The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions by producing and releasing hormones that control metabolism while thyroid disorder refers to a health condition in which the thyroid gland, the small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, does not function properly. There are two primary types of thyroid disorders: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormones and this condition can lead to a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, depression, dry skin, constipation, and sensitivity to cold. Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis but it can also be a result of thyroid surgery, radiation therapy, or certain medications.
On the other hand, hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones and this can cause symptoms such as weight loss, increased appetite, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and heat sensitivity. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease but it can also be caused by nodules or inflammation of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid disorders can significantly impact a person’s overall well-being and require medical attention for proper diagnosis and management where treatment options for thyroid disorders may include medication, radioactive iodine therapy or, in some cases, surgery. Regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels is necessary to ensure optimal thyroid function.
With appropriate medical care and lifestyle adjustments, individuals with thyroid disorders can effectively manage their condition and lead a healthy and fulfilling life. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Preeti Kabra, Chief of Lab at Neuberg Diagnostics, shared, “Does fatigue haul you down day after day? Are you seeing weight gain, chills, or hair loss? Or revved up, sweaty, or anxious? The thyroid gland is the reason. This great controller of body and mind can sometimes goes haywire. Getting the right treatment is vital to feel your best and avoid serious health problems. The thyroid is a gland in the front of the neck which produces hormones that control the pace of your metabolism. Thyroid disorders can slow down or faster metabolism by distressing the production of thyroid hormones.”
According to her, when hormone levels are too low or high, you may experience these symptoms:
- Weight gain or weight Loss – A change in weight is one of the common signs of a thyroid disorder. Gaining weight is the sign of low levels of thyroid hormones, which is a condition known as hypothyroidism. In case the thyroid produces more hormones than the body requires, you may experience weight lose and this condition is known as hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is very common than hyperthyroidism.
- Swelling in the neck – A swelling in the neck is seen clues that something may be wrong with the thyroid. Abnormally enlarged thyroid gland may happen with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. At times swelling in the neck can result from thyroid cancer or due to a cause unrelated to the thyroid.
- Fluctuations in heart rate – Thyroid hormones nearly affect nearly all the organs in the body and can affect the heart rate immediately. If you have hypothyroidism then the heart rate is slower than normal and if you have Hyperthyroidism then the heart rate is fast than normal.
- Mood swings and low energy – Thyroid disorders impact on the energy level and mood. People with hypothyroidism will feel tired, sluggish and depressed whereas Hyperthyroidism can lead to anxiety, trouble in sleeping, restlessness and irritability.
- Loss of hair – Loss of hair is one more sign that thyroid hormones could imbalance. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can lead to hair to fall. However in most of the cases, the hair will grow again once the thyroid disorder is treated
If you’re experiencing symptoms listed above, you may need thyroid testing. Dr Preeti Kabra revealed that blood tests for your thyroid include:
- TSH – It measures thyroid-stimulating hormone. This is usually the first test your healthcare provider will order.T3 and T4 measure the level of the different thyroid hormones in your blood.
- Thyroid antibodies test – It measures certain thyroid antibodies (markers in the blood). Autoimmune thyroid disorder might be diagnostics through this test. TSH values can vary during the day so it is best to take the test early in the morning.
If you are taking medication for the conditions to treat the disease, it is recommended that your blood sample be taken before you take your dose for that day.