Thyroid diseases are more common in India. It has been estimated that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases. In general, a lack of knowledge of thyroid diseases can lead patients to go undiagnosed. A woman is about five to eight times more likely to be affected than a man.
Know Your Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is located in the anterior aspect of the neck. It sits between the collar bone and Adam’s apple. It is a butterfly-shaped gland, smaller in middle with two wings that extend around the side of the throat. It regulates heartbeat, breathing, body weight, muscle strength, moods, and temperature.
The thyroid can be either overactive or underactive and both conditions can lead to health problems.
Common Thyroid disorder and their Symptoms
The most common thyroid diseases are goiter, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid cancer.
Goiter refers to the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. A goiter can occur in a gland that is producing too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little hormone (hypothyroidism). Causes of goiter include iodine deficiency, autoimmune diseases, genetic problems, and thyroid cancers.
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Major symptoms include fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin, menstrual problems, depression, puffy face, muscle weakness, impaired memory, unexplained weight gain, and enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). There can be a number of causes for hypothyroidism including autoimmune diseases, hyperthyroidism treatments, radiation therapy for head and neck cancers, thyroid surgery, iodine deficiency, and certain medications.
Hyperthyroidism is also known as an overactive disorder. In this condition, the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormones. Major symptoms include heat sensitivity, unintentional weight loss, even appetite, and food intake may be the same or increase, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, irritability, tremor, and sweating. This condition occurs due to autoimmune diseases and hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules.
Thyroid Cancer: People Should Know
Thyroid cancer is one of the least deadly types of cancer. The exact cause of most thyroid cancers is unknown. Thyroid cancers are more common in women than men. It occurs most frequently between the ages of 20 and 60 years. Symptoms include lump or swelling in the neck, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing, and voice change. Because the exact cause of most thyroid cancers is unknown, it is not possible to prevent them at this time.
There may be a higher risk for developing thyroid disease if you have a family history of thyroid disorders, certain medical conditions such as pernisiousanaemia, type I diabetes mellitus, and rheumatoid arthritis, more than 60 years and female gender.
Sometimes, thyroid disease can be difficult to diagnose. Fortunately, there are tests that can help to diagnose. These tests include blood tests and imaging studies.
A thyroid function test is the most definitive way to diagnose thyroid problems. These tests are done in blood samples. It is used to diagnose hypo or hyperthyroidism.
Tests to identify the thyroid enlargement and nodules
These tests include ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI scan. FNAC and biopsy may be used to rule out thyroid cancers.
The self-neck check can help us to find thyroid lumps or enlargement on the thyroid gland. Because the first clue that something is wrong is a lump in the neck.
The thyroid gland is not visible in normal individuals. The vast majority of thyroid cancers grow slowly. So doing a self-examination of the thyroid may help us to find a problem earlier. The following steps are necessary to perform thyroid neck checks at home. Use a mirror and focus attention on the middle part of the neck. Then tilt your head back and swallow a sip of water. Look for any lumps and bumps. If find something, consult a doctor immediately.
Treatment for thyroid diseases can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment depends on the cause of the condition. For thyroid diseases stemming from the over – or – under production of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism needs treatment that will slow down the making of thyroid hormone, while hypothyroidism needs hormone replacement. Drugs and surgery are usually effective ways to adjust hormone levels.
The best way to treat thyroid disorder
Several nutrients are important for optimal thyroid health. Iodine-rich foods like fish, dairy, eggs, and iodized salt, selenium-rich foods include nuts, legumes, zinc-rich foods like beef, chicken.
Many nutrients may harm thyroid health. Goitrogens may interfere with the normal function of the thyroid gland. Common foods containing goitrogens are soy food, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and strawberries.
The ways to prevent thyroid problems are quit smoking, eat less soy, asking for a thyroid collar during x rays to protect the thyroid gland from radiation, self-thyroid checks, and regular doctor checkups.
Thyroid disorders are one of the most underdiagnosed and neglected medical problems, and the lack of general patient knowledge may be of considerable concern. Awareness can benefit many individuals who have thyroid disease and are unaware of their problem.
Dr. Mehta’s Hospitals