Thyroid disorders or diseases are conditions that affect the thyroid gland. These diseases happen to be a common health problem that a lot of people suffer from.
Thyroid diseases are caused due to the over-or under-functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an essential organ; it is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the front of one’s neck, right below Adam’s apple and is wrapped around the windpipe.
The thyroid is in charge of using iodine to produce the vital hormones for the body, which help in maintaining the body’s metabolism rate. Thyroxine, also known as T4 is one of the essential hormones produced by the gland.
The production of the thyroid hormones is also controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain.
And so disorder of these tissues causes one to suffer from thyroid issues. Sometimes the thyroid disorders cause the thyroid gland in the neck to increase in size which causes people to suffer from discomfort in front of the neck and difficulty swallowing etc.
Different thyroid disorders affect the structure of the gland, here are some specific types of thyroid disorders.
Different Thyroid Disorders
A disorder caused as and when the thyroid gland produces a small amount of thyroid hormone.
A disorder caused when the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone
When the thyroid gland increases in size
- Thyroid Nodules
Lumps or abnormal masses that form within the thyroid
- Thyroid cancer
A specific cell type within the thyroid become cancerous
There are different types of thyroid conditions that one suffer from.
Similarly, there are various symptoms related to these conditions, here are some of the most common symptoms faced by thyroid patients.
Feeling nervous and having tremors:
Thyroid patients often feel nervous, they feel agitated and suffer from trembling as well. These conditions are caused due to the over functioning of the thyroid gland, a condition known as hyperthyroidism.
Poor concentration and mental confusion:
One’s mental functioning is affected due to both over-and-under-functioning of the thyroid hormones. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause mental fogginess, one feels sluggish, depressed and are unable to concentrate.
This is backed by a 2012 study in the Archives surgery, where researchers set out to identify the impact of thyroid diseases, especially hyperthyroidism, on the patient’s mental health.
The data collected from a group of 194 participants concluded that patients suffering from thyroid problems have more suicidal tendencies and are generally more depressed and anxious. 20% of the patients are found suffering from severe depressive episodes.
Hypothyroidism, in some cases, causes excessive and prolonged menstrual bleeding, whereas hyperthyroidism causes reduced menstrual flow.
Underactive thyroid gland causes fluid retention.
Hyperthyroidism causes increased heart rate.
Muscle pain and aches:
Muscle pain and ache is a common symptom of Thyroid disease.
Weight gain and high cholesterol levels:
Due to lower Thyroid gland activity, one tends to gain a decent amount of weight. And on the other hand people with hypothyroidism end up with high cholesterol levels.
People who have overactive Thyroid gland are unable to tolerate higher temperatures whereas people with under-functioning thyroid gland continuously feel cold.
How to treat thyroid disorders?
Treating thyroid diseases is fairly important.
According to the study conducted by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, thyroid diseases, even in mild cases for people younger than 75 have been linked with cognitive impairment and various issues like dementia in the long run, along with various other problems, which is why treatment should be made as soon as the signs arise.
Thyroid disorders can be easily managed and are not life-threatening. As long as you receive the right medical treatment, you’ll be fine.
Most of these diseases can be treated by taking medications only. There are few conditions in which the patient is required to undergo surgery. Treatment for thyroid disorder depends on what specific disease you’re suffering from.
Types of thyroid treatments and how they work:
The treatment of most thyroid diseases is done by utilizing either one or both of the two hormones our body needs for maintaining a healthy thyroid system.
These hormones are called triiodothyronine(T3) and thyroxine(T4). Here is a comprehensive list of the treatments available today with these hormones.
- T4 Only(synthetic):
These supplements are known as levothyroxine and are the most common treatment method for hyperthyroidism.
Their chemical compound makes them exactly similar to our body’s natural thyroxine. There are four supplements in this range, including:
All four of these are almost identical in their properties and the benefits they provide, although it is better not to change from one to other unless there is a specific need for it.
The most common out of all four of these is Synthroid, which is proven to have longer lasting results.
- T3 Only(synthetic):
In our body, T3 is derived from the conversion of T4, and it has a very short lifespan. The effects of T3 run out fairly quickly as compared to T4, which is why the dosage of T3 should be taken with a higher frequency.
Cytomel is the synthetic T3 replacement, also known as Liothyronine, which is the replacement for body’s triiodothyronine levels.
However, the dosage of Cytomel needs to be monitored carefully, it needs to be taken various times a day, and with the right amount, so that the levels remain even, as an excess of it leads to insomnia, anxiety and rapid heartbeat.
- T3 and T4(synthetic):
This type of treatment has two supplements:
- Combined Liothyronine/Levothyroxine
The compounded combined Liothyronine/Levothyroxine benefits the user by being a customized medicine given by the doctor catering to the patient’s requirements.
Both T3 and T4 are then given in a single capsule which makes taking and managing treatment easy.
- T3 and T4(natural):
This treatment, which includes the supplement Armour, uses desiccated animal thyroid for the body’s T3 and T4 replacement. This was the common treatment before the creation of synthetic treatments.
While they are still available, this method isn’t recommended as animals have different thyroid properties and these supplements consist of various proteins and hormones which a human body doesn’t require, and the level of T3 and T4 in it also differ from what is required.