World Thyroid Day, observed on May25th every year, highlights the significance of the thyroid gland, its impact on our well-being, and the importance of raising awareness about thyroid disorders. It serves as a reminder of the millions of individuals around the world who grapple with thyroid disorders. In this article, different experts shed light on the importance of the thyroid gland and various thyroid diseases.
What Is Thyroid Gland
Dr Vrinda Agarwal, Consultant Endocrinologist, CARE Hospitals, Banjarahills, said, “Thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck, may appear inconspicuous, but its influence on various bodily functions is profound. This remarkable gland produces thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism, energy levels, temperature control, and growth and development. It plays a crucial role in maintaining a harmonious balance in our bodies, contributing to physical, mental, and emotional well-being.”
Types Of Thyroid Problems
Thyroid problems encompass a range of conditions that can affect the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Some of them are as follows:
- Thyroid nodules
- Thyroid cancer
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Dr Vidya Tickoo, Consultant Endocrinologist & Diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad, said, “Hyperthyroidism is a thyroid disorder characterised by an overactive thyroid gland, which produces and releases an excessive amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. Its symptoms include weight loss, tremors, palpitations, loose motions, heat intolerance, anxiety, and restlessness.
She went on to say that it can be of two types: Graves disease, which requires a specialised prescription to regulate, and thyroiditis, which is a temporary ailment that cures on its own. It is critical to distinguish between the two during diagnosis using clinical symptoms and a technetium scan so that the appropriate medication may be administered.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Dr Shalini Joshi, Senior Consultant-Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore, said, “Hypothyroidism, sometimes referred to as underactive thyroid, is a condition wherein your thyroid gland fails to produce an adequate amount of certain crucial hormones. In most cases, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism occurs during routine testing since people often do not experience any symptoms."
Also Read: Thyroid In Children: Expert Explains Causes And Symptoms
Complications Of Hypothyroidism
Dr Shalini said that hypothyroidism can cause various complications in daily life. If you have a family history of thyroid issues, it is advisable to undergo the necessary tests and consult a doctor for further advice. Some of the effects of hypothyroidism are as follows:
- In childhood, it can lead to your child not being able to grow as tall as others in their class.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irregular periods and infertility
- Cold sensitivity
- Difficulty in losing weight
- Dry skin
- Body aches
What Are Thyroid Nodules?
Dr Tickoo said, “Thyroid nodules, or lump in the thyroid gland have also become common now due to widespread availability of ultrasound. 95% of the patients suffering from this don't have cancer. Only 5% can harbour cancer, which is usually very easy to treat when removed at the correct time. Hence, timely ultrasound and needle aspiration tests if required make it one of the easiest cancers to treat."
Can Thyroid Diseases Be Prevented?
Dr Tickoo further added, “It is not possible to prevent thyroid disease, even with diet, as the most common cause is antibodies, which can't be altered. However, consuming iodised salt and trying to avoid the 'endocrine disruptors' can help to some extent. The most important thing is to recognise symptoms early and take timely treatment for the same to have a healthy and happy life.”