What is Thyroid disease – Its Occurrence & Impact
Thyroid Disease Definition
Many of the people have frequently asked about thyroid disease. What is a thyroid Disease ? It is a common disease to be heard nowadays. Thyroid disease is a set of disorders that occurs due to physiological alterations in thyroid gland. These alterations are a result of the disturbance in hormonal balance of endocrine glands.
Thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland that is anatomically present in the front of the neck. The main role of the gland is to keep a check on the proper execution of the metabolic processes within the body.
The disturbance in the functioning of thyroid gland marks the presence of abnormal physiological process which is collectively termed as a medical condition, known as thyroid disease further initiates the improper execution of metabolic processes inside the body.
Thyroid disease is further classified in a number of various classifications, based on the severity of the disease. It may be a small harmless goiter which is commonly known as enlarged goiter or it may be the presence of abnormal production of thyroid hormone.
Based upon the level of inadequate amount of thyroid hormone, the disease is characterized to different stages. These stages define the presence of different level of hormones and are known to produce significant hormonal as well as physiological changes in an individual.
The above information throws light on what is thyroid disease. In the next section of the article, we will study in depth about the associated process, responsible for initiating the disease pathology.
Thyroid Gland’s relation with Thyroid Disease
We have already learnt about what is thyroid disease. Another big question that arises is to know in detail about inter- relation between the thyroid gland and thyroid disease.
To know, what is thyroid disease and how it is caused, we should know the term “Thyroid Gland”. Thyroid Gland is a butterfly- shaped organ, situated at the base of the neck.
The anatomical position of the gland makes it a responsible gland, well connected with the delicate organs of the body.
The physiological role of the gland is to secrete adequate amount of thyroid hormone inside the body. The level of thyroid secreted is responsible for maintaining the proper mechanism of the regulatory system of the body.
The insufficient amount of thyroid hormone in the body causes a medical condition where the hormonal imbalance is responsible for disturbing the whole mechanism of the body. It also affects the physical as well as mental development in an individual.
There is a direct connection between the thyroid disease and thyroid gland. The incapability of the gland to produce normal amount of thyroid hormone in the body introduces abnormalities in body.
The lower level of thyroid hormone is responsible for delaying the growth and development of overall functions of body.
The above description explains what is thyroid disease and how it occurs in an individual.
Types of thyroid diseases and problems
The inadequate amount of thyroid brings many unfavorable changes in the body and creates alterations in the normal process of body.
There are many types of thyroid diseases that throw light on the subsequent part of what is thyroid disease and in which categories, it could be listed.
The below list show the various distinct type of thyroid disease that occurs due to abnormal level of thyroid hormone.
Thyroid Disease- Hyperthyroidism
Is hypothyroidism a thyroid disease? We all are quite familiar with the term, what is thyroid disease. What we have understood so far, is that the inadequate amount of thyroid can create different thyroid disorders.
In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland functions much above the expected range. It become overactive and is responsible for secreting a larger level of thyroid hormone that is above the normal range value.
This excessive over activity of thyroid gland may interfere with the normal processes of body and can start behaving abnormally.
It is most common in female population as compared to male population. It can lead to onset of various visible, irritating symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness, racing heart, increased sweating, shaking, anxiety and many more.
In initial stages, the symptoms are in controlled manner. However, as the course of the disease progress, the symptoms start becoming more intense.
Thyroid Disease- Hypothyroidism
The condition also explains what is thyroid disease and how it can affect a larger population. It occurs, when the thyroid gland become underactive, producing significantly rare amount of thyroid hormone inside the body.
The inadequate amount could interfere with the normal process of the body regulation. This could result in marking the onset of various symptomatic changes in an individual, suffering from hypothyroidism.
Symptoms such as memory problems, increased sensitivity to cold, fatigue, dry skin, constipation are common with hypothyroidism.
Thyroid Disease- Hashimoto’s
Few of the thyroid disorders are connected with the autoimmune deficiency of the body. Hashimoto’s disease is one of the autoimmune disorders that define the symptoms related to, what is thyroid disease?
The body’s own antibodies carries out a defensive response to the tissues of thyroid gland and create severe damage to them.
Symptoms such as fatigue, depression, mild weight gain, dry skin are associated with the onset of Hashimoto’s disease.
Thyroid Disease-Grave’s Disease
It is again none of the autoimmune disorder of body that unknowingly attacks the thyroid gland in the body. This further provokes to produce larger amount of thyroid hormone in the body and brings out the similar symptoms of thyroid abnormal values.
The symptoms that define what is thyroid disease are often noticed in Grave’s disease. It also includes symptoms such as hand tremors, goiter, altered menstrual cycle and many more.
Thyroid Disease- Goiter
The abnormal enlargement of thyroid gland is defined as goiter. It occurs due to insufficiency of iodine level in the diet.
The inadequacy of thyroid hormone creates a significant mismatch of the level of secretion and level of requirement of thyroid hormone inside the body.
This mismatch further instigates the symptoms such as swelling or tightness in neck, coughing, wheezing, voice hoarseness, difficulty in breathing and many more.
Thyroid Disease- Thyroid nodules
The growth in or outside the gland is termed as thyroid gland. In individuals, who had insufficient amount of iodine in their diet, the occurrence of thyroid nodules is certainly high.
The cancerous growth of nodules could be benign in nature and requires less or no medical intervention. However, in malignant thyroid nodules immediate medical intervention is must.
The onset of symptoms is somewhat similar to what is thyroid symptoms and should be given symptomatic care to avoid further acceleration.
Thyroid Disease in Children
The hormonal imbalance of thyroid is often noticed in children also. There are many medical conditions in children that define what is thyroid disease in children. Few of the common occurring thyroid diseases in children are:
The presence of lower amount of thyroid hormone in a child is identified as hypothyroidism in children. Many medical reasons account for the presence of inadequate amount of thyroid hormone in a child.
- Congenital Hypothyroidism: It is a condition that occurs at the time of birth. The thyroid gland is either partially present or absent in a child.
- Autoimmune Hypothyroidism: The presence of autoimmune disorder in a child can create autoimmune hypothyroidism in him.
- Iatrogenic Hypothyroidism: It occurs when the gland is either removed surgically or damaged due to external forces.
Similar to hypothyroidism, multiple causes are present that are connected with the onset of hyperthyroidism in children.
- Grave’s Disease: It is more common in teenage age and is a sort of autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland.
- Hyper functioning thyroid nodules: The over functioning of thyroid nodules can result in excess secretion of thyroid hormone and create a scenario similar to of what is thyroid disease presence causes.
- Thyroiditis: The inflammation of thyroid gland also contributes to the excess amount of thyroid hormone in the body.
However, thyroid nodules are very rare in a child but if present, they are one of the responsible causes of hyperthyroidism in a child. The main symptom of presence of thyroid nodule is categorized by the presence of lump in the neck of the child.
It is one of the most common sorts of endocrine cancer in children and its incidence is slightly higher in teenagers. The symptomatic presence is somewhat similar to what is thyroid disease’s presence is.
Autoimmune Thyroid disease
The body has its own defensive mechanism that is responsible to take care of the foreign invasions in the body. The body produces its very own antibodies in such situations.
These antibodies take the charge and help us to prevent from the harmful damage of external particles or organisms. However, in few of the cases, the defensive mechanism of body creates alarming situation for the body itself.
In conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body introduces its antibodies to fight against the normal mechanism of the body.
The defensive action of antibodies on the thyroid gland may create inflammation and damage to the gland. This might provoke to secrete an excess level of thyroid hormone inside the body.
There are multiple reasons that are associated with the presence of autoimmune disorder such as:
- Genetic: The reason behind abnormal functioning of thyroid gland is the presence of genetic disturbance. The altered genetic make- up of the genes might give false implications to the antibodies of the body.
- High iodine consumption: This is one of the most likely reasons of having Hashimoto’s disease. The high level of iodine in diet can be responsible for creating autoimmune disorder in the body.
- Age: The presence of disease is more vulnerable in age group of 70 and above. It occurs due to weakening of the different systems of body.
The diagnosis of the disease is done by screening the Thyroid peroxidase Antibodies. If the test is positive, the supportive treatment begins at the earliest.
Thyroid Eye Disease
The inadequacy of thyroid hormone might interfere with abnormal functioning of different organs of the body. The disturbances in the ophthalmic configuration or responses are termed as Grave’s ophthalmopathy or Thyroid’s eye disease.
It is an auto- immune disease caused by the antibodies that are directed against the receptors present in thyroid cells.
It causes sudden inflammation of skin and fatty tissue behind the eye. It can also create bulging effect to the affected part of the eye.
The sudden attack of the antibodies at the back of eye creates inflammation to the eye. This condition is called as Thyroid’s eye disease.
There are various symptoms that are associated with the disease. Few of them are:
- Bulgy appearance of eye
- Grittiness in eyes
- Dry or watery eyes
- Double vision
- Difficulty in moving the eye
The adequate treatment of the condition is based on the conservative treatment of Levothyroxine. The probability of getting infected with TED is more common in active smokers and the individuals who are on a high diet of selenium supplements.
Underactive thyroid disease
We all know that “ What is thyroid disease”. The disease is a endocrinal disorder and is related to abnormal functioning of thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is solely responsible for producing the normal amount of thyroid hormone.
In underactive thyroid disease, the activity inside thyroid gland gets dramatically decelerated. This causes in creating many hormonal imbalance to the level of thyroid.
The thyroid production gets reduced and the gland becomes incapable of meeting the requirements of the body.
The gland insufficiency results in the improper regulation of the different mechanism inside the body. This results in disturbing the total mechanism of the body.
The associated symptoms of underactive thyroid disease are:
- Increased nervousness
- Poor memory
- High Blood Pressure
- Irregular Menstrual
The intensity of the symptoms is invariable and is associated with level of insufficiency of thyroid hormone.
The treatment is generally conservative treatment and is based on the administration of various thyroid replacements.
However in few of the cases, the adverse effects of medications have been documented. The symptomatic treatment to rectify the adverse effects is also advised, in case symptoms become more alarming to the individual.
Overactive Thyroid disease
The role of thyroid hormone inside the body has been already discussed in the article. Similar to lower level of thyroid hormone, the higher level of hormone can also create unwanted symptoms in an individual
The presence of excessive amount of thyroid hormone inside the body occurs due to abnormal high secretion of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.
Such medical condition is known as overactive thyroid disease. It is simply defined as a state where the excessive presence of thyroid hormone creates dysfunction among the normal regulatory system of the body.
The hormonal disturbance can boost in elevating more of the unwanted or adverse effects of thyroid accumulation. Such conditions give introduction to medical terminology known as Hyperthyroidism.
The abnormal behavior of thyroid gland is associated with many alterations in the physiological responses of the body. Few of them are:
- Excessive intake of iodine in diet: It is one of the main reasons behind the secretions of more thyroid hormone by the gland. The higher amount of iodine intake gives signals to the gland to produce more thyroid hormone.
- Thyroiditis: The inflammation of thyroid gland can initiate the excessive secretion of thyroid hormone in the body and can be one of the possible reasons for overactive thyroid gland.
- Tumors: Tumors can initiate the extra growth of thyroid gland and can be a responsible reason for the excessive secretion of thyroid hormone.
- Diet supplements: Dietary supplements such as tetraiodinethyronine can also be a reason to mark the presence of excessive secretion of thyroid hormone in an individual.
The symptoms of overactive thyroid disease can over ride the normal process of body. In cases, where the intensity of symptoms get rise up to a level that medical attention is required, the symptoms can raise alarm to health.
Increased appetite, restlessness, irregular heartbeat, difficult sleeping are few of the symptoms that occurs as a result of overactive thyroid disease.
Most common Thyroid disease
Thyroid disease is a hormonal disorder and is characterized in different types. Once, we are familiar with the term what is thyroid disease, there is a need to get depth knowledge about the associated consequences of the disease.
Out of many types of thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is one of the most common types of thyroid disease.
It is an autoimmune disorder that creates inflammation inside the thyroid gland. The inflammation occurs as a result of defensive properties of antibodies present inside the gland.
The antibodies unknowingly attack the own thyroid tissues and results in occurrence of inflammation of thyroid gland.
The damage produced to the thyroid gland by the action of antibodies might result in offering hindrance to the normal function of thyroid gland,
The gland stops functioning properly and might result in producing low or no thyroid hormone.
In advanced stages it can proceed to the hypothyroidism. However in few of the cases, it might also result in introduction of Goiter.
The symptoms are identified as similar to the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Impaired memory, irregular heart- beat, excessive sweating are few of the symptoms that could be noticed in individuals suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
In cases the severity of symptoms tends to increase, the conservative treatment is preferred. The treatment includes the administration of thyroid replacement therapy.
With the introduction of external thyroid hormone, the level of thyroid hormone is brought to normal values. The level of thyroid hormone inside the body is often diagnosed with the help of laboratory tests.
From above information, we can fetch the statement that Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common thyroid disease.
Causes of Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease is an endocrinal disorder and is associated with onset of various symptoms. Researchers have stated that there are many of the responsible factors that define what is thyroid disease and gives a spectrum of connected symptoms to it.
Here is the run- down of following causes that are responsible for initiating thyroid disease.
- Auto- immune disorder: This is one of the most possible reasons that can cause thyroid disease.
- Thyroid injury: Any external injury to thyroid gland may interfere with the normal functionality of thyroid gland and can result in creating a medical situation that explains, what is a thyroid disease.
- Positive Family History: If there is a positive family history about the presence of thyroid disease, it is advisable to get a thorough routine check- up of thyroid level. This is because the probability of having thyroid disease is certainly high in such individuals.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy induced thyroid is another root cause of thyroid disease. During pregnancy, the levels of thyroid get altered. This sudden physiological and hormonal change can impact the production of thyroid in body. Henceforth, it is considered as one of the possible reason to have thyroid during expectancy.
- Congenital conditions: In few of rare cases, there has been absence of thyroid gland in a new born baby. In conditions where congenital abnormalities with thyroid gland are present, the probability of having thyroid disease is certainly high.
- Surgery: Some surgical interventions demand the partial or complete removal of thyroid gland. These become one of the reasons for having a irreversible medical crisis that causes symptoms similar to what is a thyroid disease.
- High Iodine intake: The prolonged excessive intake of iodine in diet can seriously impact the hormonal level of thyroid. These dietary modifications can seriously impact the hormonal level of thyroid and can introduce thyroid disease.
If you are having any of the above causes, it is advised to go for a regular screening of thyroid hormone to get the disease uncovered in the initial phases. The level and intensity of symptoms can be easily reversed with immediate medical attention or little life style modifications.
Replacement therapy or any other dietary change could help you to overcome the effects of thyroid disease.
Side effects of Thyroid Disease
We all are now quite familiar with what is thyroid disease and how it is caused. The disease comes with the onset of many side effects. These connected side effects can seriously interfere with the normal physiological state of body and can create pathological changes in an individual.
If we summarize the most vulnerable side effects that can impact the general well- being of an individual suffering from thyroid disease, we have the list of following side –effects.
- Heart Problems: The regular disturbance in the thyroid level of an individual can create a vicious cycle of raising blood pressure in an individual. This can create undesired accumulation of cholesterol in the individual and can affects the cardiovascular functioning of the person.
- Impaired Nervous system: With the presence of thyroid disease, the normal function of the nerves gets impaired and it can lower down the process of sending and receiving signals through and to the nerves.
- Respiratory Dysfunction: The diaphragm and lungs expansion and compression are vital to let the adequate amount of oxygen enters the body. With the prolonged insufficiency of thyroid hormone in the body, the abnormal functioning of the respiratory organs and muscles might occur.
- Digestive system: The impending side effect of having a disturbed amount of thyroid hormone for a longer time could be easily reflected on the digestive system of the person. The lower metabolic regulation in the body might interfere with the on –time digestion of the food inside the stomach and can lead to disturbance in digestive system.
- Other system: The effects are huge and can be easily noticeable in the form of fatigue, weight gain, and cold intolerance, swelling of hands and feet and many more.
In case of any sudden emergency, one should immediately rush to the nearest medical help.
Tests for thyroid disease
To know about the presence of thyroid disease, many diagnostic tests are carried to make diagnose more evident and clear. If individual complaints of any significant symptoms that matches to the symptoms of what is thyroid disease, he or she should go through any of the prescribed test.
The tests are classified into two major categories. One is that contains the procedures that have blood test and other category comprises of non- blood test.
These laboratory tests are done to measure TSH, T3, T4 and free T4 level in the blood.
- TSH Test: This is one of the initial tests and it helps in determining the functionality of thyroid gland inside the body. The test helps to diagnose the level of thyroid in blood.
- T4 tests: The free flow of T4 in blood and bounded T4 level could be easily determined with the help of T4 tests. Elevated TSH with low level of Free T4 indicates the presence of hypothyroidism where as the exact reverse of the same would indicate presence of hyperthyroidism.
- T3 tests: To determine the severity of hyperthyroidism or presence of hypothyroidism, T3 test is performed. Elevated T3 level will indicate hypothyroid.
- Thyroid Antibody Tests: The test is done to detect the presence of thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin protein in blood. Their presence may indicate the onset of autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s Disease.
Non Blood Tests
These tests are done without testing the blood and are known as non- blood tests.
- Radioactive Iodine Uptake
The radioactive iodine is introduced in the body. With the amount o radioactive absorb by the body, one can determine the presence of hypo or hyperthyroidism.
Result Interpretation: Low Radioactive iodine uptake occurs in case of hypothyroidism and High Radioactive iodine uptake occurs in case of hyperthyroidism.
With the help of above tests, one can easily do interpretation about the presence of symptoms that are known to cause condition termed as what is thyroid disease.
Thyroid disease symptoms in humans
Symptoms of thyroid disease may occur either in mold intensity or are severe. It depends in total on the level and time duration of inadequate supply of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland inside the body.
Major of the thyroid symptoms are classified as:
- Tremors & Nervousness: In situations where overactive thyroid disease is present, tremors, nervousness and agitation is likely to happen. It is a result of presence of excessive amount of thyroid hormone inside the body.
- Mental Fogginess: In both the cases of overactive as well as underactive thyroid level, the disturbances to signals of brain can result in disturbance in mental functions of the individual.
- Menstrual Changes: In females, the occurrence of thyroid inadequacy might result in major menstrual changes. These effects can also be a reason to impact the productivity capacity of the individual.
- Bloating: The disturbance in fluid retention could be a possible reason for creating bloating like situation for the person, suffering from thyroid inadequacy.
- Aches and Pain: The change in metabolic regulation of the body might result in producing various pain and aches in muscles, joint and other parts of the body.
- Heat intolerance: The individual suffering from thyroid disease may get a tendency to increase intolerance with the increased temperature of surroundings. With the presence of thyroid disease, the thermoregulatory responses of an individual might get altered.
- Raised cholesterol levels: The to and fro value of blood pressure make the unnecessary changes in the arteries. This process could further accelerate the accumulation of bad cholesterol in an individual.
- Weight gain: The change in metabolic rate of the person suffering from thyroid disease can result in lowering down the process of fat metabolism in an individual. This could result in excessive abnormal weight gain.
Above discussed effects may vary from person to person. Some of the people will complain of little or no effect while some have major issues.
It is always prescribed to get a wise consultation and medical support, if required.
Thyroid disease treatment- How to treat Thyroid Disease
We have studied in detail about what is thyroid disease and its whereabouts. The treatment of the disease can be further divided into various forms and again is dependent upon the nature of the disease.
It includes administration of various drugs or replacement therapy that can help in adjusting the levels of thyroid hormone in an individual.
It is done in cases where the cancerous or harmful cells associated with thyroid gland are present. It is most preferably done in thyroid tumors or cancers to eradicate the root cause of the disease.
It includes the correction of associated symptoms that arises due to presence of abnormal level of thyroid in an individual.
Apart from above discussed treatment patterns, homeopathic treatment as well as home remedial treatment is also suggested.
The decision to go for which type of treatment is subjective to know causes of what is thyroid disease and the associated symptoms with it.
Thyroid disease is one of the common occurring disease and is nowadays found in a more ratio of population. However, the onset of disease could not be reversed but with the early diagnose, the required precautions could be taken to avoid the further medical emergency.
It is wiser to take advisory precautions rather than waiting for increase of symptoms and react accordingly!
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