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DT Health: Thyroid problems can disrupt body functions

The most common thyroid problems are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. These two main disorders can be caused by various medical conditions. It may also be passed down in the family to next generations.

Thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland present in front of your neck, which extends towards the sides of the throat. It releases and controls thyroid hormones that are vital for the body functions – metabolism, growth and development of the human body. Any malfunction in how the thyroid gland works leads to disruption of body functions.

The most common thyroid problems are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. These two main disorders can be caused by various medical conditions. It may also be passed down in the family to next generations.

Dr Aafrin Shabbir, Consultant - Internal medicine and Diabetology, Gleneagles Global Health City
Dr Aafrin Shabbir, Consultant - Internal medicine and Diabetology, Gleneagles Global Health City

Hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid): In this condition, your thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms are often unnoticeable and develop slowly over time. Hypothyroidism commonly affects middle-aged and older women; however, anyone can develop this condition, including infants. A few symptoms of hypothyroidism symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, numbness, soreness, muscle weakness, constipation and depression.

Hyperthyroidism (Overactive thyroid) is a health condition where your thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormones. It is a serious health condition that is fatal, if left undiagnosed or untreated. It is more common in women and people above the age of 60.

Thyroid hormones control the way the body uses energy, i.e. nearly every organ in the body is affected by them.

Hyperthyroidism symptoms can vary in a person to another and include weight loss despite an increased appetite, accelerated heart rate or palpitations, hand tremors, muscle weakness, nervousness, irritability, anxiety and sleep difficulties. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be caused by other conditions that affect the way the thyroid gland works.

Treatment: An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is treated by taking daily hormone replacement tablets. In case of hhyperthyroidism, controlling and preventing the thyroid to make more hormones is achieved through anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, beta blockers and surgery to remove the thyroid gland permanently.

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