The thyroid is an endocrine gland situated at the base of your neck. The thyroid is shaped like a butterfly and is present just below the adam’s apple, in front of the windpipe. This plays a major role in regulating the body metabolism therefore it is important to know the treatment of thyroid disease.
The thyroid gland consists of two lobes which are connected by a bridge called the isthmus. This gland is reddish-brown in color because of the blood vessels in it.
Hormones Of Thyroid Gland
The two basic hormones of the thyroid gland are thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and calcitonin. T4 is present more abundantly than T3, with a ratio of 14:1.
The basic function of the thyroid gland is to release the T3, T4, and calcitonin hormones. These hormones play a major role in regulating the body’s metabolism by controlling heart, muscle, and digestive function, brain development, and bone maintenance. These hormones control the rate at which the cells and organs turn nutrients into energy and the amount of oxygen they use. That is why any complication in the thyroid gland shows a direct effect on your body weight.
Common Disease Of The Thyroid gland
We can broadly classify the thyroid disorders under hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Either these are a result of other diseases or other diseases are a result of these. The treatment of thyroid disease is quite simple.
Hypothyroidism is marked by an underactive function of the thyroid gland and less production of thyroid hormones. It can be caused by complications like surgery of thyroid gland, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or by simple damage to the thyroid gland. Unlike hyperthyroidism most of the cases of hyperthyroidism are mild.
Although the symptoms are mild, these can be very irritating and can hinder your normal functioning. The common symptoms are.
- weight gain
- slow heart rate
- dry skin
- sensitivity to cold
- memory issues
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by testing for TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and thyroid hormones. A high TSH and low T3 and T4 indicate an underactive thyroid hormone. The usual treatment is to take thyroid hormone medications, in doses prescribed by your doctor.
Hyperthyroidism is marked by an overactive thyroid hormone and overproduction of thyroid hormones. This condition is found mostly in women and is less prevalent in men. Graves’ disease or a nodule on the thyroid gland usually causes this disease.
The common symptoms include
- weight loss
- increased heart rate
- increased sweating
- trouble sleeping
The recommended test for hyperthyroidism is a blood test, which measures the amount of thyroxine and TSH. High thyroxine and low TSH levels indicate that your thyroid gland is overactive.
We can measure the activity of the thyroid gland through radioactive iodine. You will have to ingest the radioactive iodine to measure the activity of your thyroid gland. If the thyroid gland takes up the iodine quickly, your thyroid is hyperactive.
The treatment for hyperthyroidism aims at destroying the thyroid gland cells. Common treatment includes Antithyroid drug – which prevents the thyroid from producing its hormones, Radioactive iodine – damages the thyroid gland, and surgery- performed to remove your thyroid gland.
If your doctor suggests radioactive iodine or surgery, you will get hypothyroidism and you will have to take thyroid hormone pills.
Goiter is the enlargement of the thyroid gland. The main cause is iodine deficiency but overconsumption of iodine can lead to goiter too.
Although you can develop goiter at any age irrespective of your gender, this is more prevalent in people above the age of 40 and is more common in women. The common risk factors of goiter are family history, radiation exposure, pregnancy, and use of certain medications.
If you have a goiter, you might experience the following symptoms
- difficulty in breathing
- difficulty in swallowing
- coughing and wheezing
- Swelling and pain in the neck
- hoarse voice
Your doctor can diagnose your goiter by feeling your neck during a physical exam. Blood tests are also carried out to access the hormone levels. These blood tests are used to diagnose other thyroid illnesses, which are a cause of goiter.
Mild cases of goiter are not worthy of treatment but if it gets severe, the doctor might suggest a suitable treatment. Radioactive iodine is used to treat goiter that is caused by iodine deficiency. This shrinks the size of the thyroid gland. This treatment usually overlaps with the treatment for hypothyroidism and goiter is usually a symptom of hypothyroidism.
Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is another name of Hashimoto’s disease. This is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. In most cases, it occurs in middle-aged women but can occur at any age. It is an autoimmune disease and occurs when the body starts attacking its own cell and destroys the thyroid gland.
If your case is mild, you may have no apparent symptoms but severe cases come with severe symptoms. The common symptoms are.
- goiter or enlarged thyroid
- dry skin
- weight gain
Testing the level of TSH, T3, and T4 with the help of a blood test is often the first step when screening for any type of thyroid disorder. Your blood test will also show an abnormal number of antibodies if you have Hashimoto’s disease.
Although there is no cure for Hashimoto’s disease, hormone replacement therapy and surgery might be your best bet.
It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland then produces more hormones.
Graves’ disease can develop at any age and in any gender but it is more common in women between the age of 20 to 30. The common symptoms are the same as hyperthyroidism.
If a simple physical examination shows an enlarged thyroid gland your doctor might proceed with further testing. High levels of T4 and low levels f TSH are an indicator of graves disease. There is no way to cure graves disease but certain treatments can help in controlling the symptoms. The common treatment includes beta-blockers, antithyroid medications, radioactive iodine ( a common treatment of thyroid disease), and surgery.
Much like Hashimoto’s disease a successful treatment of graves disease can lead to hypothyroidism too.
The Bottom Line
Thyroid diseases might not be deadly but can be extremely disturbing and uncomfortable. To avoid this fatigue and prevent any serious complications you should consult an endocrinologist. This will help you in getting yourself diagnosed in time and get proper treatment of thyroid disease.
Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with top nutritionists in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.
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