All The Info About Thyroid Disorders You Ever Needed To Know

All The Info About Thyroid Disorders You Ever Needed To Know

thyroid illnesses
Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava

 

Introduction

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:

 

    • Metabolism
    • Heart rate
    • Bodyweight
    • Muscle strength and control
    • Breathing
    • Body temperature
    • Bone loss
    • Blood lipid levels
    • Menstrual cycles
    • The central nervous system (CNS)
    • Energy expenditure

 

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.

 

Hyperthyroidism

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.

 

Hypothyroidism

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:

 

Hypothyroidism

 

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.

 

Hyperthyroidism

 

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. 

 

Overactive thyroid

 

    • 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

 

Underactive thyroid

 

    • 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:

 

Hypothyroidism

 

    • Preexisting conditions such as diabetes
    • Pituitary gland disorder
    • Pregnancy

 

Hyperthyroidism

 

    • 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
    • Pregnancy 

 

Lifestyle factors such as smoking, use of any tobacco product, or psychological distress can also increase the risk of thyroid diseases.

 

Final thoughts

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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