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Thyroid Disorders!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Kulin R Shah 90% (1122 ratings)
Post Graduate Diploma in Diabetology (PGDD), MBBS
Endocrinologist, Mumbai  •  22 years experience
Thyroid Disorders!

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located on the front side of the neck. The function of the thyroid gland is to make 2 thyroid hormones- t4 & t3. These hormones have an effect on nearly all the cells of the body. They are necessary for the efficient functioning of each & every cell of the body.

 The thyroid hormones have to be in perfect balance for the efficient functioning of the body systems. Too little or too much thyroid hormone can have a various deleterious effect on the body.

Hypothyroidism - this condition is characterized by insufficient or low production of thyroid hormones. This can lead to various symptoms like –

Causes of hypothyroidism

  • Autoimmune thyroid disorder (most common)
  • Congenital (from childhood)
  • Drug-induced
  • Removal of thyroid gland (surgery)
  • Absence of thyroid gland
  • Disorder of pituitary gland
  • Exposure to excess iodine

Who is at risk of hypothyroidism?
 

  • Women older than 35 yrs
  • Having other autoimmune diseases
  • Hereditary or family history of thyroid disorders
  • Having treatment with radioactive iodine or antithyroid medications
  • Had thyroid surgery
  • Pregnancy

Untreated hypothyroidism affects liver, kidneys, intestines, brain, heart, reproductive system (infertility, repeated abortions)

What conditions are associated with hypothyroidism?
Conditions like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, anaemia, depression, other autoimmune diseases.

Hypothyroidism & pregnancy

Pregnancy-related hormones lead to decrease in thyroid hormone levels. Few reports suggests that up to 14% of pregnant women may have hypothyroidism. Untreated hypothyroidism in pregnancy can cause the following health problems in -
Mother-

Child-

  • Low birth weight
  • Low iq

Monitoring-
Monitoring has to be done during all the 3 trimesters of pregnancy. Take the advice of a thyroid specialist as pregnancy is a very delicate issue wherein the health of mother & baby, both, is involved.
 

Hyperthyroidism- it is a condition characterized by excess production of the thyroid hormones. It is a more serious condition than hypothyroidism as it has more adverse effects on the body. Also, the treatment can be tricky & complicated at times. Hence, a consultation with a thyroid specialist is a must. 

Signs & symptoms-

What are the adverse effects of untreated hyperthyroidism?

  • Heart problems (rapid heart rate, heart failure)
  • Brittle bones/osteoporosis
  • Eye problems (exophthalmos)
  • Red swollen skin.

A sudden intensification of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism (thyroid storm) could lead to fever, rapid pulse & even acutely disturbed state of mind.

Care to be taken by persons with thyroid problems-

  • Consult a thyroid specialist if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.
  • Take medications as advised by the doctor.
  • Do not skip medicines
  • Do not change/ stop medications without the advice of the doctor.
  • If the symptoms persist or return, consult your doctor.
  • Follow a healthy & nutritious diet.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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