Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland present at the base of the neck. This gland produces thyroid hormones namely T3, T4 and TSH which are responsible for controlling metabolism of the body. Production of thyroid hormones in excess amounts or too less leads to thyroid disorders.
Types of thyroid disorders
Excess production of thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. It is also called as an overactive thyroid. According to research, the main cause of hyperthyroidism is graves' disease. Unexplained weight loss is one of the primary indications of hyperthyroidism.
Production of thyroid hormone in low amount results in a condition known as hypothyroidism. It is also called as an underactive thyroid. During this condition people may experience sudden weight gain often hinting at the onset of hypothyroidism.
Thyroid disorder is a common disorder predominantly detected in women. However, the disbalance of thyroid hormone is found in men as well. Some of the causes of thyroid disorders include autoimmune diseases, iodine deficiency, genetic disorders and certain medical treatments. Along with these, factors such as stress, faulty eating habits, erratic sleep patterns and family history plays a significant role in the onset of thyroid disorders.
Co-existing conditions along with thyroid disorders
Goiter, also known as goitre, is a condition in which the thyroid gland gets unusually enlarged. In most of the cases it may occur only for a short time and may go away on its own without any medical intervention and treatment.
However, in some cases, it could be a symptom of another thyroid disease which requires treatment; hence it is better to get your thyroid glands inspected by an endocrinologist to rule out other gland related disorders. The occurrence of goiter is more common in women as compared to men with special mention in women before or around menopause (45-55) years.
Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder which causes excess release of thyroid hormone. It is the main reason behind hyperthyroidism. Heat sensitivity, feeling of anxiousness, tremors and visible bulge in the eyes are prominent symptoms of graves disease, however it must be clinically correlated to rule out other medical conditions.
Thyroiditis is a condition in which the thyroid gland gets inflamed. It usually happens when the body's immune system functions abnormally making its own antibodies attack the thyroid gland.
Thyroid nodule, as the word suggests, is a small abnormal lump or mass formed in the thyroid gland often detected and confirmed during diagnostic scans. These nodules can be harmless and may cause few or no symptoms at all. However, it is specially recommended to seek proper medical advice if nodules are present, because in some rare cases these may take a cancerous turn too.
In thyroid cancer, the malignancy is found in the cells of the thyroid gland. The exact cause of thyroid cancer is yet unknown but some factors such as high exposure to radiation, family history of cancer and specific gene mutations in the body may attribute to thyroid cancer.
The symptoms of thyroid cancer include a lump in the neck region, changes in voice modulations, irritation and difficulty in swallowing and presence of swollen lymph nodes in the neck region. As you may have observed that swelling & inflammation of the thyroid is a common sign of all thyroid disorders, it is best to get thyroid tests and scans such as PET-Scans or ultrasounds done before drawing any conclusions.
Symptoms of thyroid disorder includes:
- Unexplained weight gain/ loss
- Mood swings
- Puffy eyes & swollen face
- Constant feeling of fatigue & tiredness
- Thinning of hair or alopecia
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Dry skin
- Experiencing chillness even in normal temperature
- Muscle & joint weakness
- Irregular heartbeat