Thyroid Explained: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
The thyroid is one of the endocrine glands located in our neck right above the collarbone. The primary function of the thyroid gland is to secrete hormones into the bloodstream, enabling effective metabolism. The condition where the thyroid glands fail to secrete enough hormones is called hypothyroidism. Similarly, in some cases, thyroid glands secrete more than the required amounts of hormones and this condition is called Hyperthyroidism. Thyroid issues can be quite problematic if not treated on time and often result in fatigue, weight gain, poor metabolism, and even thyroid cancer. This is why it is crucial to read into early symptoms of thyroid and get it treated.
Thyroid problems can occur in all ages right from infants to old people. This is also genetic in many cases and can impact several generations in the family. Some of the symptoms which can lead to future thyroid problems:
Sudden Weight Gain
Voice becoming hoarse
Frequent muscle soreness
What Causes Thyroid?
Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism are the two main causes of thyroid issues. Both these conditions lead to hormonal imbalance and can severely impact our health and lifestyle. Some of the causes for these are:
Hashimoto’s Disease– This is one of the most common causes of thyroid. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and damages the thyroid gland resulting in irregularity in the gland’s functioning. Hashimoto’s disease is passed down from one generation to another.
Thyroiditis – Thyroiditis is the condition where the thyroid gland is inflamed and is unable to produce hormones. The inflammation is caused by antibodies that attack the gland
Iodine deficiency- This is another common cause of thyroid problems among people across the world. Our thyroid glands use iodine to produce hormones and not consuming iodine in enough quantity leads to hyperthyroidism.
How is Thyroid treated?
Thyroid treatment depends on the specific condition that the patient has. In case he or she produces more hormones than needed, then they are provided with anti-thyroid medication that stops the glands from producing more. Radioactive iodine is another way hyperthyroidism can be treated. The radioactive iodine enters the gland and prevents it from making any more thyroid hormones. Surgery is another option for extreme cases and the gland will be permanently removed. However, this would mean that you will have to take replacement hormones forever.
In the case of Hypothyroidism, thyroid problems are treated by supplementing your body with enough thyroid hormone that the glands would usually produce. Levothyroxine is one of the commonly used drugs for this purpose.
One must be cognizant of their lifestyle and dietary habits to keep thyroid problems at bay. However, in some cases, thyroid issues may crop up genetically. In case there is a family history of thyroid problems, then an immediate check-up must be done.