every third person in Germany suffers from a thyroid disease or disorder. An expert will present various ultrasound procedures with which the diseases can be better identified and differentiated from each other in a more targeted manner.

The symptoms that come from a thyroid gland can be of various types. In addition to a swollen thyroid gland, nodules can develop and even malignant tumor formation. Functional disorders such as hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism) or hyperfunction (hyperthyroidism) occur even more frequently. There is also the autoimmune disease Graves' disease, which is often mistaken for a functional disorder.

The thyroid affects many processes in the body

Professor Dr. med. Josef Menzel is head of the Medical Clinic II at the Ingolstadt Clinic. He explains why our thyroid is so important and how the different diseases of the thyroid are noticeable. "Among other things, the thyroid gland forms the iodine-containing hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), which affect the metabolism, circulation and mood," reports the expert in a press release.

How do the various thyroid complaints express themselves?

"Hyperfunction leads to hair loss, irritability, excessive sweating (intolerance to heat), tremors, high blood pressure, fast pulse, cravings, diarrhea and muscle weakness," says the professor. An underactive function shows itself by hair loss, depression, feeling cold, slowed pulse, low blood pressure, weight gain, constipation, high blood lipids and muscle weakness. In addition, there are also over 600,000 predominantly female sufferers who suffer from autoimmune disease Graves' disease, which is often confused with an overactive or underactive thyroid. The main symptoms here are emotional vulnerability, hair loss, restlessness, sweating, tremors and diarrhea.

Graves' disease is often not recognized

“Usually the body's immune cells make antibodies against bacteria or viruses; in the case of an autoimmune disease such as Graves' disease, however, they attack the body's own cells, ”explains the specialist. This leads to uncontrolled reactions of the thyroid hormones. If such an autoimmune disease is present, Menzel says that antibodies bind to the cells of the thyroid gland. As a result, certain receptors are either stimulated or suppressed. This could either lead to symptoms of an underfunction or an overfunction.

How the individual illness is differentiated

"To find out clearly whether a patient actually has Graves' disease or another thyroid disease, the doctor carries out various examinations," reports Menzel. Various diagnostic methods are used for this. In addition to a physical examination, a blood test can also provide important information. The expert particularly emphasizes the diagnosis using ultrasound.

Make fast and reliable diagnoses with ultrasound

"With the help of ultrasound, we can make the diagnosis quickly and reliably," emphasizes Professor Menzel. With the so-called color Doppler sonography, the structure of the tissue can be displayed very precisely. From this, conclusions can be drawn as to whether, for example, there is a massive increase in blood flow to the organ, which is typical of the disease.

Ultrasound-targeted fine needle aspiration

"The specialist gains ultimate security with the simple, safe and fast ultrasound-targeted fine needle puncture," says the specialist. Here, a small piece of tissue is removed under ultrasound monitoring, which can then be examined in the laboratory. So the present disease can be clearly determined. "This makes the ultrasound examination, in addition to the clinical symptoms and the laboratory parameters, a cornerstone of the diagnosis of thyroid diseases," concludes Menzel.

How is Graves' disease treated?

As a rule, Basedow patients first receive medications, so-called thyroid drugs, which reduce the activity of the thyroid gland. "If there is no lasting improvement after a period of about one and a half years, the thyroid gland must be reduced in the long term either by surgery or by treatment with radioactive iodine (radio iodine therapy)," explains the head of the clinic. (vb)

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