Hyperthyroidism / Hypothyroidism
The thyroid plays an important role in regulating the body's metabolism, producing numerous hormones which influence the diverse functions of the body. Thyroid hormones also participate in many hormone feedback loops.
The most common and thus best known thyroid diseases are hyperthyroidism (overactivity of the thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone).
Hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis occurs when the thyroid releases too many of its hormones. This causes the body's metabolism to speed up, resulting in symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness, menstrual irregularities, infertility, increased sweating and weight loss. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by benign and malignant growths in the thyroid, thus leading to an overproduction of hormones. However, the thyroid can also be stimulated indirectly, e.g. by a metabolic disorder of the pituitary gland (hypophysis). Another cause of hyperthyroidism can be Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease - one in which the immune system attacks certain tissues - that causes overactivity of the thyroid gland. Here it becomes apparent how complex hormonal feedback loops can be - and how susceptible they are to interfering factors.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. This may cause a variety of symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, cold intolerance, circulatory disorders and unintentional weight gain. In most cases, hypothyroidism is not congenital but occurs from other causes later in life, e.g. after thyroid surgery, or after radioactive iodine treatment. Inflammatory conditions or certain medications can also have a negative effect on the thyroid gland causing it to produce less thyroid hormone.
The goiter - the medical term for enlargement of the thyroid gland - is also worth mentioning. There are various causes of goiter, and an overactive as well as an underactive thyroid gland can lead to an enlargement.
Thyroid diseases can either be treated surgically or medically. If required, the treatments can be combined. Ultrasound and thyroid scintigraphy are important diagnostic tools for the evaluation of thyroid disease. All necessary examinations are performed here in our medical center. Medication therapies and radioactive iodine treatment are also available in our clinic. Should you require an operation or a radioactive iodine treatment, you will be referred to one of our specialist physicians.