The thyroid gland, responsible for much of our metabolism, is located in our necks. What we know commonly as Adam’s apple is where it is present. It is responsible for how quickly we burn our calories (the metabolic rate), the thyroid gland controls how much energy the body releases and much of the body’s temperature and the brain activity. All this makes it a hub of activity and very important.
When the thyroid gland produces less quantity of hormones than usual is it known as hypothyroidism. When it gets overactive and produces more quantity of hormones than the body needs, the condition is known as Hyperthyroidism.
Many factors contribute towards thyroid issues. Here are some of them.
- Iodine deficiency contributes immensely towards thyroid conditions, but in recent times, there have been improvements. Lesser thyroid issues are being reported due to iodine deficiency.
- Autoimmune diseases like Graves’ disease (causes hyperthyroidism) or Hashimoto’s disease (causes hypothyroidism) can make the body attack its immune system, specifically the thyroid gland.
- A bacterial or viral inflammation of the thyroid gland
- Benign lumps in the thyroid
- Cancer or tumors in the thyroid gland
- Radiation therapy, thyroid surgery, and some medications may also contribute to thyroid problems.
- Genetic vulnerability to thyroid diseases
- Sometimes, pregnancy can also create an imbalance in the body and lead to thyroid issues
The imbalance in thyroid gland’s working can be shown in the body in the form of many symptoms. Please note that not everyone suffers from all these, but if you have a majority of these, it could be a sign of the thyroid gland problems.
- Unexplained weight change- it could be excessive weight gain or weight loss
- Altered sleep patterns- insomnia or too much sleep are triggers to be concerned about thyroid diseases
- Feeling too hot or too cold compared to other people
- Nervousness and anxiety- the thyroid gland controls our brain activity and imbalance in the thyroid hormones can create confusion and panic in the mind of the patient.
- Change in bowel patterns- constipation or increased bowel movement are common refrains of the people who suffer from thyroid problems.
- Thinning hair, especially on the eyebrows
- Altered menstrual flow- too heavy or too scanty menstrual flow is not a good sign
- Infertility or miscarriages
- Bloating- this occurs due to increased fluid retention in the body
- Muscular soreness
For Overactive Thyroid: The doctors prescribe medicines that control the production of excessive thyroid hormones. Usually, if the patients respond well to the treatment and the hormone production comes under control, they can stop consuming the medicines. Thyroid surgery is the last resort if the medicines are ineffective in controlling the production of the excessive hormones.
For Underactive Thyroid: This condition needs lifelong treatment. The oral medicine is a synthetic thyroid hormone and can be very useful. People usually put on weight and do away with excessive fatigue and mental fogginess.