Thyroid Problems: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Thyroid problem involves a number of other disorders that are associated with the thyroid gland. So what is a thyroid gland? Well, it is a gland that is situated in the front of the neck and which is shaped like a butterfly. Basically, this gland helps your body use energy and plays an integral role in the way in which your body responds to many things.

In simple terms, the thyroid gland produces hormones that are needed for the normal functioning of your body. Thyroxine is the main hormone that is produced by the thyroid gland and a small portion of it called triiodothyronine is produced which makes you feel active the whole day. Basically, this hormone is an energy booster for your body.

Thyroid

So how does the thyroid gland work? Well, the thyroid gland is usually regulated by your brain. In fact, there is a lot of connection between your brain and the thyroid gland. In times when the thyroid levels are low, your brain is said to produce a hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone. Sometimes the thyroid tends to produce excessive hormones and this can be categorised as hyperthyroidism because your thyroid is overactive and overly producing hormones.

What is Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid disease is something that is the result of various functioning styles of the thyroid gland. In simple terms, the thyroid produces hormones and in case it produces more hormones, then it is called hyperthyroidism and if it produces less, then such a condition is called hypothyroidism. However, this can lead to cancer that can make it difficult for you to consume food and water.

Symptoms of Thyroid:

Since the thyroid is a disease that involves hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, its symptoms vary accordingly.

1. Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism is a disease that happens when your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones that your body requires. Here are some symptoms of hypothyroidism.

  • Dry skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold
  • Weight gain
  • Swollen face
  • High cholesterol in the blood
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Low heart rate
  • Hair thinning
  • Depression

2. Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:

When the thyroid gland produces excessive hormones, hen the condition is called hyperthyroidism. Here are some signs that you might be suffering from hyperthyroidism.

  • Muscle cramps
  • constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rough skin
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling on face
  • The tongue tends to enlarge

Note: Most women are more likely to develop thyroid disease than men. Moreover, some problems that women would face are irregular periods, pregnancy-related health issues for the mother as well as the baby that can lead to miscarriages and other complications.

Causes of Thyroid Disease:

The causes of thyroid disease can be of many reasons. Since this disease is caused due to a number of issues, here is what causes this disease:

  • Inflammation of the thyroid causes thyroid disease.
  • If there is a cancerous tumour found on your thyroid, then this can definitely lead to thyroid disease.
  • Medical treatments such as thyroid surgery, radiation therapy including genetic disorders can cause thyroid disease.
  • Pregnancy can also cause these diseases and if this is left untreated it could lead to further medical complications for the mother and child. Some complications include miscarriages, premature birth and stillbirth.

Thyroid Disease Diagnosis:

Diagnosing this disease will require you to go through several tests that are requested by the doctor.  Here are some ways which are used by the doctor to diagnose thyroid disease.

  • Firstly, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and based on which he/she will perform a physical examination which includes a blood test.
  • If you are suffering from hyperthyroidism, then it may be easy for the doctor to diagnose it because its symptoms are clear. But the doctor may find it difficult to diagnose your condition if it is in its early stages.
  • Oe main test that the doctor will conduct on you is a blood test that’s called a thyroid function test that will help detect how the thyroid gland is working.
  • In extreme cases, a special test will be carried out using radioactive iodine. However, this test is called radioactive iodine uptake.

Note: If you are facing any of the above-listed symptoms of thyroid disease, make it a point to consult a doctor at the earliest and this will help save yourself.

Thyroid Disease Treatment:

Since thyroid disease has two types of conditions to deal with, the treatment also depends on these conditions. The two types of thyroid related problems are Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. Here are some of the most common ways in which these conditions are treated.

Hyperthyroidism Treatment:

Hyperthyroidism is a condition when your thyroid gland is over reactive, meaning it begins to produce excessive hormones that can make your body unstable. However, there a number of treatments available for treating this condition and moreover this will be treated on the degree of your symptoms.

  • Surgery: This treatment involves removing the thyroid. There are some risks that are associated with this treatment such that it can damage your vocal cords. This treatment is recommended only for certain kinds of hyperthyroidism. So, make it a point to consult your doctor at the earliest.
  • Medications: These medications are antithyroid in nature and can prevent your glands from producing more hormones or in certain cases fewer hormones.
  • Radioactive Iodine: Basically, radioactive iodine is a treatment helps in destroying the thyroid and reduces your symptoms. In simple terms, this treatment stabilises hyperthyroidism from producing excessive hormones.

Note: Before opting for any of the above-listed treatments, you need to understand the potential risks associated with the treatment.

Hypothyroidism Treatment:

Hypothyroidism is a disease that happens when your thyroid gland is underactive, meaning it is produced only fewer hormones. Here is how this condition is treated.

  • There is a standard treatment that involves antithyroid medications that will reverse some symptoms of this condition.
  • You will be asked to consume levothyroxine, which is an oral medication that you will need to take once every day. Since hypothyroidism is a lifelong condition, you will have to strictly take this medication. Basically, levothyroxine replaces missing hormones and stabilises your condition.

Note: The above-listed information will help you understand why this treatment is usually given in general. However, it is advised that you consult a doctor as this condition depends from person to person based on the severity.

FAQs

Thyroid disease involves two types of thyroid conditions called hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism which can leave you fighting with a lifelong condition. However, here are some frequently asked questions that will shed some more insight on this topic.

1. What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism in infants?

Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects mostly middle-aged women, including older women. However, its symptoms differ from infants to adults. Here are some signs and symptoms of infants having this disease.

      • Jaundice
      • Difficulty in breathing
      • Popping out tongue
      • Constipation
      • Extreme sleepiness
      • Mental problems

Note: If this disease is left untreated, then your newborn may develop problems such as feeding and have abnormal growth. This disease can affect the newborn in such a way that they can develop certain mental disorders that can be life-threatening.

2. What foods are not good for thyroid?

There are many foods that you will have to avoid if you are suffering from thyroid. In fact, a necessary change in your diet is something that your doctor will expect out of you. Here are some general foods that you will have to avoid.

      • Bread and cereals will have to be avoided because these foods contain gluten which can be dangerous for you.
      • Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and cabbage need to be avoided.
      • Also, certain fruits like strawberries, peaches and pears need to be avoided.

3. Can you live without a thyroid?

Though your thyroid is essential for numerous reasons, it is also possible that you can live without one. Hypothyroidism, for instance, requires individual treatment and treating it with thyroid hormone replacement therapy can still make you live for long.

4. What happens if hypothyroidism is left untreated?

Firstly, you need to understand that treating this disease can be a lifelong challenge and if in case this condition is left untreated, then you might be dealing with something that is life-threatening. However, here is what could possibly happen if your thyroid disease is left untreated.

Heart problems such as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, heart failure.

Slow mental understanding and depression.

      • Infertility based issues.
      • You may also develop goitre which is a disease that may cause severe self-confidence issues for the way you appear. You may also face problems with swallowing and consuming food.

Thyroid problems consist of two different types of diseases such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism that can be life-threatening if it is left untreated. However, if you are facing any of the above-listed symptoms of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, then make it a point to get in touch with your doctor at the earliest. Keep in mind that prevention is better than cure.

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