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When the thyroid problems

If the thyroid problems, disorders in the entire organism occur.
Photo: picture-alliance / Wissen Media Verlag
  1. One in five is affected
  2. Frequent hawking can be a first clue
  3. Prevent iodine deficiency

One in five is affected

A delicate 25 grams weighs the thyroid , yet the small organ under the larynx is crucial to our health: it produces the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which affect the entire organism, from the cardiovascular system through the metabolism to digestion.

But for many people, it does not work flawlessly, and often those affected do not know about it. They attribute their complaints to stress, the weather, the menopause. The rule is that the sooner disorders are diagnosed, the better they can be treated. Doctors therefore recommend that the organ from the age of 35 be examined annually.

Frequent hawking can be a first clue

The number of thyroid patients has been increasing for years. This is also due to improved diagnostic methods and the growing attention of doctors. Far more serious, however, is the rampant iodine deficiency in this country. To make hormones, our thyroid needs iodine. The body can store this trace element but not make it, so we have to eat it through the food. But that does not succeed 40 percent of the German citizens. For them, iodine intake is disturbed for a variety of reasons, including an unbalanced diet, heredity, smoking, vegans, or extreme stress.

As a result, every fifth German has an enlarged thyroid gland . As soon as the organ gets too little iodine, it produces more tissue to produce sufficient hormones. That makes hardly any problems at first. If the deficiency persists, the thyroid gland continues to grow. Frequent hawking can be a first indication of this. Even if swallowing causes abnormal swelling over the larynx, the gland may be enlarged.

The doctor should then necessarily by palpation, ultrasound and blood test to be clarified as it is ordered to the thyroid. If it is only slightly enlarged, medications can often stop growth. Only when knots have formed in the tissue, it becomes more complicated.

These tumors sometimes form hormones on their own and are then called "hot". This is helped by outpatient radioiodine therapy, in which tiny amounts of radioactive iodine are swallowed in tablet form in order to destroy the overproductive cells. Although "cold" nodes are idle, they can become malignant in very rare cases. If you want to be on the safe side, you can remove them with a small intervention.

Misregulations of the immune system can also damage the thyroid gland. For example, six to ten percent of adults - women much more often than men - are affected by the autoimmune disease Hashimoto, which destroys thyroid tissue and paralyzes hormone production. The result is a sub-function: you gain weight quickly, feel tired and chipped, freeze easily.

Over-functioning, also called Graves' disease, is less common: too much of the hormone leads to an overactive metabolism, one sweats a lot, is restless and has cardiac arrhythmias. Both diseases sound more dramatic than they are: they can be handled well with hormone tablets.

Prevent iodine deficiency

Our body needs 150 to 200 micrograms of iodine every day. The best supplier is sea fish - especially haddock (243 micrograms per 100 grams) and cod - followed by seafood such as mussels.

For vegetables, lamb's lettuce (62 micrograms), broccoli and spinach are good sources. Milk, dairy products and egg yolk also contain a lot of iodine. It makes sense to use iodine salt when cooking, while sea salt barely contains iodine. When buying bread and ready meals, you should also choose products seasoned with iodised salt.

If you need to eat low salt or do not eat sea fish, you should talk to your doctor. He may prescribe iodine tablets. Further information: