Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that is responsible for the secretion of hormones (namely T3 and T4) that control the metabolism of the body. Metabolism is your body’s ability to break down food and store it as energy. Thyroid also secretes calcitonin which regulates calcium levels in the blood.

Thyroid gland disorders are common. A staggering 42 million Indians suffer from thyroid disorders. Women are more likely to develop thyroid disorders compared to men. The risk of developing thyroid disorders increases with age but it can affect people of any age.

Some common types of disorders associated with the thyroid gland are:

  • Hypothyroidism-under secretion of the hormones
  • Hyperthyroidism- over secretion of the hormones
  • Goiter- enlargement of the gland

How to identify thyroid disorders:

  • Hypothyroidism can entail
    • unexpected weight gain
    • abnormal menstrual cycle
    • slower heart rate
    • fatigue and lethargy
    • swelling and pain in joints
    • increases sensitivity to cold
    • hair loss
    • depression
    • dry skin and brittle nails
    • constipation
    • brittle bones
    • rise in blood cholesterol levels
  • Hyperthyroidism can entail
    • unexpected weight loss
    • vision problems
    • irritability
    • increased heart rate
    • irregular menstrual cycle
    • nervousness
    • increased body temperature resulting in excess sweating
    • change in appetite
    • difficulty sleeping
    • hair loss
    • increases blood sugar levels
    • muscle weakness
  • Goiter may have no symptoms but some people may experience a swelling in the throat area, coughing, difficulty in swallowing and breathing, hoarseness in voice.

Thyroid disorders may be mistaken for menopause among women in their 50s. In order to be sure, it is best to ask your doctor to give you a blood test to be sure of the cause of the symptoms. It is also important to check your neck area i.e. below your Adam’s apple and above your collar bone for any lumps or bulges.  It is advisable to get your thyroid checked regularly after a certain age or if you are genetically predisposed to thyroid disorders.

Treatment

The most common method of treating hypothyroidism is by taking thyroid hormone pills. Visible effects are noticed in a couple of weeks after taking the pills. It may increase energy levels and lower cholesterol and induce weight loss.

Hyperthyroidism is treated by anti-thyroid medication which reduces the hormones produced by the gland. Another option is radioactive iodine which destroys the gland over a period of time. This may be achieved by surgery also. Following this patients are given thyroid hormones in pill form.

In case of goiter, treatment is by way of medicines to regulate hormone levels and to reduce the inflammation. Surgery is also considered an option in extreme cases.

A thyroid disorder if left untreated can lead to serious complications leading to heart enlargement, memory loss, stroke to name a few. Make an appointment with your doctor if you think you may have symptoms. Eating right and getting enough exercises along with medications can help you keep it under control.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above please reach out to the qualified medical team at One Life Home Healthcare, where through rigorous approach of medical doctor visit at home, nursing services and home and diagnostics at home we can diagnose, manage and potentially cure thyroid issues at the comfort of your home.

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