Thyroid disorders

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ located on the front side of the neck. The function of the thyroid gland is to make 2 thyroid hormones- T4 & T3. These hormones have an effect on nearly all the cells of the body. They are necessary for the efficient functioning of each & every cell of the body.


The thyroid hormones have to be in perfect balance for the efficient functioning of the body systems. Too little or too much thyroid hormone can have various deleterious effect on the body.


HYPOTHYROIDISM


This condition is characterized by insufficient or low production of thyroid hormones. This can lead to various symptoms like –


• Unexplained weight gain

• Tiredness & easy fatiguability

• Excessive sleepiness

• Hoarse voice

• Swellings on legs & feet

• Hair loss

• Constipation

• Loss of memory


Causes of Hypothyroidism


• Autoimmune thyroid disorder ( most common)

• Congenital ( from childhood)

• Drug induced

• Removal of thyroid gland ( surgery)

• Absence of Thyroid gland

• Disorder of pituitary gland

• Exposure to excess iodine


Who is at risk of Hypothyroidism?

• Women older than 35 yrs

• Having other autoimmune diseases

• Hereditary or family history of thyroid disordersx

• Having treatment with radioactive iodine or antithyroid medications

• Had thyroid surgery

•Pregnancy

• Constipation

• Loss of memory


Untreated hypothyroidism affects liver, kidneys, intestines, brain, heart, reproductive system ( infertility, repeated abortions)


What conditions are associated with Hypothyroidism?

Conditions like Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, anaemia ,depression, other autoimmune diseases.


HYPOTHYROIDISM & PREGNANCY

Pregnancy related hormones lead to decrease in thyroid hormone levels. Few reports suggests that up to 14% of pregnant women may have hypothyroidism. Untreated hypothyroidism in pregnancy can cause the following health problems in.


MOTHER

• High blood pressure

• Anaemia

• Post partum bleeding

• Congestive heart failure


FOETUS

• Stillbirth

• Growth retardation

• Congenital anomalies

• Premature birth

• Placental abnormalities


CHILD

• Low birth weight

• Low IQ


Monitoring

Monitoring has to be done during all the 3 trimesters of pregnancy. Take the advice of a thyroid specialist as pregnancy is a very delicate issue wherein the health of mother & baby, both, is involved.

HYPERTHYROIDISM


It is a condition characterised by Excess production of the thyroid hormones. It is a more serious condition than hypothyroidism as it has more adverse effects on the body. Also, the treatment can be tricky & complicated at times. Hence, a consultation with a thyroid specialist is must.


Signs & Symptoms

• Rapid heart beat

• Nervousness or Anxiety

• Hand tremors

• Mood swings

• Fatigue or muscle weakness

• Trouble with sleeping

• Weight loss

• Loose motions/ increased stool frequency.


What are the adverse effects of untreated hyperthyroidism?

• Heart problems ( rapid heart rate, heart failure)

• Brittle bones/osteoporosis

• Eye problems ( exophthalmos)

• Red swollen skin.


A sudden intensification of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism ( Thyroid storm) could lead to fever, rapid pulse & even acutely disturbed state of mind.


Care to be taken by persons with thyroid problems

• Consult a thyroid specialist if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above.

• Take medications as advised by the doctor.

• Do not skip medicines

• Do not change/ stop medications without the advice of the doctor.

• If the symptoms persist or return, consult your doctor.

• Follow a healthy & nutritious diet.