What is thyroid?
The thyroid is a small gland which is shaped like a butterfly, that rests in the middle of the lower neck. Its primary function is to control the body’s metabolism (rate at which cells perform their respective duties which are essential). To control metabolism, the thyroid produces hormones namely T4 and T3, which tell the body cells how much energy to consume.
A properly functioning thyroid will maintain the right amount of hormones necessary to keep the body’s metabolism functioning at a successful rate. As the hormones are utilized by the body, the thyroid creates replacements.
The quantity of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream is monitored and controlled by the pituitary gland. When the pituitary gland (which is located in the center of the skull below the brain) senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of thyroid hormones, it will adjust the hormone (TSH) and send it to the thyroid.
What is thyroid disease?
When the thyroid produces more quantity of hormones, the body uses energy faster which it should not. This condition is called hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones than the intended, the body uses energy slower which it should be using. This condition is termed as hypothyroidism.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?
The following are symptoms for hypothyroidism:
- Frequent, heavy menstrual periods
- Weight gain
- Dry, coarse skin and hair
- Hoarse voice
- Intolerance to cold
The following are symptoms for hyperthyroidism:
- Muscle weakness/tremors
- Infrequent, scant menstrual periods
- Weight loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Enlarged thyroid gland
- Vision problems or eye irritation
- Heat sensitivity
Complications and Outlook for Thyroid Conditions
The overall outlook varies between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. With hypothyroidism, your levels and overall symptoms may improve with medication, but it’s a condition you’ll likely be treating yourself for the rest of your life.
This is not necessarily the case with hyperthyroidism. If antithyroid medications work, then your thyroid hormone levels will normalize without any further issues.
Once you have any form of thyroid disease though, your doctor will monitor your condition with occasional blood tests to make sure your thyroid hormones are at optimal levels.
Complications of thyroid disease:
- Anxiety (seen more in hyperthyroidism)
- Depression (seen more in hypothyroidism)
- Weight fluctuations
- Fertility issues
- Birth defects
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure (seen in hyperthyroidism).
Dr. Reema Kashiva’s Diabetes & Obesity Center is a specialty center providing focused care for the management of Diabetes, Pre-diabetes and Obesity.She provides step-wise and proper diagnosis of the related problems.