Thyroid Disorders


Overview

The thyroid gland is an essential part of the human body responsible for the production of hormones that regulate metabolism, body temperature and enhance growth and development of the body. Abnormalities in the functioning of the thyroid gland can lead to several clinical complications within the human body. According to recent epidemiological studies by the American Thyroid Association, nearly 200 million people all over the world have some form of thyroid disease. Critical cases of thyroid disorders may even lead to thyroid cancer. Around 62,450 new cases of Thyroid Cancer have been reported recently.  Therefore thyroid disorders have increased the global mortality and morbidity rates to a considerable extent.

 

What are thyroid disorders?

Thyroid disordersThyroid disorders refer to a group of syndromes which arise due to dysfunctions of the thyroid gland that may cause increased or decreased secretion of thyroid hormones.

Reduced secretion of thyroid hormones leads to Hypothyroidism and increased secretion of thyroid hormones leads to Hyperthyroidism.

Other pathological conditions also arise due to dysfunctions of the thyroid gland namely- Thyroid nodules, Grave’s disease, Goitre, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Thyroid cancer.

In the following sections, each of these diseases will be discussed separately.

 

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland caused by reduced secretion of thyroid hormones, due to reduced activity of the thyroid gland. It basically denotes a partial or complete failure of the thyroid gland to release sufficient quantity of hormones (T-4 or Thyroxine and T-3 or Triiodothyronine) necessary for fulfilling the metabolic requirements of the body. In a few extreme cases, it is also called myxedema wherein a particular substance gets accumulated within the subcutaneous tissues under the skin, leading to swelling of the skin (edema) without pigmentation. In about 95% of cases, hypothyroidism results from dysfunctions of the thyroid gland and is called primary hypothyroidism. In a few other cases such as radiation therapy or birth defects, hypothyroidism may occur as a result of some primary clinical condition and is also called secondary hypothyroidism.

Causes of primary hypothyroidism are

  • Autoimmune thyroiditis (due to existing autoimmune disorders)
  • Birth defects (congenital hypothyroidism)
  • Iodine deficiency in the regular diet
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Past surgeries of the thyroid gland
  • Medications like lithium carbonate, para-aminosalicylic acid, thiourea drugs, sulphonamides and phenylbutazone

Causes of secondary hypothyroidism are-

  • Reduced secretion of pituitary gland hormones
  • Reduced secretion of Thyrotropin-releasing hormone or TRH
  • Congenital defects
  • Tumors or other anatomical defects of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus

Symptoms of hypothyroidism are listed below-

  • Swollenness of face and limbs (edema)
  • Coarse, dry and scaly pale skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Mild loss of hearing
  • Unusual hoarseness of voice
  • Extreme sensitivity to cold
  • General body aches
  • Extreme fatigue and drowsiness
  • Bowel incontinence (constipation)
  • Dizziness
  • Mental instability, forgetfulness and confusion
  • Drop of body temperature
  • Anaemia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced pulse rate
  • Abnormal weight gain
  • Joint pain
  • Increased blood cholesterol level
  • Memory loss
  • Irregular and abnormal menses
  • Muscle weakness
  • Ataxia in aged people (uncoordinated body movements)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Abnormal pressure on median nerve in the wrist causing numbness and weakness of hands)

 

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is the type of thyroid disorder that arises due to overactivation of the thyroid gland, which therefore produces excess quantities of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism often leads to thyrotoxicosis. Women are more prone to Hyperthyroidism than men.

Causes of hyperthyroidism are listed below-

  • Immunologic disorders like Grave’s disease and Thyroiditis
  • Toxicity due to thyroid nodules (Adenoma, Plummer’s disease)
  • Multinodular goitre

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism are as follows-

  • Abnormally increased heart rate (Tachycardia)
  • Extreme sensitivity to heat
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Profuse sweating
  • Bowel incontinence and frequent bowel movements
  • Laboured breathing (dyspnea)
  • Disturbed sleep (may lead to insomnia)
  • Vision impairments
  • Muscle weakness

Complications and long-term effects of Hyperthyroidism can be very serious. These are discussed below-

  • Cardiovascular disorders: These may encompass Tachycardia, Atrial fibrillation, Angina (chest pain due to a shortage of oxygen supply), Hypertension (due to increased blood pressure), Peripheral oedema and heart failure.
  • Ocular dysfunctions: These mainly include but are not limited to – Exophthalmos (bulged out eyeballs), Diplopia (double vision), optic nerve compression, corneal damage and finally loss of vision.
  • Skeletal problems: These include Osteopenia (loss of protein and mineral content of bones), Hypercalciuria (presence of calcium in urine) and bone fractures.

 

Goiter

Goiter is the pathological condition in which abnormal enlargement of thyroid gland occurs causing increased or reduced production of thyroid hormones.

The main causes of goiter are described below-

  • Iodine deficiency in the regular diet
  • Pregnancy (due to the production of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin hormone or HCG)
  • Inflammation (causes pain and swelling of the thyroid gland)
  • Grave’s disease (overactivated thyroid gland)
  • Hashimoto’s disease (underactive thyroid gland)
  • Multinodular goiter (fluid-filled nodules on both sides of the thyroid gland)

 

Grave’s disease

Grave’s disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces numerous antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, causing an increased secretion of thyroid hormones. Grave’s disease when left undiagnosed may lead to several reproductive complications in women like premature delivery or even miscarriage.

 

Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid disorders painSwollen fluid-filled lumps or nodules may be observed on both sides of the thyroid gland either singly or in groups. These nodules may be benign or malignant. Malignant thyroid nodules may lead to three types of cancers-

  • Epithelial cancer
  • Medullary cancer
  • Anaplastic cancer

 

Diagnosis

Thyroid disorders of any form need an accurate diagnosis. The following tests are usually recommended-

  • Blood tests (to measure levels of TSH and free T4)
  • Ultrasound ( to detect enlargement of thyroid nodules )
  • Radioiodine scan (to rule out thyroid cancer)
  • Thyroid fine needle biopsy

 

Treatment

  • Radioactive iodine – This can destroy part of the thyroid gland. This treatment method is used at low levels to make sure that it takes care of hyperthyroidism. If a larger portion of the thyroid gland is destroyed, it will lead to hypothyroidism.
  • A large dose of regular iodine – This treatment method does not destroy the thyroid gland, but helps in reducing the excess production of the thyroid hormone. This treatment method is used during thyroid storm (is caused by untreated or undertreated hyperthyroidism) emergency cases.
  • Anti-thyroid medications – These medications help in reducing the excess production of the thyroid hormone within 3-6 weeks. Heavy does may help, but also cause complications.
  • Surgery (thyroidectomy) – is required if there is a cancerous nodule. If a non-cancerous nodule is present and is causing troubles in breathing and swallowing; if the patient’s body is unable to respond to radioactive iodine and iodine treatment, this surgery is done. Once this surgery is done, the patient will have to be treated for hypothyroidism for the rest of their life.

 

Prevention

    • Do not smoke or consume any tobacco products and by-products.
    • Eat soy in moderate quantities.
    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Drink a lot of water.
    • Consult your doctor for a selenium supplement.
    • Get celiac diseases diagnosed and treated.
    • Make sure to get your TSH levels tested regularly.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

TL;DR?

Thyroid disorders

Facts

  • 27 million people have some form of thyroid disease, in the United States, while 13 million cases remain undiagnosed.
  • The thyroid gland regulates the metabolism of almost all the cells in the body. It helps to produce protein and increasing the availability of oxygen in the body.

Facts

  • Thyroid disorders disturb your hormonal disorders, making it difficult for women to conceive.
  • Imbalance in the thyroid hormone causes menstrual problems such as missed, heavy, frequent, irregular periods.

Facts

  • Thyroid disorders often tend to affect our emotions. Hyperthyroid patients develop anxiety and insomnia, whereas hypothyroid patients tend to suffer from depressive tendencies.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

Display this infographic on your website

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Maintain a healthy weight, don’t let yourself become underweight or overweight
  • Drink a lot of water as it will help keep your metabolism healthy.
  • Consume high amounts of fiber since thyroid disorders can cause digestive issues.
Don'ts
  • Ignore follow-ups and regular check-ups.
  • Neglect getting a TSH test done to check your thyroid levels.
  • Consume alcohol and caffeinated beverages.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal sex: Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However, how much fluoride…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
tasty protein foods chicken
Experts believe these are the best protein foods for you Why are proteins called the building blocks of life? Is the vegan diet really devoid of protein-rich foods?…
Glutathione: Probably the strongest antioxidant known to mankind An antioxidant with ample potential to transform your body, glutathione is one of the most critical substances secreted…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
Panera bread steak arugula
Panera Bread: The truth behind this “healthy” restaurant chain What to order and what to avoid when dining at Panera Bread ? Know more about this popular…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
Paleo diet man
Paleo Diet: Is eating like the Caveman the right way to go? Paleo diet is the world's oldest diet; dating back to 2.5 million years ago. Why is this prehistoric…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigous superfood you need to include in your diet today! Quinoa - what is so special about this native South American grain that has taken the world by…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You will never believe…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
bananas exercise
10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out how you can…
stevia side effects
Stevia: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another risky additive? Stevia is a plant native to South America.  It has been used as a natural sugar substitute and…
Pomegranate: Why are they called ruby red pearls of health? The shrub Punicagranatum yields a red fruit which is what you normally call pomegranate. The fruit is round…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and mind.Can a stroll…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
BCAAs powder
BCAA: Now get more out of your workouts with this miracle protein BCAAs are counted as one of the best supplements for increasing your physical endurance. Find out what are…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
Low carb diet
8 appetizing and mouth-watering recipes that every low-carb dieter should try Looking for delicious recipes that will fix your hunger pang without adding those pesky carbs? Look no further…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
turmeric skin
We bet you didn’t know that turmeric could be this beneficial! Did you know that turmeric, a humble ingredient found in most Indian kitchens could cure countless ailments and…
Serotonin happiness
Serotonin : What you didn’t know about this “feel-good” chemical Serotonin : Did you know that this "feel-good" hormone could well impact your sleep cycle, sex drive, appetite,…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
Spirulina: Battle diabetes and cholesterol with this blue-green algae Spirulina, a species of salt water algae, has now become a billion dollar industry. How you can use…
low carb diet meal
Low carb diet : Go high on fats and low on carbs for a leaner body! Did you know that sugar is the new fat? Going low on carbs and high on fats &…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
ADHD forgetful
ADD versus ADHD: What are the fundamental differences? Is every hyperactive child a patient of ADHD? Do adults display symptoms of ADHD as well? What is…
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss. How much should…
kale
Kale: With more iron than beef, this superfood is the ultimate way to lose weight Checkmate meat-eaters; with kale, vegans now have the ultimate iron-rich superfood as their ally that can protect from…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
How to make the apple cider vinegar diet work for you? Apple cider vinegar diet is a popular choice among health enthusiasts.Find out why nutritionists believe this could be…
How much protein
Proteins: What is the right protein-intake for your specific needs? As we all know protein is an essential macronutrient indispensible to good health and body. But how much…
Horny Goat Weed: Can it improve libido in human beings too? This plant got its name as Horny Goat Weed when one of the goats feeding on the plant…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
MANUKA HONEY child
Manuka Honey Manuka honey is a specific type of honey produced by honey bees that collect nectar from the flowers…
Healthy pregnancy tips
How to have a healthy pregnancy: Essential tips to remember What to expect when growing a life within you? How important are prenatal vitamins anyway? Don't make these…
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…