By Dr. Hardik Thakker, Internal Medicine
The thyroid gland produces hormones, which regulate the metabolism of the body. Thyroid disorders refer to the various conditions that affect your thyroid gland, and thereby disrupt your body’s hormonal balance.
Types of Thyroid Disorders-
The most common types of thyroid disorders are-
1) Hyperthyroidism- Hyperthyroidism results from the condition where your thyroid gland produces excessive hormones. An overactive thyroid gland leads to an increased metabolism. Grave’s disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism.
- Unintentional weight loss
- Increased sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Bulging eyes
- Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test.
- Your doctor may perform a Radioactive Iodine Uptake test to measure how much of iodine is being taken by your thyroid gland. Excessive absorption of iodine signifies an overactive thyroid.
- Anti-thyroid drugs (methimazole) prevent your thyroid gland from producing excess hormones.
- Beta-blockers are prescribed to control symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as anxiety, excessive sweating, rapid heart rate etc.
2) Hypothyroidism- Hypothyroidism results from the condition where your thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones. An underactive thyroid gland leads to poor metabolism. Hashimoto’s disease can be responsible for hypothyroidism.
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Increased susceptibility to cold
- Slow heart rate
- Hypothyroidism is usually treated with hormone-replacement therapy to increase the level of thyroid hormones.
- Preferred medications include Levothyroxine sodium, Liothyronine sodium.
3) Goiter- Goiter results from an enlarged thyroid gland. This condition is caused due to iodine deficiency in the body. Goiter can affect anyone at any age, but is more commonly seen in women above 40 years of age.
- Difficulty swallowing
- A lump on the neck
- Your doctor will carry out a physical exam to feel the area around your neck.
- A blood test will unveil the level of TSH, thyroid hormone and antibodies in the bloodstream.
- Ultrasound performed to check for nodules or swelling in the neck.
- Iodine doses or Radioactive iodine can help shrink the thyroid gland.
About 32% of all Indians are encountering various diseases related to thyroid. Severe thyroid problems can adversely affect one’s quality of life. Treating the condition at the onset can help you live a better, healthier life.