The 4 most important things to know about thyroid disorders
3 minute(s) read
Thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the base of the neck. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system which is made up of glands that produce, store and release hormones into the bloodstream. There are different thyroid disorders that can cause a variety of symptoms. Nevertheless, thyroid disorders might be overlooked due to a loss of disease awareness. Currently, in regard to statistical data of Thailand, there is a large number of patients diagnosed with thyroid disorders. Interestingly, some of them do not even know that they have thyroid problems. Similar to other diseases, early diagnosis of thyroid disorders significantly results in better treatment outcomes. World Thyroid Day is held on 25th May every year to raise awareness and reduce the prevalence of thyroid related disorders.
The 4 most important things to know about thyroid disorders.
1. Incidence of thyroid disorders
Worldwide, in particular areas, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of thyroid enlargement and goiter. With sufficient levels of iodine consumption, the major thyroid problem is mainly related to autoimmune disease which is the contributing factor to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, affecting more women than men, with a ratio 4:1.
2. Insomnia and increased appetite might indicate “thyroid problems”
Different thyroid disorders can cause a wide range of possible symptoms. In case of hypothyroidism (also called underactive thyroid), a disorder that thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, symptoms include constipation, poor ability to tolerate cold, tiredness or fatigue and weight gain. On the contrary, if thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone (known as hyperthyroidism), symptoms are palpitation, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, nervousness, unintentional weight loss and increased appetite.
3. Are thyroid disorders preventable?
In the endemic areas of thyroid enlargement and goiter, sufficient iodine intake to prevent thyroid problems is highly recommended. These include the use of iodized salt for cooking and consumption of seafood which is one of the main sources of iodine. To prevent either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, there is no definite preventive method yet. Thus, if any warning signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders are presented, early diagnosis with thyroid tests must be sought as soon as possible.
4. Screening of thyroid diseases should not be ignored.
If any of these symptoms are manifested, immediate thyroid testing is highly advised:
- Enlarged thyroid gland presented as a lump in the front of the neck
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism: constipation, poor ability to tolerate cold, tiredness or fatigue and weight gain.
- Symptoms of hyperthyroidism: palpitation, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, unintentional weight loss with increased appetite, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, protruding eyeballs, an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) appearing as a swelling at the base of the neck, more frequent bowel movements and sweating.
On the World Thyroid Day, 25th May 2019, Dr. Natthanon Maneesathien, endocrinologist, Bangkok Hospital says: World Thyroid Day aims to raise everyone’s awareness and reduce the prevalence of thyroid related disorders which cause a number of health problems that can be overlooked easily such as obesity and physical inactivity. People of all age groups even newborn baby can develop thyroid diseases. So if suspected symptoms are indicated, immediate medical attention should be provided as soon as possible.