By Dr. Anantharaman Ramakrishnan, Endocrinology
Silent thyroiditis is a condition which is characterized by inflammation in the thyroid gland, which leads to either high or low levels of thyroid hormones in the body. The thyroid gland is present in the neck, the role of which is to produce hormones which regulate metabolism and growth of the body. These hormones affect the body temperature and the heart rate and also help in the conversion of food to energy.
The symptoms of silent thyroiditis include fatigue, intolerance to heat and an urge to eat. Bowel movements may become more frequent along with irregular menstrual periods. Increased sweating, muscle pain and weight loss are some other common symptoms. In terms of psychological effects, it can cause sudden mood swings, thus making one anxious and jittery.
The exact cause of this disorder is not known. It is believed that it is caused when the immune system attacks cells of the thyroid gland, making it an autoimmune disorder. Women are more prone to this disorder as compared to men; women become very vulnerable to this disease post-childbirth. Certain medications which affect the immune system may also lead to this disorder.
In order to diagnose this disease, the doctor will carry out certain tests. A physical exam to check one’s heart rate, swelling in the thyroid gland and any other symptom is usually the first step. Based on the results of the physical exam, other tests are carried out to determine the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood.
The treatment for silent thyroiditis is based on the symptoms of the disorder. Medications such as beta-blockers are used to treat excessive sweating and irregular heart rate. In addition to the treatments, you will be asked to make some modifications to your lifestyle. From eating a healthy diet to exercising regularly, you need to make sure that you keep your body in optimal health.