Thyroid problems are mostly classified under two main categories; hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is characterized by an underactive thyroid gland that ceases to produce sufficient thyroid hormone required for the body to function on average. Reversely, hyperthyroidism refers to a thyroid gland that works too much in producing the thyroid hormone thus, troublesome normal physical function. Both these situation tend to be more common in women than in men, with hypothyroidism being more common in women over 50. The following gives you a general impression on the important symptoms of these conditions, their causes, and treatment plan.
Common Thyroid Problems and their Symptoms:
Mental and physical fatigue
Mood changes or changes in normal behavior
Joint or muscle pain
Weight gain without any increase in calories
Slower metabolism of alcohol
Dry hair and dry skin
Thinning and warming of the skin
Muscular weakness and hand tremors
Diarrhea or loose motions
Enlarged thyroid gland
An autoimmune disorder, it is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, it occurs when the protected system attacks the thyroid gland, with hypothyroidism as an immediate repercussion.
Sometimes, medicines that are administered to manage hyperthyroidism could also result in a permanent form of hypothyroidism. Treating cancer that has affected the head and neck region with radiation therapy, may also hamper the normal function of the thyroid gland resulting in hypothyroidism. The same could also be a consequence from a surgery that removes a large portion or all of the thyroid gland. Certain psychiatric medications could also be one of the offenders.
In rare cases, an underactive thyroid gland could be a result of a birth defect, broken pituitary gland, pregnancy, or deficiency of Iodine.
An autoimmune confusion, it triggers the thyroid gland to secrete more hormones than what is required.
It refers to an idiopathic condition of swelling of the thyroid gland. The swelling causes the gland to release too much hormones into the bloodstream.
Thiscondition is characterized by the configuration of nodules on both sides of the thyroid gland. These nodules typically cause the thyroid gland to enlarge. Now it may happen that these nodules may start releasing too much thyroid hormone into the bloodstream.
Usually given medication for hypothyroidism includes artificial forms of thyroid hormone, such as levothyroxine. This medicine replaces the hormone that the thyroid gland is unable to make thus; it aims at restoring sufficient hormone levels and stabilizing bodily functions. The good news is, this drug is not usually connected with any side effects. Before administrating drugs such as levothyroxine, have a word with your doctor if you are already on other medications, such as iron supplements, cholestyramine aluminum hydroxide or calcium supplements. These medicines may curb the body's ability to absorb levothyroxine.
Treatment, here, is focused on suppressing the over-production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. For lowering, eliminating or supplementing hormone production, there are several conventional medicines. However, treatment is governed by the age and physical condition of the affected person and severity of the illness. It includes the use of radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers, and surgery . Surgery, however, is required only in a few cases.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the most common problems connected with the thyroid gland of the body. Apart from these two, a rare kind of thyroid disease that may occur is thyroid cancer.
There are no symptoms at an initial stage, but as the cancer grows it may cause:
The formation of a painless swelling that can be feeling right below the Adam's apple; the main symptom.
Hoarseness that occurs for no apparent reason.
Difficulty swallowing, sometimes breathing.
Neck pain or pain in the throat.
Luckily, most patients can be cured with treatment. The treatment plan comprises surgical procedure to get rid of the complete or most of the sick gland, and removal of lymph nodes in the neck that might have been affected by the cancer. Other treatment procedures such as taking the medicine levothyroxine for life, radioactive iodine, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy may be followed post surgery.