The human body

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The human body comprises several organs and glands, which work together to form the complexity of the human body. These glands and organs are occasionally exposed to situations that cause discomfort and can be lethal. The tympanic membrane and thyroid gland are highlighted here.

The tympanic membrane is a thin membrane in the middle ear that receives sound vibrations and converts them into impulses that are delivered to the brain for interpretation via the auditory nerves. Myringitis (otitis media acute, otitis media secretory, and otitis media chronic) and mastoidis are two possible inflammations of the tympanic membrane. An example is otitis media, which is an inflammation of the middle ear which is very common in children below the age of twelve (Mehmood, 2016).

A patient had the following information to report to the physician: excruciating pain in the ear and discomfort. The patient also claimed to be experiencing severe headache, fever, irritability in the ear, oltagia, otorrhea, vomiting and diarrhea. It was also evident that the patient was experiencing hearing loss, vertigo and oltagia (Mehmood, 2016).

During the assessment of the condition, the physician was able to narrow down to the otitis media since it was determined that the tympanic membrane was bulging. Upon closer diagnosis, there was presence of effusion behind the tympanic membrane and this allowed the physician to come to the conclusion that the patient had otitis media with effusion.

It was established that the condition is caused by blockage of the Eustachian tube which connects the ear to the throat. The tube is responsible for draining the fluids in the ear to the throat which are then swallowed. If the draining process is hindered, the fluid isn’t drained and it therefore accumulates at the back of the tympanic membrane. The bacteria that is usually in the fluid becomes trapped and in that case it begins to grow; this is what brings about the ear infection.

Most physicians and health care providers would not treat Otitis Media with effusion on first diagnostic but would rather recheck it after a few days. It is advised that either the patient should stop the use of cigarettes or avoid passive smoking and to avoid allergic triggers like pollen grains and dust. The fluid will at the end of the day clear by itself and if the condition worsens, then antibiotics may be administered to the patient for use. In as much as otitis media with effusion may heal on its own, treatment speeds up the process and this therefore should be put into practice (Mehmood, 2016).

The thyroid gland is found in the neck region and is the one that grows to be called the Adam’s is butterfly shaped with lobes on the sides connected with an isthmus on the surface of the trachea. The function of the thyroid gland is the secretion of thyroid hormones which are throxine and triiodothyronine hormones which are responsible for homeostatic balance in the body. When the thyroid gland grows to an abnormal large size, then this is referred to as goiter and it is a result of supply of less iodine from the diet (Papaleontiou, 2016).

For the examination of the thyroid gland, both or either anterior and posterior methods can be employed:

In anterior methods the examiner should ensure that there is enough space on all sides to view the thyroid area of the patient. Ensure there is a glass of water in the vicinity. Raise the patient’s head to ensure that it is in a hyperextension state and there is enough light on the anterior neck region. The examiner should ask the patient to swallow a sip of water from the glass as this will help the examiner see clearly the movement of the thyroid gland. At this state, the examiner will be able to look at any abnormal enlargements in the thyroid gland, the symmetry of the gland and contours as the patient is allowed to repeatedly swallow the water. The neck itself should also be inspected of any additional masses and cases of prominent pulsations.

On the other hand, there is posterior method of examination of the thyroid gland. This metod is rather traditional and the following are the steps followed for its examination:

Patient flexes the neck in an aim to relax the sternomastoid muscles.

The examiner reaches around the patient with both hands and using the fingers to touch up and down identifying the landmarks. In this, the landmarks include the hyoid bone which is located beneath the mandible, the thyroid cartilage together with the superior notch, the tracheal rings, cricoid cartilage and the suprasternal notch.

The index finger is placed below the cricoid cartilage. The examiner feels the thyroid isthmus moving up and down while the patient swallows the water from the glass, try gauging the size, its shape and noting the presence of nodules or tenderness within the same area.

The examiner then moves the trachea gently to the left with the right hand’s fingers to feel the right lobe of the thyroid gland in the space created between the trachea and the sternomostoid muscle.

Repeating the same procedure, the examiner ought to examine the left lobe of the thyroid gland but this time round; the trachea should be gently moved to the right with the fingers of the left hand.

In case there is abnormal size of the lobes then goiter is detected and at this time, the examiner should put a stethoscope over the lateral lobes to listen for a bruit (Papaleontiou, 2016)..

The thyroid may encounter historic condition in the sense that in the patient’s lineage, there was an occurrence of the condition and it is therefore passed down to the patient. An example is hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

A patient for example had the following subjective feelings; a feeling of cold, fatigue, poor memory and concentration in the surrounding, abnormal sensation and poor hearing abilities.

The physician on the other hand was able to identify a few signs which included coarse and dry skin, myxedema, reduction in amount of hair in the head region, hoarse voice, a generally reduced pulse rate, swelling of the arms and legs, pleural effusion and carpal tunnel.

The physician therefore had to assess the patient through trial and error and since there was an observation of a reduction in hearing the physician first checked the ear, the tympanic membrane a and chances of any fluids behind the tympanic membrane and since there was none, the physician was able to rule out any infections in the ear (Papaleontiou, 2016)..

Secondly, the physician performed the posterior examination of the patient’s thyroid glands and there was a detection of abnormal swellings and nodules in the thyroid gland and this led to the conclusion of hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is caused by dysfunction of the thyroid gland, reduced stimulation by the thyroid stimulating hormone which is secreted by the pituitary glands or an inadequate secretion of thyrotropin releasing hormone which is secreted from the hypothalamus of the brain. Goiter is caused primarily by the deficiency of iodine in the body from the diet (Papaleontiou, 2016).. Pregnant women with goiter are more often likely to give birth to premature babies or at times infants who died a few weeks or days after birth. If these children manage to grow up, they more often have a rather reduced level of intelligence in comparison to their peers.

For treatment of hypothyroidism, a laboratory test of a thyroid stimulating hormone levels is done as it serves as the best test before any other test is done. In cases of low levels of the hormone in the blood which is indicated by an elevated TSH.

During pregnancy, the thyroid gland is expected to produce almost twice as much thyroid hormone and this is in aim of producing enough hormones for both the mother and the foetus. In cases of lower levels, the physician should correct it before it is too late. This is done by an addition of iodine in the common diet for the patient.

A recommendation of iodine-rich foods such as dairy and fish should also be recommended and in many societies with a moderate iodine deficiency, should implement a universal salt iodization (Papaleontiou, 2016)..

In conclusion, several disease and/or conditions may show almost similar signs and symptoms and some are more often mistaken for the other but this needs the keenness of the physician and the ability to distinguish and tell apart the two illnesses.


Mehmood, F., Rashid, A., & Hameed, A. (2016). Otitis media with effusion. Annals of King Edward Medical University, 10(4).

Papaleontiou, M., & Cappola, A. R. (2016). Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone in the Evaluation of Subclinical Hypothyroidism. Jama, 316(15), 1592-1593.

May 17, 2023

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