FAQ-thyroid gland and thyroid problems in 2020

1. What are the symptoms of thyroid problems in females?

Symptoms of thyroid problems which are specific to females are:

  1. Changes in menstrual cycle that is,they have irregular and scant periods.
  2. Spontaneous abortions.
  3. infertilty

General symptoms of thyroid disorder  seen in females are:

In hypothyroidism patient has following symptoms:-

  • FATIGUE
  • WEIGHT GAIN
  • INCREASED SENSITIVITY TO COLD
  • CONSTIPATION
  • ELEVATED BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVEL
  • SLOWED HEART RATE
  • PAIN AND TENDERNESS IN THE MUSCLES
  • PAIN, STIFFNESS OR SWELLING IN JOINTS
  • DRY AND ITCHY SKIN
  • THINNING HAIR AND HAIR FALL
  • PUFFY FACE
  • HEAVY OR IRREGULAR MENSTRUAL PERIODS
  • IMPAIRED MEMORY
  • DEPRESSION
  • GOITER
  • HOARSENESS OF VOICE

In hyperthyroid patient has following symptoms:-

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • excessive sweating
  • Sensitivity to heat.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
  • hot and moist skin
  • clubbing of fingers,Plummer nails
  • Fine, brittle hair ,Hair loss
  • Increased appetite,diarrhea
  • Restlessness, agitation, Mood swings
  • Exophthalmos (Forward protrusion of eyeball)
  • Muscles weakness.

2.Is a thyroid problem serious?

The most common thyroid problem is the defect in the thyroid hormone production. Decreased production is called hypothyroidism and increased production is called hyperthyroidism. These two do are not extremely serious conditions, the serious condition which affect the thyroid is ,cancer of thyroid gland.which are further of many types like follicular ,pappilary ,medullary and other cancers of thyroid gland.

3. How does thyroid affect the body?

    • Thyroid in a gland present in the neck.
    • Its function is to produce thyroid hormone.
    • Thyroid hormone in our body plays a very important role in the metabolism and growth and development.
  • Decrease in the thyroid hormone called as underactive thyroid causes slowing of the body’s metabolism and increase in the thyroid hormone called as overactive thyroid will increase the metabolism of the body or the basal metabolic rate.

 

4.Can Thyroid be cured?

  • Thyroid disorders do have a cure.
  • Depending on what the disorder is it can be treated accordingly.
  • In case of underactive thyroid as there is less production of thyroid hormone in the body in this case thyroid hormone is given orally in the form of levothyroxine to make the thyroid function properly.
  • In case of overactive thyroid where the thyroid gland produces excessive hormone anti thyroid drugs are given to reduce the thyroid hormone production.
  • In case of thyroid cancer the whole gland or a part of the gland with tumor has to be removed.

5. What is the main cause of thyroid problems?

  • One of he major cause of thyroid problems is the autoimmune disorder.
  • Autoimmune disorders are the disorders where in the immune cells of the body attacks it own cells and causes damage to the body.
  • In case of thyroid the autoimmune disorder is the Graves disease which is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and Hasimoto’s disease which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
  • Other causes of thyroid problems are:
  1. Thyroiditis- inflammation of thyroid gland.
  2. Certain Medication
  3. Improper iodine intake
  4. Disorders of Pituitary gland
  5. Disorders of hypothalamus
  6. Thyroid surgery.
  7. Radiation to the neck
  8. Overactive thyroid nodules/ toxic multinodular goiter
  9. Genetic factors

6. How can I check my thyroid at home? OR How to test your Thyroid at home?

  • Thyroid if enlarged or if any nodules are present on the thyroid causing it to have an uneven surface in these situations you may try to palpate the gland at home.
  • Before palpation always inspect the gland by looking at it with the help of a mirror to see for any abnormalities, any redness, uneven surface, any swellings.
  • If there is swelling present make swallowing movements and see if the swelling moves upwards with swallowing.
  • Thyroid swelling moves with deglutition (swallowing).
  • After inspecting the gland now you can palpate the gland by bending your neck downwards to relax the neck muscles and with the fingers of your hand try to feel the gland for any abnormalities.
  • [NOTE: Because most of the thyroid disorders can be detected on the basis of thyroid function test you should always consult a doctor if u have any doubt regarding your thyroid]
  • There is one more method to check for thyroid and for that you will require assistance from other person.
  • Sit on the stool, let the person stand behind you.
  • Bend your neck a little, the person is supposed to place the thumbs of both the hands behind the neck and the four fingers are placed over each lobe.
  • Palpation of the thyroid gland is done by fingers of both the hands.

7. What foods are bad for thyroid?

  • Certain vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, bok choy, kale, cauliflower, spinach, etc. They contain goitrogens.
  • Soy foods such as soybeans,  tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso , etc
  • Gluten containing food: bread, pasta, rice, cereals
  • Fatty  food such as: butter, fried food, margarine, mayonnaise, fatty cuts of meat, fast food.
  • Sugar containing food as the body’s metabolism in hypothyroid is slowed down eating food with high calories may add to the weight gain.
  • Packaged or frozen foods as it contain high amount of sodium.
  • Food with high fiber such as: legumes, beans, vegetables
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Nuts and seeds: Cotton seed meal, walnut, peanuts, etc.

8. What happens when thyroid is high?

Main function of thyroid is the metabolic function.

Increased levels of thyroid hormone seen in hyperthyroidism will cause increased in the metabolism and the effect of thyroid on other parts of the body will also be increased.

High thyroid will cause:

  • – Increased metabolism of carbohydrate, fats and vitamins.
  • – Increased weight loss
  • – Excessive sweating
  • – Tiredness, fatigue, weakness
  • – Increased heart rate
  • – Restlessness, anxiety,
  • – sensitivity to heat

NOTE:to know more about what happens in hyperthyroidism please refer to our blog on signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism

9. What are early warning signs of thyroid problems? or When should I get thyroid checked?

  • excessive sleepiness or inability to sleep.
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety, restlessness
  • exessive sweating or dry itchy skin
  • intolerant to heat or cold
  • increase or decrease in weight
  • increased or decreased heart rate
  • dry skin or cold and clammy skin
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • depression or psychosis
  • increased or decreased appetite

10. Why is the thyroid so important?

Thyroid is very important gland in our body as it produces thyroid hormone.

thyroid hormone is required in our body for various functions such as:

  • – metabolism of fats, carbohydrate, vitamins in the body.
  • – gut movement.
  • – Increases heart rate, contractility of heart muscles and cardiac output.
  • – neural growth and differentiation of brain cells and also myelination of nerves.
  • – bone formation and bone resorption.
  • – growth and differentiation of ovaries, uterine tubes, placenta and has a role in spermatogenesis.

11. How can Thyroid be diagnosed?

Serum TSH level is a must for diagnosis of thyroid.

For proper diagnosis of thyroid disorder is made by taking three steps:-

  1. Step one: take a proper history of patient and ask about the various symptoms the patient is having.
  2. Step two: examine the patient in general like see for pulse, heart rate, see the skin, nails etc and then examine the thyroid gland.
  3. Step three: performing various tests and investigation- serum TSH levels is the most important of all the tests. Other tests include blood free T4 levels, TPO antibodies, blood cholesterol levels, thyroid ultrasound etc.

12.Can males have thyroid problems?

FAQ-thyroid gland and thyroid problems
  • Thyroid problems is more common in females. but the males also suffer from thyroid related problems.
  • the more common thyroid disorder seen amongst the men is hypothyroidism.
  • prevelance of hypothyroidism is 0.9% in men and 4.8% in women.
  • in men the prevalence of hyperthyroidism is 0.6% and of having goiter is 0.4%.

13. How can I lose weight with thyroid problems?

Weight gain is a very common problem in patients with hypothyroidism.

Weight loss can be achieved by following few instructions:

  • Eat healthy diet
  • Avoid foods which affect your thyroid.
  • Avoid junk food, fast food, oily food etc.
  • Avoid high carbohydrate diet, avoid sugary foods.
  • Eat frequent small meals.
  • Eat food rich in antioxidants.
  • Avoid sedentary lifestyle.
  • Do exercise.
  • In case of weight gain due to hypothyroidism patient will have to do moderate to severe exercises in order to lose weight.

14.Can you lose weight if you have hypothyroidism?

  • In hypothyroidism as the basal metabolic rate is reduced the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates is reduced causing the patien to put on weight.
  • It is possible to lose the increased weight by:
  • Taking proper medications.
  • Doing moderate to heavy exercise daily.
  • Avoid the food that will add up to the weight gain such as fast food, junk food etc.

15.What is a normal thyroid level?

  • The normal range for TSH levels is 0.4 mU/L to 4.0 mU/L.
  • The normal range of free T4 is 5 to 13.5 mg/ dl.

16. Why is my TSH high?

  • TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is hormone which is secreted by the pituitary gland.
  • This hormone acts on thyroid gland and increases the thyroid hormone production.
  • When the thyroid hormone level is less, more amount of TSH is released to stimulate the gland in order to increase the thyroid hormone production.
  • But in case of primary hypothyroidism where the defect is in the thyroid gland, the gland does not respond to the increased TSH levels.
  • So the thyroid hormone remains low and the pituitary will keep on secreting TSH to try and increase the thyroid hormone levels.
  • This is why the TSH levels are high in case of primary hypothyroidism

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