Thyroid Problems: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
The thyroid gland is the body’s hormone system regulator. It controls how the body produces, stores, and uses energy from food. But if the thyroid becomes underactive or overactive, it can cause health problems and make you feel unwell. Here is everything you need to know about what causes thyroid problems, symptoms, and treatments.
What Causes Thyroid Problems?
Various factors can affect thyroid function and lead to thyroid problems. The most common causes of thyroid problems are:
- Autoimmune diseases: Conditions such as Hashimoto’s disease and Graves’ disease disrupt the body’s immune system and cause inflammation. This inflammation aggressively attacks the thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism.
- Iodine deficiency: The thyroid needs iodine to make hormones, so a lack of this nutrient can trigger issues.
- Hormone imbalances: Too much or too little of the pituitary or hypothalamus hormones can interfere with the production of those by the thyroid.
- Tumors: Certain types of noncancerous or cancerous thyroid tumors can be the culprits of thyroid problems.
- Medications: Some drugs, such as lithium and amiodarone, can interfere with thyroid functioning.
- Injury or surgery: Injury to the thyroid gland or having thyroid surgery may cause the gland to become overactive or underactive.
Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
Symptoms of thyroid problems vary depending on the type of issue you have. An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, may include:
- Weight gain
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Muscle weakness
- Dry skin and hair
An overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, may include:
- Weight loss
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle weakness
- Heat intolerance
Treatments for Thyroid Problems
Treatments for thyroid problems involve managing the underlying causes and managing symptoms. The most common treatments include hormone replacement therapy, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery, antithyroid medications, and lifestyle changes.
Hormone replacement therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment for an underactive thyroid. It involves taking a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone, levothyroxine, which is usually taken in pill form.
Radioactive iodine is typically used for treating an overactive thyroid. It involves taking a capsule of radioactive iodine, which is absorbed by the thyroid gland, destroying part of it and reducing hormone production.
Thyroid surgery may be recommended for benign or cancerous tumors that can’t be treated with other methods. It involves removing part or all of the thyroid.
Antithyroid medications are usually used to treat Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism. Such medications help reduce thyroid hormone production to normal levels.
Lifestyle changes such as stress management techniques and dietary modifications can help reduce symptoms of an underactive thyroid and keep it functioning normally.
Thyroid dysfunction can lead to unpleasant symptoms and complications if left untreated. Understanding the causes of thyroid problems and the symptoms that come with them can help you manage them. If you think you may have a thyroid problem, it’s important to speak to your doctor and get tested. With the right treatment, you can manage your thyroid and live a healthy life.
Keywords: Thyroid, Thyroid Problems, Thyroid Hormone, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Graves’ Disease, Iodine Deficiency, Hormone Imbalances, Tumors, Medications, Injury, Surgery, Symptoms, Treatments, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Radioactive Iodine, Thyroid Surgery, Antithyroid Medications, Lifestyle Changes.