World Thyroid Day 2023: Know all about disorders, symptoms and treatments

World Thyroid Day 2023: Thyroid is an extremely important gland and it plays a crucial role in the effective bodily function. Every year, 25 May is observed as World Thyroid Day to raise awareness about this gland, and the diseases associated with it. The day is also dedicated to people suffering from various thyroid disorders and the scientists who are committed to the study and treatment of thyroid disorders globally.

What is thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. It is responsible for producing hormones like T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Thyroxine). “These hormones are synthesized from iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. Once produced, they are released into the bloodstream, where they travel to target tissues and organs throughout the body. The thyroid hormones have a wide range of effects on different systems and processes in the body,” Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra, Senior Director Division of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Endocrinology and Diabetology, Medanta Gurugram told Financial

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What are the various thyroid disorders?

According to Dr. Mishra, disorders of the thyroid gland can disrupt its normal functioning and lead to various conditions. Here are the various types of disorders:

Hyperthyroidism- This disorder occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. It can be caused by various factors, including autoimmune diseases (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), iodine deficiency, certain medications, or damage to the thyroid gland.

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Hyperthyroidism- Hyperthyroidism is the opposite of hypothyroidism, characterized by excessive production of thyroid hormones. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease.

Goitre- A goitre is an enlarged thyroid gland that can occur in both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. It is often caused by an iodine deficiency or autoimmune disorders. Depending on the size and underlying cause, a goitre may or may not affect thyroid hormone production.

Thyroid nodules- These are abnormal growths or lumps that develop within the thyroid gland. Most nodules are noncancerous (benign) and do not cause significant issues. However, in some cases, they can lead to hyperthyroidism or be a sign of thyroid cancer. Nodules may be discovered incidentally during a physical examination or imaging tests.

Thyroiditis- This refers to the inflammation of the thyroid gland. It can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, autoimmune diseases, or certain medications. Thyroiditis can lead to temporary hyperthyroidism followed by a period of hypothyroidism as the gland’s function fluctuates.

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What are the symptoms of thyroid disorders?

Here are some of the classical signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders:

  • Increased appetite
  • Sweating
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Irregular heartbeat of arrhythmia
  • Rapid heartbeat or tachycardia
  • Palpitations or pounding of the heart.
  • Sleep disruption
  • Brittle hair
  • Changes in bowel movement
  • Enlarged thyroid gland or goitre.
  • Skin thinning
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How thyroid disorders are diagnosed?

  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests
  • Thyroid scans
  • Fine needle aspiration and biopsy
  • What are the treatment options for thyroid disorders?
  • Thyroid medications
  • Thyroid surgery

According to doctors, in most cases, thyroid disorders can be well managed with medical treatment and are not life-threatening.