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Hyper/Hypo Thyroidism Treatment

Hyperthyroidism

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a thyroid disorder in which a person’s thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces more hormones than normal. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland present in the lower neck and is responsible for producing the hormones- triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones play an important role in controlling the body’s metabolism. In Hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland becomes enlarged. This increases the body’s metabolism and results in sudden weight loss, fast or irregular heartbeat, and anxiety.

Symptoms

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Trembling hands
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Sensitivity towards heat
  • Swelling in the lower neck
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Excessive hair fall

Causes

Hyperthyroidism is caused when the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are produced in excess quantity. This condition may arise due to the following:

  • Graves’ disease: Graves’ disease is a condition in which the thyroid gland is stimulated by the antibodies produced by the immune system. This results in the production of excessive T-4 which results in hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroid nodules: Thyroid nodules are lump- like structures which are formed inside the thyroid gland and cause its enlargement.  This condition might increase the production of T4 hormone and lead to hyperthyroidism.
  • Inflamed thyroid glandIn some cases, the thyroid gland becomes inflamed for unknown reasons. This can cause the accumulated thyroid hormone in the gland to leak into the patient’s bloodstream. This condition is known as thyroiditis.

Risks

Diseases like hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease could be running in the family lines of a person and can get passed on to the next generation. Women are at a higher risk of having hyperthyroidism as compared to men.

Prevention

Hyperthyroidism cannot be completely prevented. However, the risk of developing hyperthyroidism can be reduced by adopting an active lifestyle which includes maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking and drinking.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor checks the presence of hyperthyroidism by examining the medical history of the patient. The doctor may also opt for a physical exam, blood test or a thyroid scan to confirm the presence of the disease.

 

Hypothyroidism

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a type of thyroid disorder which is caused when the thyroid gland becomes less active and produces fewer hormones than normal. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland present in the lower neck and is responsible for producing the hormones- triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones play an important role in controlling the body’s metabolism. Hypothyroidism disturbs the balance of hormones and chemical reactions that occur in the body.

Symptoms

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sensitivity towards cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Face feels puffy
  • Muscle pain
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Swelling and ache in joints
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning of hair
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Loss of memory

Causes

  • Autoimmune disease: Autoimmune disease is a disorder in which the immune system starts producing antibodies that damage the body’s own tissues. These antibodies disturb the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones and may lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Congenital disease: The congenital disease is seen in infants who may be born with a defective thyroid gland, an under- developed thyroid gland or with no thyroid gland.
  • Pituitary gland disorder: In this disease, the pituitary gland is unable to produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which might lead to hypothyroidism.
  • In some cases, women are diagnosed with hypothyroidism during or after pregnancy. If not treated properly, Hypothyroidism may lead to miscarriage, premature delivery or rise in blood pressure during the last three months of pregnancy.
  • Deficiency of iodine: Iodine is an important requirement for the production of thyroid hormones. It is found majorly in seafood, seaweed and plants grown in iodized salt. However, the intake of large quantities of iodine may also cause hypothyroidism.

Risks

  • The risk of developing hypothyroidism increases with age
  • Having autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus which is a chronic inflammatory condition
  • The disease could be transferred through the family genes
  • Treatment with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications
  • Exposure to radiation in the neck or upper chest area
  • Having a thyroid surgery
  • Pregnancy

Prevention

Hypothyroidism can’t be completely prevented. However, if a person is at a risk of having the disease, he or she should consult a doctor and get a screening test done. One should understand the risk factors, recognise the symptoms, and get an early diagnosis done to prevent complications. The complications may become severe if hypothyroidism is not treated properly.

How is it diagnosed?

The TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test is a blood test in which the doctor collects a sample of the patient’s blood and examines the levels of TSH and in some cases, the level of the thyroid hormone thyroxine present in it. A decrease in the level of thyroxine and an increased level of TSH help in detecting hypothyroidism.

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