Everything you need to know about Thyroid, its causes and symptoms
What Is Thyroid?
The thyroid is a tiny butterfly-like gland. It is located at the base of your throat just a little below the center of the throat. This gland is part of the complex network of glands which is also called the endocrine system. The endocrine system in the body is responsible for the cooperation and coordination of the various functions of the body. The Thyroid gland is also responsible for the production of hormones that help in the regulation of metabolism.
Causes of Thyroid
Various problems can arise when the gland produces the thyroid hormone in improper amounts. When the production of hormones is more than needed it is called Hyperthyroidism and when it is not up to the mark it is called hypothyroidism. When this happens your body may show certain worrisome symptoms which include fatigue, irritation, mood swings, weight loss and weight gain. Various diseases caused due to the increase or decrease in the levels of this hormone include:
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Graves’ Disease
- Goiter(enlarged) Thyroid
- Thyroid Nodules
In this condition, the thyroid gland becomes overactive which in turn results in overproduction of hormones. This can result in elevation of speed of the normal body activities. Hyperthyroidism is mostly found in women.
The major cause of this condition is Grave’s disease. It affects almost 70% of the people that are suffering from this condition.
Other causes of this condition may include:
- Inflammation Of Thyroid Gland
- Excessive Intake Of Iodine
- Side Effects Of Hormonal Medicines
- Overactive Nodules Of Thyroid Gland
- Non Cancerous Tumor In Pituitary Gland
Various symptoms may appear as a result of hyperthyroidism. This may include:
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Increase In Sweating
- Disturbance In Sleep
- Weight Loss
If you can see yourself suffering from any of the symptoms, you should consult your healthcare provider. Your healthcare professional may suggest some tests which can check the amount of thyroid produced by the glands. TSH or Thyroid stimulating Hormone and the actual thyroid levels are checked in the blood. A doctor might also suggest you a radioactive iodine test.
Treatments include medications and therapies which block the thyroid gland from producing more hormones.
Various types of treatment include:
If your healthcare professional gives you any radioactive therapy to completely destroy your thyroid gland then you have to take medications to prevent hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism. This condition occurs when the body is producing too little hormone. This happens when the gland is underactive and as a result it slows down many body functions.
Causes Of Hypothyroidism
This condition can be caused due to various reasons which include:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis(Surgery To Remove Your Thyroid Gland)
- Congenital causes
- Disorders of pituitary glands or hypothalamus
- Dry Skin And Hair
- High Sensitivity To Cold Temperatures
- Weight Gain
- Reduced Heart Rate
To diagnose this condition your healthcare provider may order you blood work. It will measure your TSH and thyroid in blood. Other imaging tests can be used to determine and diagnose.
Most of the time this condition is treated using hormone pills. It is important to take these pills in proper dosage because overuse can cause hyperthyroidism.
Prevent Thyroid Dysfunctioning
There is no way to prevent dysfunctioning of the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism is caused due to iodine deficiency. However iodine deficiency is rare these days because of the presence of iodine in table salt.
Hyperthyroidism is an auto-immune disorder and it is not preventable. Though it may be difficult for you to prevent thyroid disease, you can work on preventing complications by getting it diagnosed right away and following your treatment plan.
Tips For Coping Up
While it is impossible to prevent this condition but with proper diet and lifestyle it becomes easy to manage the symptoms and further complications. Here are some of the tips to promote good thyroid condition:
1. Limit Ultra Processed Foods
Studies suggest that ultra processed foods are highly linked with increased risk of hyper hyperthyroidism.
Some examples of ultra processed foods are :frozen foods, packaged foods, hot dogs, etc.
2. Include Proper Amount Of Iron In your Diet
Iron is the most used multivitamin needed in the production of thyroid hormone. If you are iron deficient you may have a high risk of having hypothyroidism.
Some iron rich foods are:
- Grains and Cereals
- Poultry Foods
- Red Meat
- Iron Supplements
The issues of the thyroid gland are usually caused due to overproduction or underproduction of the hormone in the body. Diagnosis of this condition is usually done using physical exam, blood tests and imaging tests. However, if there are nodules present near it a biopsy may be needed to rule out the chances of cancer.