Thyroid-Signs, Causes, Types and Treatment

The thyroid gland produces important hormones for the body which has a big impact on all of the metabolic processes. One can suffer from a variety of thyroid disorders in their lifetime ranging from small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) to fatal cancer. Abnormal production of thyroid hormones is the most common disorder. Excess of these hormones leads to hyperthyroidism whereas inadequate hormone production results in hypothyroidism. The effects of these disorders are uncomfortable yet manageable in most cases.

Thyroid Disorders

Types of Thyroid Disorders

Hyperthyroidism

As the name suggests, hyperthyroidism is a condition of the thyroid, a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front part of the neck. It is responsible for the production of Tetraiodothyronine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3), primary hormones that control the usage of energy by cells. In addition, the gland is responsible for regulating metabolism through the release of T3 and T4 hormones.

Excess production of T4, T3, or both leads to hyperthyroidism.

Causes of Hyperthyroidism

Several conditions can cause hyperthyroidism. The most common cause is Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder. It forces antibodies to stimulate the thyroid into secreting the excess hormone. Graves’ disease is common among women. It is hereditary.



Other Causes

– Excess iodine

– Excess dosage of tetraiodothyronine through dietary supplements or medication

– Inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis) resulting in T4 and T3 to leak out of the gland

– Tumors of the ovaries or testes

– Benign thyroid or pituitary gland tumors

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It may cause the following health issues

High amounts of T4, T3, or both may result in a very high metabolic rate (hypermetabolic state). It can lead to high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and hand tremors. Patients may sweat a lot and even develop a very low tolerance for heat. Hyperthyroidism can lead to frequent bowel movements, irregular menstrual cycles (in women) and weight loss. The thyroid gland may swell into a goiter and visible.

Other Symptoms:
  • Anxiety
  • Increased appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Breast development in men
  • Hair loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fine, brittle hair
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:
  • Fast, irregular heart rate
  • Vertigo
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Treatment Options for Hyperthyroidism

There is the following treatment options  hyperthyroidism:

Medication

The most common form of treatment after diagnosing this health issue is prescribing antithyroid medications. These are prescribed to stop the thyroid from making hormones.

Radioactive Iodine

This is prescribed to adults with hyperthyroidism to destroy cells responsible for producing hormones.

Surgery

The doctor removes a part of the thyroid gland. The patient is prescribed thyroid hormone supplements to prevent hypothyroidism.

Lifestyle Changes

Adding a diet with calcium and sodium will prevent hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism

The condition occurs when the thyroid gland is unable to produce adequate hormones to function well. As discussed above, this gland is responsible for controlling the body’s metabolism. Hypothyroidism leads to retarded production of the hormone. It slows metabolism leading to weight gain.

The condition has no cure. Medications can help to alleviate the symptoms. Medication aims at improving the body’s thyroid function, restoring hormone levels, and helps patients lead a normal life.

Causes

The most common cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The body attacks its own immune system. Over time, thyroid stops producing hormones; leading to hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs more frequently in women.

Other Causes

Thyroid hormone resistance

Inflammation of the thyroid (acute thyroiditis and postpartum thyroiditis)

Thyroid signs

The following signs should be taken seriously. The patient should seek medical guidance if the following symptoms are observed:



Treatment

Suggested treatment options for Hypothyroidism patients are as under:

There is no cure for this condition. The doctor aims at supplementing the thyroid hormone.

Synthetic Thyroxine – It is prescribed for its identical features to the T4 hormone. Doctors usually recommend their patients taking the hormone in the morning on an empty stomach daily.

Regular Monitoring – This is recommended strictly wherein patients must go for blood tests.

Iodine and Nutrition – Deficiency of iodine is one of the most common causes of goiter development. Doctors suggest maintaining adequate levels of iodine.