Your Body And The Thyroid Hormone. Hormones are very important for normal body functioning and one of the major hormones in the human body is the Thyroid hormone (Thyroxine). The thyroid hormone contains iodine and it regulates metabolism, growth as well as fetal development in a human. A child born without the thyroid gland will suffer retarded growth, mental and physical sluggishness. There are times however, when this hormone becomes a problem to the human body and this occurs when there is little (hypo) or excess (hyper) of the hormone in circulation. The first instance in which the thyroid hormone becomes a risk to man is when it is available in excess. This condition is known as HYPERTHYROIDISM. Now let's look at some of the causes, effects and treatment of hyperthyroidism. Causes The thyroid gland which is located in the neck is responsible for the production and secretion of this thyroid hormone. Therefore, any disease condition that affects the thyroid gland usually affects its secretion of thyroid hormone. In the case of hyperthyroidism, a major disease that can lead to excessive production of thyroxine is the Grave's Disease. Grave's disease is an autoimmune disease i.e a disease in which the immune system produces antibodies to fight another organ or tissue in the body. When these antibodies are produced, they lodge on the thyroid gland, enlarge the organ and cause it to secrete thyroxine in abnormal and very high amounts. Effects/Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism. A significant effect of hyperthyroidism is Goiter. Goiter simply means a greatly enlarged thyroid gland. Secondly, when the thyroid hormone is in excess, there is an increased rate of metabolism (breakdown of food) and the individual tends to sweat alot as a result. This in turn increases the person's appetite and when the individual fails to eat enough food to replace the ones that are been broken down, he/she begins to diminish in weight. Generally, the symptoms that are noticeable include: >>>Weight loss >>>increased appetite >>>Muscle weakness >>>Nervousness and other psychic disorders >>>Extreme fatigue and insomnia >>>Increased sweating >>>Constant diarrhea etc. When all these symptoms are present especially in an individual suffering from Grave's disease, then hyperthyroidism is diagnosed. Treatment The most effective treatment of hyperthyroidism is surgery. A surgical procedure is conducted to remove part of the enlarged thyroid gland and subsequently the amount of secretion reduces. In my next post, I will fully discuss what happens to the body when the thyroid hormone is present in minute concentrations. Stay Tuned...and stay healthy!