What are the symptoms of a Thyroid Disorder?
Throughout my years as a health science lecturer I have often come across the misconception of what is an under active Thyroid. Many times I have heard the statement “she is overweight because she has an under active thyroid” when in reality the student does not fully understand the symptoms of this condition .
lets hope that this article clears up some confusion
So What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland that sits in the front of your neck right below your Adams apple. It produces hormones that regulate your metabolism. It also controls your energy level, cardiovascular system and has an effect on several other bodily systems.
Thyroid problems are one of the most common medical conditions and also a condition that often is misdiagnosed because thyroid symptoms appear gradually and these symptoms can mimic other medical conditions like depression.
When we are talking about thyroid conditions there are three main conditions.
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid
Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone thyroxine.
This is a condition in which the bodys own immune system will attack the thyroid gland and therefore, decrease the hormone production.
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism
dry skin and hair,
heavy menstrual periods,
constipation and slow thinking.
A severe symptom of hypothyroidism is called myxedema. This is a condition that will produce drowsiness and also extreme intolerance to the cold.
The drowsiness will lead to lethargy which can then lead to coma. These are symptoms that require immediate medical treatment to prevent death.
Hyperthyroidism is the other side of the coin where the body over stimulates the thyroid.
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease.
Commons Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
rapid heart beat or palpations,
frequent bowel movements and shorter menstrual periods.
Some people with Graves disease will develop bulging of the eyes and eye irritations.
A severe symptom of hyperthyroidism is called a thyrotoxic crisis. The symptoms of this type of crisis will include a rapid pulse,increased fever and delirium. These are symptoms that require immediate medical intervention.
Thyroid nodules are a common condition and are usually harmless. Around 4% percent of thyroid nodules are actually cancerous. When someone presents with suspect nodules then a fine needle aspiration biopsy is usually done to rule out the possibility of cancer.
Thyroid nodules will usually cause no symptoms.
Sometimes if the cells in the nodule are producing thyroid hormones on their own you may exhibit symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
In some instances people will complain of pain at the nodule site that runs into the jaw and the ear and in rare cases the nodule may grow so big that it will affect swallowing and cause shortness of breath.
If the nodule is compressing on the voice box then it can cause hoarseness. Treatment of thyroid nodules depends on many factors.
Some doctors will not treat the nodule, but they will monitor it for an increase in size or other complications that can arise.
No matter what type of thyroid disorder you may have it is important that you see your doctor and get treatment.
Not getting the proper treatment for your thyroid disorder can lead to life threatening complications.
If you are suffering from Hypothyroidism as described above then its worth your while to check out the hypothyroidism Revolution
University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypothyroidism
US National Library of Medicine: Hyperthyroidism
Cleveland Clinic: Thyroid Nodules