Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid Disorders

One evening, while getting ready for a party, you realize that you don’t fit in your favorite dress anymore – disheartening, isn’t it? You may think that this may be due to the cheese-burst pizzas, burgers, and all the fries, but your thyroid profile test tells a different story.

Weight gain, or weight loss, irregular or heavy menses can indicate a problem in the thyroid gland.

How is thyroid gland important for your body?

How is thyroid gland important for your body?

Thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland present below Adam’s apple in the front of windpipe. It produces thyroid hormone and helps regulate various functions of the body such as metabolism, growth, development and temperature.

What causes a thyroid gland to become dysfunctional?

Thyroid gland can become dysfunctional due to various reasons including:

· Thyroiditis (Inflammation of the thyroid gland)

· High thyroxine or low TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels

· Surgical removal of thyroid gland

· Damage from radiation treatment

· Autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland (body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the cells of thyroid gland)

· Thyroid nodules (abnormal growth’s in or on the thyroid gland)

· Thyroid cancer

What happens to a person who has a dysfunctional thyroid gland?

A dysfunctional thyroid gland can lead to hypothyroidism (inadequate amount of thyroid hormone) or hyperthyroidism (excessive thyroid hormone). Several disorders arise due to a dysfunctional thyroid gland including Hashimoto’s disease, goiter (swelling of the thyroid gland) or Grave’s disease.

He/she usually experience symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, weakness and aches in muscles, heavy and irregular menses, memory problems, slow heart rate, coma, constipation, itchy and dry skin.

How can I prevent hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism?

It may not be possible to prevent hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. However, including iodized salt in the diet can help prevent hypothyroidism that occurs due to iodine deficiency. Also, avoid eating too much of iodized salt, fish or seaweed, to prevent hyperthyroidism.

Can a dysfunctional thyroid gland be treated?

Treating a dysfunctional thyroid gland depends on the problem that needs to be corrected. If a person has a problem of hypothyroidism, it is can be corrected by helping restore the thyroid hormone. This can involve the use of drug known as levothyroxine. If hypothyroidism is left untreated, it may cause infertility, cardiac arrest, heart rhythm problems, osteoporosis, diabetes or weight gain.

Hyperthyroidism can be treated by drugs such as propylthiouracil and methimazole, which block the T3 and T4 hormone production, radioactive iodine treatment which disables the thyroid gland or thyroid surgery to remove a part or entire thyroid gland. If hyperthyroidism is left untreated, it may result in serious problems of heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle and fertility.

Can children have a dysfunctional thyroid gland?

Children can also have a dysfunctional thyroid gland, which may result in the following thyroid disorders:

· hypothyroidism

· hyperthyroidism

· thyroid nodules

· thyroid cancer

Thyroid disorders in children may be present at birth (such as congenital hypothyroidism) or occur later in life due to a surgical removal of the gland, disease (such as thyroiditis or autoimmune hypothyroidism) or treatment for another health condition.

A child with low levels of thyroid hormone may experience symptoms such as slow heart rate, weight gain, dry and thin hair, dry skin, fatigue, constipation.

A child with high levels of thyroid hormone may experience symptoms such as rapid heart rate, shaking, bulging eyes, irritability, poor sleep, weight loss or intolerance to heat.

Does managing stress reverse your thyroid disease?

Stress can increase resistance of thyroid receptor cells to the thyroid hormone and weaken your immune system. Yoga, meditation and exercise help in decreasing stress levels which can help in reversing your thyroid disease.

Can a woman with hypothyroidism get pregnant?

Hypothyroidism can affect many different aspects of ovulation and menstruation. Having low levels of thyroxine or T4 or elevated thyroid releasing hormone leads to high prolactin levels. This may cause either no egg release during ovulation or an irregular egg release, which makes it difficult to conceive. It can also cause low basal body temperature, high thyroid peroxidase antibodies and ovarian cysts which can lead to pregnancy loss or inability to become pregnant.

How does hypothyroidism affect a pregnant woman?

When a pregnant woman has hypothyroidism. It may result in miscarriage, pre-term birth, death of the fetus and a defect in fetal neurocognitive development. Your risk for postpartum thyroiditis is higher, if you have a family history of thyroid disorders, chronic viral hepatitis and type-1 diabetes.