Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chauadhary
Gaining weight, loss of appetite, lethargic or unable to concentrate? This could be because of that little gland in your neck.
Thyroid disease can have a distinct impact on our bodily functions, but mostly they are overlooked. People affected by thyroid disorders are silent sufferers as in majority cases the conditions go undiagnosed. Moreover, the impact of the various thyroid related disorders can be life-changing; hence, it becomes important to recognise the signs and symptoms of thyroid disease.
WHAT IS THYROID?
Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, just above the collarbone. It is an endocrine gland which produces thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in the body like body’s temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat body’s use of other hormones and vitamins, and the growth and maturation of body tissues. When the thyroid gland is under or over active then thyroid diseases surface. Also, as per data thyroid problems are much more common in women than in men.
Thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, hence disorders of these tissues can also affect the thyroid function and cause thyroid problem. Listed below are the specific kinds of thyroid disorders:
- Goiter- enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Hyperthyroidism- Over production of thyroid hormone.
- Hypothyroidism- Thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones
- Thyroid cancer
- Thyroid nodules- Lumps in the thyroid gland
- Thyroiditis- Swelling of the thyroid
Thyroid diseases can be diagnosed by medical history, physical exam, and thyroid tests.
THYROID DISEASE SYMPTOMS
Feeling tired full day and having no energy, anxiety, loss or increased appetite are symptoms which can be associated with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Though, thyroid problem symptoms in men are less common as compared to females.
Anxiety or feeling wired or having low libido are all signs that indicate you may be suffering from Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone leading to speeding up of the metabolism. Hyperthyroidism symptoms are:
- Weight loss
- Excessive perspiration
- Irritability and anxiety
- Increased appetite
- Rapid heart rate
- Frequent bowel movements, even diarrhoea
- Irregular menstrual cycles in women
- Hand tremors
- Fine brittle nails
- Breast development in males
CAUSES OF HYPERTHYROIDISM
A variety of conditions can cause hyperthyroidism, these are
- Graves’ Disease
- Excess iodine
- Tumours of the ovary or testes
- Large amounts of tetraiodothyronine taken through dietary supplements or medication
- Thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid, which causes T4 and T3 to leak out of the gland
- Benign tumours of the thyroid or pituitary gland
COMPLICATIONS DUE TO HYPERTHYROIDISM
Hyperthyroidism, if not treated can lead to a number of complications like:
- Heart problems
- Brittle bones
- Red swollen skin
- Eye problems
- Thyrotoxic crisis
There are several treatments for hyperthyroidism, depending on age, physical condition, underlying cause of hyperthyroidism, the severity of disease and personal preference. The thyroid problem treatment includes:
- Anti-thyroid medications
- Radioactive iodine
It is caused because of underproduction of thyroid hormone. Our body’s energy production requires certain amounts of thyroid hormones. When there is a drop in the hormone production it leads to lower energy levels. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism develop slowly and may vary depending on the severity of hormone deficiency. The hypothyroidism symptom check-list include
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Impaired memory
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Myxedema: It is an advanced hypothyroidism, which is rare, but when it occurs it can be life-threatening.
If hypothyroidism isn’t treated, signs and symptoms can gradually become more severe.
CAUSES OF HYPOTHYROIDISM
Hypothyroidism can be caused because of
- Pituitary gland disorder
- Defective thyroid
- Autoimmune disease
- Treatment for hyperthyroidism
- Radiation therapy
- Certain medications
- Lack of the gland entirely
COMPLICATIONS DUE TO HYPOTHYROIDISM
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to
- Mental health issues
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Heart problems
- Birth defects
THYROID DISEASES DIAGNOSIS
Diagnosing thyroid disease includes a number of different types of examinations including:
- Clinical evaluation
- Blood tests: This includes thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, free thyroxine (Free T4) and free triiodothyronine (Free T3)
- Imaging test
- Fine needle aspiration
WHY IS THYROID TEST REQUIRED
Approximately 60% of the people with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism aren’t aware of their condition and suffer silently. A blood test can help them in the proper diagnosis and timely treatment of thyroid disease.
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