Medical Perspectives | Others

September 20, 2020



Have you noticed a sudden loss in weight, even without dieting? Are you feeling lethargic or hyperactive? Having recurring headaches with no clear cause? If you have experienced any of these, your thyroid might need some attention.

 

Did you know that one gland regulates metabolism and affects how all the organs work? That’s basically what the thyroid gland does, as it produces hormones which determines the body’s use of energy.

 

When the thyroid gland malfunctions then it may lead to thyroid disease, which ranges from producing too little hormones or hypothyroidism or having too much hormones or hyperthyroidism. The impact of any of these thyroid diseases comes with attendant risks. We look at three of the most common disorders and how they affect the body.

 

Goiter

  • What it is: basically an enlarged thyroid gland
  • Cause
    • Lack of iodine
    • Graves’ disease, when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland
    • Hashimoto’s disease, autoimmune disorder that damages your thyroid and leads to less production of hormonies
    • Multinodular goiter
    • Solitary thyroid nodules
    • Thyroid cancer
    • Pregnancy
    • Inflammation or Thyroiditis
  • Symptoms
    • Swelling at the basic of the neck
    • Tight feeling in your throat
    • Coughing
    • Hoarseness
    • Difficulty swallowing and/or breathing
  • Risks/Dangers
    • Fatigue
    • Weight gain or weight loss
    • Irritability
    • Difficulty in sleeping

 

Hypothyroidism

  • What it is: occurs when not enough thyroid hormones are produced, thus resulting in slow metabolism. Simply put, it is “a disease of too little thyroid activity”.
  • Cause:
    • autoimmune thyroiditis which is inflammation caused by the immune system,
    • result of medical treatments, such as surgical removal of parts or entire thyroid gland.
  • Symptoms: signs of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weakness, weight gain or difficulty in weight loss, hair loss, muscle cramps, memory loss
  • Risks/Dangers
    • increased demand to produce hormones may lead to enlargement and the formation of a goiter
    • symptoms will escalate, if left untreated
    • rarely could lead to complications such as depression, heart failure or coma
  • What it is: overproduction of thyroid hormones, leading to increased metabolism
  • Cause:
    • Graves’ disease wherein the immune system attacks the thyroid
    • toxic multinodular goiter which are lumps in the thyroid gland that trigger excessive production of hormones
    • “hot” nodules which produces too much hormones
    • excessive iodine consumption
  • Symptoms: tremors, nervousness, fast heart rate, fatigue, intolerance for heat, increase in bowel movements, increased sweating, concentration problems, unintentional weight loss
  • Risks/Dangers
    • Heart problems, including atrial fibrillation or heart rhythm disorder which increases risk for stroke and congestive heart failure, from inadequate circulation of blood in your body
    • Brittle bones or osteoporosis, as too much thyroid hormones impacts on ability to utilize calcium into your bones
    • Eye problems which can lead to vision loss
    • Red, swollen skin, often on shins and feet
    • Thyrotoxic crisis which is defined as a “sudden intensification of your symptoms, leading to a fever, a rapid pulse and even delirium

 

Hyperthyroidism

 

Should any of these symptoms be experienced, consult your medical professional right away to get a clear diagnosis and proper advice on treatment. Staying healthy and being well should be a daily goal, and keeping informed is the first step to health and wellness.

 

[1] Stoppler, M. [2018, August]. Thyroid Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/thyroid_disorders/article.htm#what_are_the_specific_kinds_of_thyroid_disorders

 

[2] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. [2017, December]. Thyroid Disease & Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/pregnancy-thyroid-disease

 

[3] Mayo Clinic Staff. [2018, March]. Goiter. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/goiter/symptoms-causes/syc-20351829

 

[4] Mayo Clinic Staff. [2018, March]. Goiter. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/goiter/symptoms-causes/syc-20351829

 

[5] Mayo Clinic Staff. [2018, March]. Goiter. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/goiter/symptoms-causes/syc-20351829

 

[6] Norman, J. [2019, feBRUARY]. Hypothyroidism: Overview, Causes, and Symptoms/Part 2. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone-0

 

[7] Norman, J. [2019, feBRUARY]. Hypothyroidism: Overview, Causes, and Symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone

 

[8] Norman, J. [2019, feBRUARY]. Hypothyroidism: Overview, Causes, and Symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone

 

[9] Stoppler, M. [2018, August]. Thyroid Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/thyroid_disorders/article.htm#what_are_the_specific_kinds_of_thyroid_disorders

 

[10] Aleppo, G. [2018, July]. Hyperthyroidism Overview. Retrieved from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperthyroidism/hyperthyroidism-overview-overactive-thyroid

 

[11] Stoppler, M. [2018, August]. Thyroid Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/thyroid_disorders/article.htm#what_are_the_specific_kinds_of_thyroid_disorders

 

 

[12] Stoppler, M. [2018, August]. Thyroid Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.medicinenet.com/thyroid_disorders/article.htm#what_are_the_specific_kinds_of_thyroid_disorders

 

 

[13] Mayo Clinic Staff. [2018, November]. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659

 

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