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Thyroid Disorder - What All Should You Know

Dr. Vishwanath B L 92% (99 ratings)
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
General Physician, Bangalore  •  14 years experience
Thyroid Disorder - What All Should You Know

Thyroid disorders are conditions that affect the thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped gland in front of the neck. There are specific kinds of thyroid disorders that include:

  1. Hypothyroidism
  2. Hyperthyroidism
  3. Goiter
  4. Thyroid Nodules
  5. Thyroid Cancer
  6. Epidemiology, Incidence, and Prevalence

It has been estimated that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. It can develop from problems within the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Poor concentration or feeling mentally "foggy"
  3. Dry skin
  4. Constipation
  5. Feeling cold
  6. Fluid retention
  7. Muscle and joint aches
  8. Depression
  9. Prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding in women

Common Causes of Hypothyroidism

  1. Hashimoto's thyroiditis (an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the thyroid gland)
  2. Thyroid hormone resistance
  3. Other types involving inflammation of the thyroid, such as acute thyroiditis and postpartum thyroiditis

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism refers to the excessive production of thyroid hormone, a less common condition than hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are usually related to increased metabolism. In mild cases, there may not be apparent symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include:

  • Tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Intolerance for heat
  • Increase in bowel movements
  • Increased sweating
  • Concentration problems
  • Unintentional weight loss

Common causes of hyperthyroidism

  • Graves' disease
  • Toxic multinodular goiter
  • Thyroid nodules that overexpress thyroid hormone (known as "hot" nodules)
  • Abnormal secretion of TSH
  • Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland)
  • Excessive iodine intake

Goiter: A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland, regardless of cause. A goiter may be associated with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or a normal thyroid function.

Thyroid Nodules: Nodules are lumps or abnormal masses in the thyroid. Nodules can be caused by benign cysts, benign tumors, or less commonly, by cancers of the thyroid. If nodules are excessively large, they may cause symptoms related to compression of nearby structures.

Thyroid Cancer: Thyroid cancer is more common among adult women than men or youth. About 2/3rd of cases occur in people under age 55. There are different kinds of thyroid cancers depending upon the specific cell type within the thyroid that has become cancerous. Most cases of thyroid cancer have a good prognosis and high survival rates, especially when diagnosed in its early stages.

Investigations

Blood tests are done to measure levels of thyroid hormones. Blood tests are also done to identify antibodies against thyroid tissue, such as titers of antithyroglobulin, antithyroperoxidase, or TSH receptor-stimulating antibodies.

Treatment

Thyroid disorders can be treated with medications or, in some cases, surgery. The treatment will depend on the particular disease of the thyroid.Medications can be given to replace the missing thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism. Synthetic thyroid hormone is given in pill form by mouth. When hyperthyroidism is present, medications can be used to decrease the production of thyroid hormone or prevent its release from the gland.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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