Consultancy Corner: Treat thyroid in time, improve quality of life

Did you know that all your hormones function together to create a harmony? An imbalance of one hormone affects it all. For women with a hormonal imbalance, it is rather common to feel that you are experiencing mood swings. Disorders in thyroid, either hyper or hypo function, can affect the functioning of most of the organs in the body.
Consultancy Corner: Treat thyroid in time, improve quality of life
Dr. G. Shanmugasundar MD DM, Consulting Endocrinologist


Thyroid disorders can cause non-specific symptoms. Identifying and treating them give good response and improve the quality of life significantly. And the good thing is that, the tests and the treatment are widely available and it is cheaper also. 
Hypothyroidism can make you feel depressed and down. Research has shown that hypothyroid and depression are clinically linked. 
So if you are feeling blue for no reason and find yourself irritated, angry and worked up more than usual, it’s time to check your thyroid. So let’s have a look at the causes of hypothyroid disorder. 
Causes of hypothyroidism 
Hypothyroidism develops because of some underlying disease or because a medical treatment impairs the thyroid function. Below are some of the causes: 
Autoimmune disorders
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which white blood cells make antibodies that attack and gradually disable the thyroid gland. 
Partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland — it could be for the treatment of thyroid cancer, an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism, the opposite of hypothyroidism), or some other problem — permanently decreases or eliminates thyroid hormone production, depending on how much of the gland is removed. 
Another treatment for an overactive thyroid, radioactive iodine, may disable the gland, causing permanent hypothyroidism.
Damage to the pituitary gland 
A tumor, radiation, or surgery may damage the pituitary gland, thus impairing its ability to produce and release TSH. Without this chemical signal, hormone production in the thyroid may fall. 
Other causes 
An infection, pregnancy, or other conditions may cause a temporary inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis). This may trigger a brief period of hyperthyroidism, followed by hypothyroidism. In some cases, the thyroid never fully recovers and hypothyroidism becomes permanent. 
Diagnosis, treatment of thyroid 
Hyperthyroidism is associated with irritability, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, fatigue, impairment in concentrating and memory, these symptoms can be episodic or may develop into mania, depression and delirium. In some cases, motor inhibition and apathy are symptoms that follow hyperthyroidism. The link between hypothyroidism and depression is clear and yet quite a number of people adhere to taking antidepressants instead of thyroid medication. 
Some of the signs of thyroid dysfunction are fatigue, puffy face, oversensitivity to cold, difficulty in remembering things, tingling or numbness in hands and legs, hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, low body temperature, slow pulse, slow reflexes, infertility or repeated miscarriages. 
It is estimated that as many as one in five women will develop hypothyroidism by age 60. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the right medication.  
When a person develops depression, the brain usually becomes the focus of attention. It is likely that other organs are the source of the problem. And hypothyroidism is one of the most likely factors to cause depression. If you think you might have a problem, get your doctor to check your TSH levels, which stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. 
- Dr. G. Shanmugasundar MD DM, Consulting Endocrinologist, Magna centres for Obesity Diabetes and Endocrinology, Chennai

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