• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The endocrine system - Thyroid

Extracts from this document...


Endocrine System - Thyroid Gland. The endocrine system consists of a number of endocrine glands that produce hormones within different parts of the body. These glands include the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, testes and ovaries. The chemical substances (hormones) produced by these glands are responsible for bodily processes including growth, metabolism, response to stress, and sexual development. Hormones are secreted into intercellular spaces where it can directly diffuse into the blood and be carried around the body. (Wilson et al, 1996) A cell that has a specific reactor for that hormone will allow the hormone to bind with it which then causes a reaction within the cell. These cells are known as target organs. Hormones play an important part in maintaining homeostasis. Any hormone imbalance can lead to a variety of abnormalities within the body. Hypersecretion takes place when a hormone secretes too much of a hormone and hyposectretion happens when too little of a hormone is produced. (Thibodeau et al, 2002) In order to maintain homeostasis and regulation of hormone levels the body relies on a mechanism called negative feedback. When a low level of hormone is detected by the hypothalamus it produces a releasing hormone which can then stimulate the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland (control centre) ...read more.


It is believed the thyroid stimulating antibodies and symptoms may be caused by an abnormality in the patients' immune system. (Toft, 2006). The clinical symptoms of an overactive thyroid include increased appetite, due to the fact that the excessive amounts of thyroid hormone will burn off calories (energy) very quickly. As metabolism increases the body will also produce excessive heat therefore causing an increase in sweating as the body tries to cool itself. Most people with Graves' disease become irritable and have difficulty concentrating. It can be seen that a person may suffer from palpitations, and in the elderly may further develop into irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation and even heart failure. Tremors of the hands, along with general muscle weakness and itching all over are some more common symptoms. It may be seen that hair becomes thinner and nails become brittle. Graves' disease can occur at any age but is more common in females. (Zilva et al, 1988). Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be acute or chronic depending on the severity. Hyperthyroidism itself tends to be a chronic condition that may come and go in bouts until a successful treatment is found. Thyrotoxicosis can be diagnosed by a blood test which measures the actual levels of T3, T4 and TSH in the blood. ...read more.


The remaining five percent will not have enough gland removed and still suffer hyperthyroidism. (Toft, 2006). Another treatment option is radioactive iodine (RAI), which tends to be reserved as a treatment for people over the age of 45 years. It can be taken as a capsule or drink which is administered in hospital. It works by destroying some of the cells in the thyroid and not allowing remaining cells to divide to form new cells. It has to be noted that it is hard to find a dose of RAI that will give a good cure rate for thyrotoxicosis without leading to hypothyroidism, which currently can affect as many as 20 percent of those treated within the first two years after treatment, and three to five percent more each year after that. Those affected may have to take supplements of thyroid hormones (thyroxine) in order to get enough thyroid hormone. (Toft, 2006) To conclude, most diseases of the thyroid gland can be treated and will not reduce life expectancy if treated properly. Diagnosis is simple, results from blood tests are reliable and treatment is usually successful. The body needs to have a normal balance of hormones in order to function adequately and any disturbance can lead to a variety of illness and disease. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Healthcare section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Healthcare essays

  1. P2 - Physiology of fluid balance

    'Substances which are capable of dissolving in a liquid are called solutes - the liquid is the solvent and the solvent dissolved in the solute is a solution.' Stretch, Beryl, 2007, Health and Social Care Book 2, pg 170 Water is the most important solvent within the human body and

  2. Research In Clinical Practise

    a research topic, the aim of which is to prepare the ground for new research. It provides the researcher and the reader with knowledge of the field being researched and conceptualises the research problem being considered (Cormack, 2000). A literature review examines and summarises articles within a chosen topic and is an essential stage in any research process.

  1. Female hormones

    Barraged by misinformation, myths, propaganda and, in some cases, downright lies, it's no wonder that so many women are thoroughly confused about matters relating to their own bodies and their health. The History of Hormone Replacement Therapy Perhaps there's no topic of greater confusion to women than the highly publicized introduction of HRT for the menopausal woman.

  2. Human Anatomy and Physiology

    membrane has gaps which pores through which protein can pass, and the function of the nuclear is that it controls movement in and out of the nucleus. If there was not a nuclear membrane the nucleus would just move around the cell and crush other cell substance, which is why it is important to create a wall for the nucleus.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work