Thyroid Checkup a Must to Fight Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid Disorders - Need for a Thyroid Check

Authored by DesiMD Team

It is estimated that over 4.2 crore people in the country (ITS) are suffering from thyroid related disorders. The symptoms of thyroid dysfunction include apathy, cold intolerance, depression, weakness, infertility etc. Women are up to eight times more likely than men to suffer from thyroid problems. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped tissue in the lower neck. Two hormones are produced by the thyroid gland, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) which play a vital role in the metabolic processes in the body.

Thyroid checkup

Thyroid disorders result from a combination of environmental, nutritional and lifestyle factors. A Thyroid profile test basically estimates the blood levels of the thyroid hormones, Thyroxine(T4) and Tri-iodothyroxine(T3) and the Thyroid stimulating hormone(TSH) produced by the anterior pituitary gland. The test is done in the early morning on an empty stomach. The results help the doctor in evaluating the function of the Thyroid gland and plan the treatment if thyroid dysfunction is detected.

Thyroid disorders

Goitre:  occurs when the thyroid gland enlarges causing a swelling in the neck. This is usually the result of iodine deficiency in the diet. The treatment consists of adequate intake of iodine. Iodization of common salt has almost eliminated the problem.

Nodules: These nodules, firm in consistency, may develop in the gland. They may cause hyperthyroidism and about 10 per cent may be cancerous. The treatment of hyperthyroidism is with anti-thyroid drugs and for cancer either radiotherapy or surgery as indicated.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis: In some instances thyroid disorder develops because the body's immune system turns against the thyroid, attacking it with antibodies and causing an autoimmune disorder.

Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid problem. When the levels of T4 and T3 fall, the metabolism drops and causes a lot of symptoms which include weight gain, sleepiness, dry skin, hair loss, goitre, slow heartbeat, hoarseness of voice, depression etc. A sluggish thyroid may be the cause of high cholesterol and triglycerides, high BP, and even a heart attack. Inexplicable infertility has also been attributed to hypothyroidism.

Neonatal hypothyroidism: Neonatal or congenital hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is absent or is dysfunctional.  The Signs and Symptoms include a large anterior fontanelle, Poor feeding and weight gain, Jaundice, a large tongue, umbilical hernia and a mottled, cool, and dry skin. levothyroxine is recommended for treatment.

Cretinism: If neonatal hypothyroidism is left untreated, growth is stunted and the physical stature attained is that of a dwarf (Cretin). In addition, the skin is thick and flabby, the nose flattened and the abdomen protruded. The mental functions are impaired. If discovered early enough and treated the growth and mental function may revert to normal.

Hyperthyroidism: When the thyroid over functions, the metabolic rate shoots up leading to weight loss, fast heartbeat, insomnia, weakness, fatigue etc. Hyperthyroidism should be treated aggressively with anti-thyroid and other drugs with close monitoring by the physician. Graves' disease is a genetic disorder responsible for about 70 per cent of the cases of hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid problem like all other organs has to be attended to carefully and treated before the symptoms take a toll on the body.

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.