Thyroid dysfunction may occur when the thyroid gland fails to function properly. It is essential to identify the signs of thyroid dysfunction at the earliest and administer treatment to prevent unnecessary complications.
Malfunctioning of any organ in the body has its own share of problems, thereby disrupting the proper functioning of the organ systems, since they are interconnected to each other. Vital organs in the body are controlled by the glands which in turn, control their functions by releasing hormones and other chemicals. The thyroid gland is one such gland which presides over almost every function of the body. This butterfly shaped gland, located in the throat takes care of metabolism of food to generate energy, also regulates body temperature. The two vital hormones secreted by this gland, thyroxine T4 and triiodothyronine T3, are responsible for the regulation of the body functions.
The levels of these hormones need to be balanced, since a concentration or drop in the levels can lead to cognitive problems, which may end up as a dysfunction of the thyroid gland. Thyroid problems result in hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Since this problem may also end up as thyroid cancer, it is essential to keep a check on the levels of thyroid in the body and report any changes observed to a medical practitioner.
Symptoms of Thyroid Dysfunction
It has been observed, thyroid problems are more prevalent in women, when compared to men.
The thyroid dysfunction symptoms in women and men are almost similar. Listed below are some of the indications of this glandular problem, as observed in an individual suffering from a dysfunctional thyroid gland. The symptoms are almost similar in hyper as well as hypothyroidism.
- Fatigue, which is a persistent sign that there is something wrong with the thyroid, is one of the first signs of a thyroid dysfunction. The onset of fatigue is almost sudden and the person gets easily tired even after doing small tasks.
- Another common sign of a dysfunctional thyroid gland, as noticed in men and women, is abnormality in body weight. The individual may find it difficult to lose or gain weight even after taking necessary measures. Unexplained weight loss or gain can also be noticed in people who are suffering from abnormal thyroid.
- People who are suffering from thyroid disorder will also notice hair fall. In men it may lead to alopecia or pattern baldness. Women may also notice tufts of hair falling while combing. Changes in the texture of the hair, in the sense of becoming dry, coarse and brittle are also noticeable.
- Another issue associated with thyroid malfunctioning is changes in the psychological behavior of the person. Depression, mood swings without any specific reason, anxiety, etc. are some of the common complaints of such individuals.
- Imbalance in the hormonal levels can lead to low libido or a low sex drive, which is also commonly noticed. Other hormones in the body may get affected and cause other problems like irregular menstrual cycle, miscarriages and infertility (in women and men) are seen.
- Abnormal hormone levels in the body can take a toll on the muscles and joints. It can result in easy wear and tear of the ligaments, causing weak muscles and painful joints. The symptoms of this condition may include muscle cramps and spasms, stiff joints, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis etc.
Thyroid Dysfunction : Treatment
Though it causes some problems in the body system, the good news is that thyroid dysfunction is a treatable condition. A simple blood test is all that is required to determine the level of thyroid hormones in the body. If the results indicate that the person is indeed suffering from a thyroid dysfunction, then the health care provider will refer him to an endocrinologist. The physician may opt for a thyroid ultrasound or an iodine uptake scan to diagnose the functioning of the gland. In some cases, a needle biopsy may be required for closer observation.
For hypothyroidism, the doctor may prescribe medications to boost the hormonal levels. In order to manage hyperthyroidism, drugs like methimazole and propylthiouracil are prescribed to keep a check on the thyroid hormones. Diet restrictions may also be suggested till the condition returns to normal.
To monitor the optimal levels of the thyroid hormones in the body, and keep a check on the problems in thyroid, it is essential to undergo routine blood tests. A modification in the diet and lifestyle will also help reduce the occurrence of this glandular disorder. Take care!