Thyroid is a small butterfly like gland weighing15-20 grams. It is located in lower part of the neck. Thyroid gland produces hormones which directly influence major organs of the body to maintain metabolism. Thyroid gland is controlled by pituitary gland through a special feed-back system. Thyroid hormones are also well regulated during pregnancy, and their imbalance can cause complications during pregnancy. Talk to your nearest Endocrinologist if you have thyroid hormone imbalance. Below is the brief overview of thyroid gland related diseases.
Hypothyroidism is decreased production or low level of thyroid hormone in the body. It can be due to autoimmune process, thyroid surgery, radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism, etc. it can also be congenital, or sometimes can occur during early childhood. Patient usually complaint of weight gain, excessive tiredness, hair fall, memory issues and sometimes heavy menstrual bleeding. Hypothyroidism can be easy diagnosed with blood tests and patients’ symptoms. Treatment is usually thyroid hormone replacement. If remains untreated, patient may suffer from coma. This is important to understand that hypothyroidism can sometimes affect fertility but manageable if diagnosed timely. Talk to your doctor today if you have symptoms of hypothyroidism so that it can be diagnosed and treated timely.
Hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis
Hyperthyroidism is over production or excessive thyroid hormone in the body. It can occur due to autoimmune process, over secreting thyroid nodules, excessive intake of thyroid hormone as a treatment, etc. Patient may suffer from unwanted weight loss, acid reflux, bone pains, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, tiredness and palpitations. Hyperthyroidism is often associated with eye disease, bulging of eyes or pain behind the eyeball. It’s is usually diagnosed by blood tests, scans and patient presentation. Treatment includes medicines, radioactive iodine or surgery which is best decided by an endocrinologist or thyroid specialist. Undiagnosed cases can suffer from heart problem and brittle bones. Timely diagnosis and treatment can save such patient from complication of hyperthyroidism.
Goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland, which can either be smoothly enlarged or can be lumpy bumpy. It is a common medical problem in this part of the world. Most commonly this is due to iodine deficiency, familial tendency, and seen more in females of middle age to older age group. One can have symptoms of neck pain, voice change, swallowing problem, breathing problem or disfigured neck. Normally, patient would prefer to get thyroid removed right away but it should be properly evaluated by an endocrinologist before making decision of surgery. As goiter can also be due to undiagnosed thyroid cancer, a referral to an endocrinologist is extremely important to evaluate whether thyroid gland needs to be removed completely or just a small portion can be taken out without any harm.
Thyroid cancer is a slow growing tumor of the thyroid gland. It is becoming more and more common in all parts of the world. Like most of the other thyroid diseases it is more common in females than males. Patients with thyroid cancer may present with large goiter or be completely symptoms free and usually diagnosed when tumor is found incidentally on neck imaging for example ultrasound, CT scan or MRI. Diagnosis is usually made with biopsy of the thyroid nodule. Treatment is mostly thyroid surgery (total or partial) by an experienced thyroid surgeon with a close follow up with an endocrinologist. Thyroid cancer patient should never lose follow up with their endocrinologist. Like all other cancers, thyroid cancer patients need life long follow up with Endocrinologists, who can keep an eye on any recurrence of tumor.