Contributed by- Dr. Dhrity Vats
Thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland located in the back of the throat. The 2 inch big gland is one mighty powerhouse which produces hormones, controls the major functions of our body like use of energy by the body, making proteins, regulating body temperature, heart rate and controlling the body’s sensitivity to other hormones.
Thyroid gland produces two major hormones, popularly known as the thyroxin or T4 (tetraiodothyronine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). Pituitary gland also produces a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone 0r TSH which is responsible for monitoring and also controlling the amount of T4 & T3 released in the body. As per the secretion of hormones the prevalent thyroid disorders can be divided into two heads:
Hyperthyroidism: An excessive production of thyroid hormones caused due to over active thyroid gland is termed as hyperthyroidism. T4 above its desired range value with symptoms like increased heart rate, depression, weight loss, excessive sweat production, irregular menstrual cycle and disruptive sleep pattern is identified as hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism: Under production of hormones by the thyroid glands which leads to lack of T4 & T3 levels in the blood is what we know as hypothyroidism. Specific symptoms like excessive weight gain, harsh voice, irregular menstrual cycle, lack of energy, joint and muscle pain are related with hypothyroidism.
Incase you ever experience any such symptoms it is best to seek proper medical consultation. If diagnosed thyroid disorder it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper medication. You can also opt for an alternate therapy like a vegan diet or exercise pattern but medical assistance is necessary. Getting yourself regularly screened for thyroid is also part of the whole thyroid management.
But, the sad news is that most of us ignore the symptoms and are often irregular with their medications. Such carelessness might seem as nothing but overtime can amount to serious problems. The same goes with thyroid disorders, if not detected timely or improper treatment can prove to be hazardous for your health. Just, to make the point more clear, let us read about what happens if thyroid disorders are left untreated.
Thyroid Disorders: If left Untreated?
When a thyroid disorder is left untreated or does not receives the required attention, it starts affecting the other organs of the body.
- Sudden cardiac arrest
- Arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat
- Cardiac Dilatation
- Pregnancy Problems like miscarriage, preterm birth, preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), fetal thyroid dysfunction and poor fetal growth
Untreated Hypothyroidism or Myxedema can lead to conditions like:
- Goiter which is an abnormal bulge in the throat
- Atherosclerosis leading to conditions like stroke
- Increase in cholesterol levels
- Problems of infertility
When Diagnosed With Thyroid Dysfunction
If you have been diagnosed of Hyper/ Hypothyroidism it is always wise to consult an endocrinologist for the proper management of the condition. Also, follow the following tips for healthier health management:
- Talk to your doctor regularly and understand the problem
- Drink a lot of water daily
- Follow a diet chart as per your condition. A hypothyroid individual should increase dairy products in his diet whereas a person suffering from hyperthyroid should limit dairy intake.
- Exercise regularly
- Increase fibre intake
- Add green tea in your daily diet
Having a thyroid dysfunction is very common and treatable condition. But if left untreated can cause severe damage to your heart and cause pregnancy issues. Get yourself tested once in every 6 months to check for any thyroid dysfunction and stay alert.