Thyroid problems are one of the most common ailments that can affect the human body. Thyroid is an endocrine gland and produces essential hormones like thyroxin. Hormones produced by thyroid gland are very crucial for the metabolism of the body. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and tumors are the most common thyroid problems. Symptoms associated with thyroid problems appear slowly and is therefore often misdiagnosed.
Under active thyroid or hypothyroidism is mainly caused due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This thyroid problem is found commonly in women. The cause of it is mistaken identity. In it, the antibodies attack the thyroid gland. Obesity, lack of interest, sensitivity to heat and cold, and memory loss are some of the common symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Those diagnosed with hypothyroidism have low level of thyroxine. Treatment is mainly in the form of thyroid hormone pill. The medication is often a life- long commitment, with varying doses.
In hyperthyroidism, the level of thyroxine is very high and is caused mainly due to Grave’s disease. Middle-aged women are more prone to this thyroid problem. Weight loss, abnormal heartbeat, fatigue, unusual bowel movements, nervousness, and irritability are the common symptoms. Since the symptoms appear late, it is often misdiagnosed. Bulging of eyes and double vision are symptoms found in some patients. Radioactive iodine is the main treatment given for hyperthyroidism. In this treatment, a part of thyroid gland is destroyed to reduce the amount of thyroxine produced. An under active thyroid is the main side effect caused by this treatment. Medications used to treat thyroid problems mainly slow down the activity of the thyroid gland. Drugs for hyperthyroidism often have serious side effects.
Lumps or thyroid nodules are mostly harmless. However, certain lumps are cancerous. A ‘fine needle aspiration biopsy’ done in doctor’s office is the most common method used to detect whether a lump is cancerous or not. If the nodule is cancerous, then surgical removal is the only option.