The thyroid disease is a very common problem these days. The thyroid gland is a small endocrine gland located in the throat. The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormone that is very important for the body. It helps to regulate the metabolism of the body. The thyroid produces the hormones known as thyroxine, also known as T4. This is the primary hormone produced by the gland. T4 gets converted into T3, that is the most active hormone. Thyroid gland is controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland that is located in the brain. Any problem in these two results in the abnormal functioning of the thyroid gland.
What Are The Different Thyroid Disorders?
Happens when thyroid gland produces an insufficient amount of the thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism affects female more as compared to males.
Hypothyroidism Signs and Symptoms:
- Tiredness: Thyroid hormone helps to balance the energy levels. People with low thyroid levels feel exhausted and gets tired easily. They are mentally tired all the time. They become exhausted easily. Though they sleep more, still they have the feeling of fatigue and unrested.
- Weight Gain: this is a very common observation in hypothyroidism. Usually, there is 6-8 kg weight gain in 1 year. One should observe their lifestyle. If you feel that, there is not much change in the lifestyle and still there is continuous weight gain, one should think towards thyroid problem. Hypothyroidism causes slow metabolism. This causes storage of the calories from the diet that you used to eat before.
- Hypersensitivity to Cold: Hypothyroidism causes a decrease in the basal metabolism. This leads to decrease in amount of the heat that the body generates. Hence, the person feels colder than before.
- Mood Swings: Many female reports with the problems of depression and anxiety. There is also decreased satisfaction in the sex lives. Postpartum hypothyroidism is a common problem. This causes postpartum depression. One also experiences the problem of lack of concentration.
- Constipation: It is the common complaint in the hypothyroidism. Low thyroid level affects colon causing the problems of constipation.
- Menstrual Irregularity: Hypothyroidism causes irregular menses or heavy bleeding during the menstruation. Female complaints of exceeding the menses dates or sometimes even skipping of the cycle. One should consult a gynaecologist for this and should go for the thyroid check-up.
- Skin Changes: Females with hypothyroidism complaints of dry skin, that is, frequent skin changes and worsening of the skin in the years.
- Thinning of the Hair: Hair follicles are regulated by the thyroid hormone. Low thyroid hormone causes the hair follicle to stop regenerating, resulting in hair loss. Quality of hair decreases. Hair becomes brittle and dry.
- Orthopaedic Problems: There is a decrease in the muscle strength resulting in pain in muscles and joints. Muscle cramps are a common complaint in the person with hypothyroidism.
- Cholesterol Level: High cholesterol levels are reported in hypothyroidism.
- Pregnancy Issues: Females are prone to high blood pressure during pregnancy. Hyperthyroidism can affect organs like kidney during pregnancy. There are more chances of stillbirth. There might be problems in baby’s growth and development. The baby could also be anaemic.
Happens when thyroid gland produced high amount of thyroid hormone.
Hyperthyroidism Signs and Symptoms:
- Sweating: People with hyperthyroidism experiences excessive sweating due to high metabolism. There is intolerance for the heat. Person feels hot than normal.
- Palpitations: Usually, heartbeat touches 100 beats/minute.
- Mood Swings: There are frequent mood swings. The person has anxiety, irritability and feels nervous.
- Weight Loss: There is an increase in the appetite. Despite increased appetite, there is a reduction in the weight. One experiences sudden weight loss.
- Increase bowel movements: There is the frequent bowel movement. The person tends to run frequently for the motion. There are frequent episodes of diarrhoea.
- Change in menstruation cycle: There is irregular periods and usually, the period is scanty.
- Fertility issue: Females often experience fertility problems. There are chances of early menopause. Usually, menopause occurs before the age of 40 years. There are more chances of miscarriage.
- Hair Problems: There is increased hair loss. Quality of hair deteriorates. There is thinning of hair. Hair is more brittle.
- Pregnancy Issues: Hyperthyroidism affects during pregnancy. It can affect both mother and child. There could be the problem of premature birth. Female are prone to high blood pressure during pregnancy. Hyperthyroidism can affect organs like kidney during pregnancy like in hypothyroidism.
- Hazard to the New Born: Untreated hyperthyroidism may lead to the fast heart rate of the new born that leads to heart problems of the baby like heart failure. There is an increase chance of poor weight gain. The child is born with low birth weight. There could also be breathing difficulty in the new born.
Presence of nodule, lumps or abnormal masses in the thyroid. This could be benign tumour or cancer of thyroid. Thyroid nodule produces more thyroxine, producing symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
It is common in adult female as compared to males.
Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer:
- Neck Swelling: There is a lump in the neck which might grow quickly. There is swelling and pain in the front of the neck. There could be trouble in swallowing.
- Hoarseness in the Voice: There is a regular hoarseness in the voice. This does not go away.
- Cough: There could be regular coughing which is not due to cold or viral.
Test for Detecting Thyroid:
- Family history thyroid problems are genetically driven. There are increased chances of thyroid problems if any close relatives have the thyroid issues. There are high chances of thyroid cancer if there is any family history of thyroid cancer.
- Blood test thyroid profile is an empty stomach blood test can detect thyroid problems. This measures levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). There is high level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
- The normal range of TSH is .4 – 4.0m U/L.
- If TSH measures more than this limit, then go for T4. If there is low T4 and high TSH, then it is hypothyroidism.
- If TSH measures less than this limit and increase T3 and T4 levels, then there is hyperthyroidism.
- Hypothyroidism: There would be slow heart rate. There would be the frequent increase in the weight. There might be swelling around the legs.
- Hyperthyroidism: Doctors feel the enlarged thyroid gland. There would be weight loss.
- Radio iodine uptake test – the patient is asked to take the oral dose of radioactive iodine. Iodine collects in the thyroid gland. Check after 2 hours, 6 hours and 24 hours. High uptake of radioactive iodine indicates high amount of thyroxine. This detects hyperthyroidism.
- Ultrasound: ultrasound helps to detect any kind of tumour or cyst in the thyroid gland. In case of any irregular mass, there is a need of FNAC to confirm the benign or malignant nature of the cyst.
- If I take the high dose of thyroid medicine, can it lead to high bone weakness?
- Hypothyroidism itself leads to weakness in the bones. Take high dose or less dose of medicine does not affect the bone weakness. One should take the adequate dose to maintain the levels of the thyroid.
- Can lifestyle modifications help to treat thyroid?
- Lifestyle modification will help to treat thyroid problems. Regular exercises and weight loss will help to treat hypothyroidism. Go for stress management. Choose a healthy diet.
- Is it right to take medications if there is a borderline increase in TSH?
- In such cases, usually endocrinologist waits for 1-2 month. If still there are clear features, then one has to take medications. Sometimes in female, certain features like breast tenderness, irregular menstruation, weight gain and difficulty in losing weight despite the exercises reflect hypothyroidism. In such cases, if there is an increase in TSH, then one should go for the medications. If the female who is planning to conceive, but has thyroid levels more than 4.0m U/L, then she should start taking medications to bring the levels below 2.5m U/L as per researches. Researches also state that now the limit for 2.5m U/L should not be the criteria to take the medicines. One should consult the endocrinologist for correct guidance.
The thyroid is a common problem these days. Usually, females are affected more than males. It helps to regulate the metabolism of the body. There are different types of thyroid problems like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, the thyroid nodule and the thyroid cancer. Increase in the thyroid hormone is hyperthyroidism. The decrease in the thyroid hormone is hypothyroidism. If blood test has increased TSH and low T4, this indicates hypothyroidism and vice versa indicates hyperthyroidism.