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Thyroid Disorder: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Thyroid conditions can occur across all age groups, although they seem to be more common amongst women. Although a problem with your thyroid may go unnoticed for years, a thyroid disorder can impact your quality of life.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a small gland that can be found at the front of your neck. Despite its size, the thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that are vital for your body to function. Your thyroid keeps your metabolism working well. This impacts the energy you have throughout the day as well as your weight, and even your heart rate!
As such, a problem with your thyroid can affect your entire body, leading to severe health complications, if left unchecked.
What causes a thyroid disorder?
There are two types of thyroid disorders:
Hyperthyroidism in which your thyroid produces too much hormones
Hypothyroidism in which your thyroid produces too little hormones
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Graves’ disease: This is autoimmune disorder, where your immune system produces antibodies which overstimulate the production of thyroid hormones. Graves’ disease is the main cause of hyperthyroidism in most individuals.
Excessive Iodine: Iodine is used by your thyroid to produce hormones.
Nodules: Nodules in your thyroid may end up secreting thyroid hormones, leading to an increased in hormones in your body.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: This is an autoimmune disorder, where your immune system produces antibodies which attack your own tissues, including your thyroid. This tends to be the main cause of hypothyroidism in individuals.
Thyroid surgery: If you have undergone surgery to remove any part of your thyroid, its ability to produce hormones may also have been diminished.
Additionally, if you have diabetes, you may be at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disorder
Symptoms of a thyroid problem may take years to show. As such, you may not realise that you’re suffering from problems with your thyroid until it’s too late.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Having trouble sleeping
Feeling anxious, irritable, and nervous
Having an enlarged thyroid gland
Increased heart rate
Sudden weight loss
Experiencing irregular periods
Increased sensitivity to heat
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Experiencing increased forgetfulness
Slow heart rate
Sudden weight gain
Experiencing frequent and heavy periods
Decreased sensitivity to the cold
Males may even experience erectile dysfunction if their thyroid disorder gets very severe.
Treatment for Thyroid Disorders
Treatment for thyroid disorders involves restoring your thyroid levels to normal.
The first course of action your doctor will do would be to prescribe you medication that can help to regulate the production of thyroid hormones in your body.
For hyperthyroidism: Doctors may either put you on anti-thyroid medication (e.g. carbimazole, thiamazole, propylthiouracil) or beta-blockers (e.g. propranolol, atenolol).
For hypothyroidism: A common treatment would be levothyroxine, which are hormone replacement tablets, that should be taken daily.
Depending on your reaction to the medication, your doctor may also suggest other treatment methods.
As hypothyroidism is also linked with negative moods, it would also be good to adopt effective stress management techniques in your life. Reach out to your loved ones for support, especially if you’re struggling with dealing with your chronic condition.
A thyroid disorder is easily manageable with the right treatment. Early detection of your thyroid condition also helps you to intervene early, to decrease the impact on your quality of life. Doctor Anywhere offers home-based thyroid screening, which makes it easy and convenient to stay aware of your health status.
If you need help managing your thyroid condition, speak to a doctor anytime over the DA app, with medication delivery within 3 hours.