Thyroid is a small gland situated in front of the neck and secretes hormones like thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). These hormones control various functions of our body like heart, blood pressure, digestion, metabolism, growth, blood formation, brain function etc. Any fluctuation in the functioning of the thyroid gland can have a great impact on health. The thyroid gland is primarily responsible for energy and metabolism. This gland triggers the genes that make all the cells in the body conduct their specific jobs. But over a period of time, the optimum functioning of the thyroid may reduce because of specific reasons. The gland may start to under-produce or overproduce the thyroid hormone, which may lead to conditions known as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, respectively.
- Patients with hypothyroidism may feel extreme tiredness and fatigue even though they may be sleeping more than before. An unexplained gain in weight, constipation, inability to stand cold temperatures, and constant pain in muscles and joints are some of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is an endocrine disorder. Patients with this disorder may experience excessive sweating, fatigue, and intolerance to heat. They may even experience restlessness, puffy or protruded eyes, hair loss, and muscle weakness. Such patients may lose weight and are unable to sleep properly at night. In some cases, palpitations or abnormal heart rhythm may also be experienced.
Complications of Thyroid Disorder
Hypothyroid and hyperthyroid can cause a number of complications if patients don’t take medications. It is important for you to not to ignore any of the aforementioned symptoms and speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
- Myxedema: This condition is characterized by slowed thinking, swelling of tissues, and accumulation of fluid around major organs like brain, lungs and/or heart. This condition may prove life-threatening if not treated on time.
- Enlarged goiter: This is characterized by enlargement of the thyroid gland because of a constant increase in the TSH levels. High cholesterol and triglycerides: This may eventually pave way for heart disease and stroke.
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects nighttime breathing where the brain that temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing, or by an obstruction in the airway. This may prove fatal if left untreated.
- Low blood pressure: This means not enough blood is getting to capillaries and tissues, particularly in your hands, feet, and brain. You may have chronic nail fungal infections and cold hands and feet if so.
- Heart disorders (cardiac arrest): If left untreated, excess thyroid hormones can lead to congestive heart failure and heart rhythm disorders.
- Osteoporosis: Too much thyroid hormones interfere with the body’s ability to use calcium to build bone. This may lead to brittle bones and osteoporosis.
- Thyrotoxic crisis: This is a rare yet life-threatening complication characterized by high fever, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and agitation.
- Hypertension or high blood pressure: It is a condition in which a patient has high blood force striking the walls of the artery An early diagnosis can help make the treatment of this disorder easier.
Depending on the condition of the thyroid condition, it requires different ways to manage it. The conventional TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and T-4 (thyroxine) blood tests will be advised and the results should provide a reasonable confirmation of the condition. If doubts still persist an ultrasound or scan can also be ordered.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!