Everything You Need to Know About Thyroid Dysfunction

Have you ever noticed that your neck looks swollen? Have you noticed that your feet have become thick, with hardened skin and deep cracks? Are you experiencing high levels of anxiety and weight gain lately? If any of this resonates with you, you may risk thyroid dysfunction.

According to Cleaveland Clinic, Thyroid Dysfunction is the disruption in the function of the thyroid gland that produces hormones. It can either lead to underproduction or overproduction of thyroid hormones. It is not only limited to one disease; it has several types. These types are Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Thyroiditis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Don’t get confused. We’re here to inform you about thyroid disorder, its causes, diagnoses, and treatments. Read below and find out more about this disease!

What is The Role of Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland looks like a butterfly-shaped gland placed at the front of your lower neck. The Thyroid plays a unique role in our body. It produces hormones to keep your body balanced and function well. It covers everything from,

  • Balancing weight
  • Burning calories
  • Maintaining heart rate
  • Stabilizing metabolic processes

But, if there is too much or too little hormone production, your body can undergo massive stress. This can even increase your risk of cancer.

What is Thyroid Dysfunction?

Thyroid Dysfunction is a general term for several conditions. But in short, it means that your thyroid gland either does not produce enough hormones or produces too much.

An estimated 20 million people in the United States have a thyroid disorder. There’s an organization in America known as The American Thyroid Association. This association has over 170 medical practitioners. These specialists aim to discover treatment and prevention techniques for thyroid dysfunction.

What Causes Thyroid Dysfunction?

What Causes Thyroid Dysfunction?

Problems in our bodies are not caused by bad luck; there’s always a reason behind it.

It can be our lifestyle, activities, food choices, lack of exercise, or anything. But a major cause can be iodine deficiency and autoimmune diseases.

The following are two main types of thyroid disorder.

Hyperthyroidism

The name resembles the word–” Hyper” and “thyroidism.” It means that your thyroid is producing more hormones than it needs. Your body gets burdened with hormones and disturbs all functions. In simpler terms, it’s a stage when your thyroid gland fails to perform its job.

What Things Lead to Hyperthyroidism?

The following are the reasons why an individual can develop hyperthyroidism.

  • Graves disease
  • Overactive thyroid nodules
  • Thyroiditis
  • Having too much iodine in the body
  • Consuming a lot of thyroid hormone production medicine
  • Noncancerous tumour of the pituitary gland
What Things Lead to Hashimoto's Disease?

How does Hyperthyroidism Effect Our Body?

If a person has this condition, it can destroy their health in several ways, including,

  • Losing unhealthy weight
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness
  • Appetite loss
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hypothyroidism

It means that the levels of thyroid hormones are disturbed and it produces too little hormones compared to your body’s needs. Or you can say it’s a stage when your thyroid gland is underactive. It is five times more common than hyperthyroidism.

There are several reasons why someone may develop this condition. The most common cause is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s.

What Things Lead to Hashimoto's Disease?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder. Your entire body connects to your immune system so that a minor disruption can lead to autoimmune diseases.

Following are some common reasons that lead to Hashimoto’s disease.

  • Hormone imbalance
  • Having other autoimmune diseases
  • Infections
  • Genetics and family history
  • Food sensitivities
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Toxin exposure
  • Leaky gut

Who are at Risk of Thyroid Dysfunction?

A family history of thyroid dysfunction is the leading cause of developing thyroid diseases in individuals. A 2015 study looked at the risk factors of thyroid dysfunction and found that family history greatly affects thyroid dysfunction.

Who are at Risk of Thyroid Dysfunction?

Common Symptoms of Thyroid Disorder

Overall common thyroid dysfunction can show symptoms such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Dry feet and skin
  • Heat or cold sensitivity
  • Abnormal weight gain or weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Unusual swelling at the back of the neck
  • Fatigue
  • Puffy face
  • Depression
  • Slow movements
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Diarrhea

When to See a Doctor?

If you are experiencing the abovementioned issues, it’s time you visit your local physician.  If you notice a lump/nodule or abnormal growth in your thyroid gland area, it’s a red alert! It may be nothing, but better to get checked before it leads to dangerous conditions.

According to Cleveland Clinic, nodules aren’t cancer but may represent a warning sign for thyroid cancer in approximately 4.0% to 6.5% of cases.

How is Thyroid Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Thyroid dysfunction is checked and diagnosed in lots of ways. However, the most authentic way is through blood and thyroid function tests. Head over to your endocrinologist, and they may give you some blood tests. The results will measure the hormone content in your blood and clarify whether you have some thyroid issue or not.

Moreover, the doctor may ask you questions about your lifestyle, medical history, family history, or take a physical exam. Furthermore, a biopsy is also used in some cases.

How is Thyroid Dysfunction Treated?

You can manage thyroid problems in many ways. Many treatment options are available now for accurately dealing with thyroid dysfunction.

To get back on your journey to optimal thyroid health, you should first get diagnosed by an endocrinologist. After that, depending on your condition, you should select the treatment approach.

The most common treatment for hyperthyroidism is removing your Thyroid by thyroid surgery. Another more direct approach is destroying it through medication. If you choose the medicinal approach, it will be with you for a long time. Doctors usually give long-term radioactive iodine medicines to control hormone production. You might also be able to prevent thyroid diseases naturally by eating certain foods.

How is Thyroid Dysfunction Treated?

Foods for Healing (boost) Thyroid

  • Seaweed such as kelp, nori, and wakame,
  • Salted nuts such as Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Baked fish
  • Dairy
  • Fresh eggs

What are the Complications of Thyroid Dysfunction?

Complications can arise quickly in thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism can cause complications such as an enlarged thyroid and goitre. According to research, many patients develop thyroid dysfunction due to generalized enlargement of the gland.

Goitre can have a destructive result on health, such as trouble swallowing and breathing. Moreover, it can give birth to diseases and health concerns such as

  • Chronic heart diseases such as irregular heart rhythm and even heart failure
  • Nerve damage leading to mental health issues
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Infertility
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Effected eyesight, even vision loss
  • Brittle bones
  • Miscarriage or premature birth
  • Unconsciousness (Myxedema)

references:

Thyroid Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Testing & Treatment’. 2022. Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8541-thyroid-disease

Armstrong, Maggie, Edinen Asuka, and Abbey Fingeret. 2022. ‘Physiology, Thyroid Function’, Nih.gov (StatPearls Publishing): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537039

‌ ATA. 2016. American Thyroid Association, American Thyroid Association: https://www.thyroid.org

‌ Hyperthyroidism – Symptoms and Causes. 2020. Mayo Clinic ( ): https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659

‌ Khatiwada, Saroj, Rajendra KC, Santosh Kumar Sah, Seraj Ahmed Khan, Rajendra Kumar Chaudhari, and others. 2015. ‘Thyroid Dysfunction and Associated Risk Factors among Nepalese Diabetes Mellitus Patients’, International Journal of Endocrinology, 2015: 1–5 10.1155/2015/570198

‌‌ Thyroid Nodules: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. 2022. Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/13121-thyroid-nodule‌

Thyroid Diseases. 2018. Medlineplus.gov (National Library of Medicine): https://medlineplus.gov/thyroiddiseases.html

Melish, John S. 2016. ‘Thyroid Disease’, Nih.gov (Butterworths): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK241

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