Thyroid Disorders


Last Updated July 23rd, 2019

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…
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…
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…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
apple cider vinegar weight loss
Apple cider vinegar: Weight loss, shinier hair, and more! Did you know that apple cider vinegar, produced by the simple fermentation of apple juice, could hold the…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
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…
Clitoris: Why is it called the gateway to toe-curling female orgasms? The word clitoris comes from the Greek word kleitoris or “little hill.”  Many compare the female clitoris to…
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…
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…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
Find the G spot: The top sex positions that guarantee an orgasm There has been a long debate as to whether the G-spot actually exists as a separate organ.  Can…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Female Masturbation: Tips on how to turn up the heat during a solo mission As a female, do you find yourself constantly wondering as to what is the best way to please…
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…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
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…
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…
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…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
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…
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…
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…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
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…
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…
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…
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…
erectile dysfunction treatment
Erectile Dysfunction: Effective tips to help you get back on charge Erectile dysfunction is a common male sexual dysfunction. Don't stress out. Just follow these amazing tips to get…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that rise out of…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
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…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help you combat the…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Is this is the real life? Is this just fantasy? – Decoding the myths of lucid dreaming Lucid dreaming or dreaming with a state of awareness has often intrigued the minds of experts worldwide. Do…
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…
back pain relief
Don’t choose pain: 10 truths about your back ache (and how to get relief) Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the world. Almost 80% of the entire global…
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…
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…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How is it linked…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
What is the average penis size and why should you care? Scientifically speaking, the average size of the penis depends on numerous factors such as genes, environmental circumstances, etc.
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…
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…
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?…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
V for Vagina: How well do you know this extraordinary part of the female anatomy? Vagina - a simple part of the human anatomy that has often created a feeling of either digust…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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.…
Military diet
Military Diet : Why following a highly restrictive diet is a bad idea Is seiging your calorie intake the right way to attack fats? Read more about Military diet, a highly…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
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…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Vitamin C: The instant health benefits of adding the citrusy goodness to your diet Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that cannot be synthesized in your body and has to be obtained…
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…
tips for perfect sleep
Stop hitting the snooze button: 8 proven steps to perfect sleep Are you tired of not getting enough sleep? All your efforts for a sound sleep going in vain?…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigious 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…
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…
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…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
DASH Diet: What to eat in a “Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension”? If you or your loved one is suffering from chronic hypertension (high blood pressure), dash towards a DASH…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can treat HIV and…
What is the eustachian tube and how does it help you maintain body balance? Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the three important functions…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
TRX: Why is this total resistance workout the best choice for your body? TRX or total resistance exercise is a form of exercise where suspension belts are used to produce that…
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…
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…
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…
healthy habits
10 healthy habits: Have a hearty kick-start to the New Year! Do you set goals that are too difficult for you to maintain? Are to struggling to follow healthy…
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…
collagen benefits skin
Collagen: Get age-defying skin and faster hair growth with this miracle protein Collagen – Wrinkle-free skin, stronger nails, and thicker locks – now you have more reasons to eat these…
Tea Tree Oil : The one stop cure for skin ailments and more… The popularity of tea tree oil, an essential oil, as the ultimate skin care pick is not unheard…
almonds healthy
9 reasons why almonds should be consumed daily Almonds are filled with nutrients and energy and are used since ancient times.  The bitter almonds are chosen…