Hong Kong Pacific Diabetes & Endocrine Centre
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endocrine diseases

Hong Kong Pacific Diabetes
& Endocrine Centre

Thyroid Gland

Thyroid gland syntheses and secretes thyroid hormone which regulate our body metabolism. Common disorders of thyroid gland include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroid nodule.

Hyperthyroidism (excessive production of thyroid hormone). Common
presentations are palpitation, hand tremor, marked weight loss, sweating, intolerance to heat, mood irritability, menstrual irregularity, diarrhea and protruding eyeball. Young female, with family history of thyroid disease are more commonly affected. Majority of hyperthyroidism are due to Grave’s disease, others are due to multinodular goitre, single toxic nodule, thyroiditis or TSH secreting tumor. Medical treatment is the preferred first line treatment for hyperthyroidism, other treatment options including radioactive iodine or surgery may need to be considered if there is toxic relapse or adverse reaction to medication.

Hypothyroidism (inadequate production of thyroid hormone). Hypothyroidism patient may present with tiredness, intolerance to cold, body swelling, slow heart rate, menstrual irregularity, and hoarsness of voice. The most common underlying cause is Hashimoto thyroiditis, other causes include post radioactive iodine treatment or after surgery.

It is important to note that child bearing women should be aware of having thyroid disease during their pregnancy and postpartum period. Thyroid problem in the conceived or nursing mother will also affect the growth and development of the fetus and infant.

Goitre (enlargment of thyroid gland) is relatively common, but it can harbour thyroid nodule or malignant tumor. Thorough investigations including blood test, ultrasound thyroid, fine needle aspiration or radionucleotide imaging may be needed to guide proper treatment.