What is Thyroid?
The thyroid gland is a small organ/gland located in the neck and is fixed between the windpipes. The function of this gland is to make other hormones that help manage the body’s vital functions. When the functionality of the thyroid gland is affected, the entire body’s functioning gets disturbed. When the body starts making an excess of the thyroid gland, you can develop the condition of hypothyroidism. When the body produces too little of the thyroid gland, you can create a situation of hyperthyroidism. Both health conditions are chronic and need immediate consultation from the healthcare professional, and if untreated, they can lead to health conditions such as high cholesterol and heart problems.
How does Thyroid Gland Work?
The thyroid gland is responsible for influencing all the metabolic activities in the body; metabolism is a process where the food you eat is broken down into the energy that keeps us going. The thyroid gland can control our metabolism activities with the help of two hormones, including T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine).
The leading role of these two thyroid glands is to ensure that the body sustains the correct number of hormones so that our metabolism works properly. These hormones are responsible for influencing all the metabolic processes in the body. When the functioning of this hormone is disturbed, it can lead to abnormal production of such hormones, thereby causing life-threatening disorders. The side effects of developing thyroid can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. However, the thyroid can be managed in cases where it is rightly diagnosed and treated.
What are the causes of Thyroid?
Following are the common causes of Thyroid:
When the thyroid gland is inflamed or swells inside or around it, it can lower the number of hormones produced by the thyroid.
This is an autoimmune condition in which the body cells attack and damage the thyroid gland.
It is a temporary condition that occurs during the postpartum period in women. With time, it may happen to subside.
People with iodine deficiency may be at an increased risk of developing Thyroid as the Thyroid Gland uses iodine to produce hormones that help in the smooth functioning of the metabolism.
In this condition, the thyroid gland may be in a situation of being enlarged gland and might be overactive, thereby producing too much of hormones. This is also known as diffuse toxic goiter.
In case when iodine is found in excess within the body, this can lead to a condition where the thyroid gland is producing too many hormones than needed.
What are the symptoms of the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid symptoms usually develop slowly and, in many cases, go unnoticeable at the start; however, as the metabolism keeps slowing down, the symptoms may become more evident. People may experience health issues such as excessive weight loss, weight gain, and fatigue at the onset.
An important thing to note is that thyroid symptom are like other medical conditions and senior stages of life. Additionally, the symptoms will vary according to the type of Thyroid.
Following are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
Following are the symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
- Weight Gain
- Heavy Menstrual Flow
- Dry skin and Puffy face
- Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- Depression and Memory issues
When To See the Doctor?
It can get challenging to diagnose Thyroid as the symptoms are like other medical conditions, and this can be misleading at times. However, it is essential to note that it is common to develop thyroid disease during pregnancy and aging. Additionally, the thyroid can also lead to fertility problems. Hence it is imperative to observe the signs and symptoms of the body and visit your doctor as soon as possible. Your healthcare provider may ask you to get some tests, such as blood tests, done to conclude and start the treatment. Additionally, doctors may provide oral medications that must be consumed regularly to keep the thyroid in check.
Disclaimer: This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals, namely the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which have expertise in writing for healthcare. In case of any symptom or doubt related to Thyroid, we strictly advise you to visit the doctor.