Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of your neck (trachea), just below the adam’s apple.
The gland is compared to a butterfly because of its structure – small in the middle with two side lobes spread like butterfly wings.
The thyroid gland affects every cell and organ by secreting two major hormones, namely, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)
The thyroid gland helps regulate:
When the thyroid gland’s ability to strike a balance between the hormone production, it can give rise to the following conditions:
Note: Studies indicate that women are more prone to thyroid illnesses than men.
Also termed an overactive thyroid, it is a condition in which the thyroid gland secretes more than the required amount of thyroid hormones.
This illness can increase the pace of heartbeats, cause unintentional weight loss, give rise to nervousness, and may even trigger thyroid cancer.
If someone suffers from this ailment, the person can experience chronic fatigue and issues in tolerating cold temperatures due to the reduced production of thyroid hormones.
Since the condition arises due to less production of thyroid hormones, it is called underactive thyroid.
Causes of thyroid diseases
Preexisting thyroid conditions or an autoimmune illness are some leading factors that cause thyroid diseases. Given below are a few thyroid disease triggers that you should be aware of:
|Thyroiditis||A condition in which the thyroid gland becomes inflamed due to a viral infection or autoimmune disease.|
|Hashimoto’s thyroiditis||Mostly benign, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (predominantly inherited) is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s cell targets the thyroid.|
|Iodine deficiency||Iodine is an essential mineral used by the thyroid gland to produce hormones. An iodine-deficient body cannot produce enough hormones, thus, causing hypothyroidism.|
|Graves disease||An immune system disorder that causes excessive production of thyroid hormones. Graves disease is one of the leading causes of hyperthyroidism.|
|Thyroid nodules||Mostly non-cancerous, thyroid nodules are small lumps that can contribute to the production of excess hormones, increasing the risk of hyperthyroidism.|
|Excessive iodine||This leads to the overproduction of thyroid hormones, thus increasing the risk of hyperthyroidism.|
Thyroid disease symptoms
Thyroid diseases manifest symptoms that are also dependent on underlying conditions and age factors. These symptoms depend on the type of thyroid disease you are affected by.
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased anxiety, nervousness & irritability
- Unintentional weight loss
- Visible enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Muscle weakness & tremors
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Vision problem or eye irritation
- Unintentional weight gain
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory issues
- Frequent & heavy menstrual cycles
- Dry & coarse hair
- Hoarse voice
- Increased sensitivity to cold temperature
Risk factors associated with thyroid
Here are a few risk factors that can significantly increase the risk of thyroid disease:
- Preexisting conditions such as diabetes
- Pituitary gland disorder
- Family or personal history of autoimmune disorders, such as arthritis
- Past trauma to the thyroid gland
- Exposure to iodine contrast, such as that used in a CT scan
Lifestyle factors such as smoking, use of any tobacco product, or psychological distress can also increase the risk of thyroid diseases.
Thyroid disorders are some of the most common endocrine conditions in India.
According to research, approximately 40 million Indians are affected by this condition.
But the ray of hope is that thyroid diseases are treatable and manageable, enabling you to lead a healthy and productive life.
So if you feel the onset of the above-mentioned symptoms, follow these three simple steps that can help in effective diagnosis and treatment.
- Do not panic
- Get tested for thyroid disorders
- Seek medical intervention
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