The thyroid is a gland that sits at the base of the neck below the voice box, or larynx. It is part of the endocrine system, and is responsible for producing key hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. When the thyroid gland malfunctions, it can trigger effects that cause significant disruptions in a number of organ systems. Abnormal thyroid readings are a main way of determining which particular malfunctions are affecting a given individual.
According to the nonprofit Hormone Foundation, your thyroid may malfunction in a number of different ways. If tests performed by an endocrinologist (hormone and endocrine specialist) reveal abnormally high levels of thyroid hormone, you may be suffering from a condition called hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include fatigue, rapid heartbeat, weight loss, muscle weakness, diarrhea and menstrual cycle disruptions. The most likely cause of your hyperthyroidism is called Graves’ disease, which occurs when antibodies from your immune system mistakenly attack your thyroid gland, forcing it to produce excess hormones. If you have Graves’ disease, your symptoms may also include swelling behind your eyes that causes them to bulge or press forward.
If you have abnormally low levels of thyroid hormones, you may suffer from an underactive thyroid gland. This condition is called hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, depression, constipation, sluggishness, dry hair and skin and menstrual cycle irregularities. If your hypothyroidism is severe, you may be additionally diagnosed with a condition called myxedema. In some individuals with myxedema, the presence of infections, injury or the common cold may bring about life-threatening complications including coma and dangerously lowered body temperature (hypothermia).
Thyroid testing may also reveal the presence of abnormal nodules within your thyroid gland. These nodules typically manifest as either growths of your thyroid tissue or as fluid-filled cysts. Thyroid nodules are quite common, and as a rule they do not pose any real health risks. However, if your nodules are larger than half an inch in diameter, your doctor may want to investigate them further and see if they indicate the presence of a more dangerous condition such as cancer.
To determine the seriousness of your thyroid nodules, your doctor may order a tissue sampling procedure called a biopsy. If the results of a biopsy indicate that your nodules are benign (non-cancerous), you will likely need to see your doctor at regular intervals to make sure that no dangerous changes occur at a later date. If your thyroid nodules are malignant (cancerous), you will likely undergo surgical removal of all or part of your thyroid gland. Doctors may also perform surgery if they cannot determine through other testing whether a nodule is malignant.
Consult your endocrinologist for additional information on the results of thyroid testing. Consult your surgeon if testing reveals the presence of malignant nodules.
American Thyroid Association-ATA Patient Education Web Brochures
U.S. National Library of Medicine-National Institutes of Health: Thyroid Diseases
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The sound and feel of the rumbling is the movement of gas produced within your digestive system. It is medically termed borborygmus.
This gas is a consequence of the microflora in your gut digesting various substances in the food that you have eaten, and so certain foods increase gasiness depending on the ingredients comsumed. As your body does not complete digestion of various foods itself, the bacteria have more to feed on and so produce greater volumes of waste gases.
So in this case, your stomach is rumbling due to the gas produced from food that you have eaten several hours ago. It is only partially digested by your own system and bacteria that are resident in your digestive system and help you to fight off infection and aid digestion break the food down for you.
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