What Are The Specific Types of Thyroid Diseases?

Thyroid gland

The Thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck just below your Adam’s apple. It makes up part of the endocrine system, and the primary function of the endocrine system is to produce thyroid hormones.

The endocrine system plays a major role in our hormonal production and how our body produces them. The endocrine system produces hormones that are responsible for our metabolism, growth, development, sleep, and so on. The thyroid gland is responsible for manufacturing hormones that regulate your metabolism and growth.

Thyroid disease is a medical term used to describe the deteriorating function of the Thyroid gland.

Many thyroid disorders occur when the Thyroid gland is either producing too many hormones(hyperthyroidism) or too little hormones( hypothyroidism).

The most common thyroid disease are:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Graves’ disease
  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • Thyroid nodules

What is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormones. The disease is much more prevalent in women than men and it affects 0.5-2% of women.

What Causes Hyperthyroidism?

A person chances of developing hyperthyroidism is very high if they have the following diseases:

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

The following is a variety of symptoms that a person with hyperthyroidism may display. One doesn’t necessarily need to have all these symptoms. These are:

  • Nervousness and irritability
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heat intolerances
  • Increased sweating
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Frequent bowel movement or diarrhea
  • Menstrual disturbances(decreased flow)
  • Sleep disruption
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness 

Appropriate treatment of hyperthyroidism requires an accurate diagnosis by a doctor.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is the complete opposite of hyperthyroidism. This disease occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.

What Causes of Hypothyroidism?

The most common causes of hypothyroidism are autoimmune diseases like:

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are :

  • Tiredness, weakness, fatigue      
  • Sleepiness                       
  • Cold intolerance                  
  • Hoarseness of voice                                     
  • Constipation
  • Joint pains and muscle cramps        
  • Depression
  • Menorrhagia                     
  • Infertility                      
  • Fatigue                                      
  • Weight gain from fluid retention            
  • Dry skin and cold intolerance               
  • Yellow skin                                 
  • Coarseness or loss of hair
  • Hoarseness                               
  • Goiter                                      
  • Memory and mental impairment                
  • Decreased concentration                     
  • Irregular or heavy menses and infertility   

Appropriate treatment of hyperthyroidism requires an accurate diagnosis.

What is Graves’ disease?

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to attack the thyroid gland. This leads to excess production of thyroid hormones.

Graves’ disease is the main cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States affecting about 1 in 200 people.

The disease can occur at any age but affects people who fall under the age groups of 30 and 50. Like most thyroid disorders, Graves’ disease affects women more than men.

Symptoms of Graves’ disease

People with Graves’ disease may display similar symptoms to hyperthyroidism. These are:

  • fast and irregular heartbeat
  • frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
  • goiter
  • heat intolerance
  • nervousness or irritability
  • tiredness or muscle weakness
  • trembling hands
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss

The chances of a person developing this disease are if other family members have it because Graves’ disease is hereditary, but people with

other autoimmune disorders are more likely to develop Graves’ disease than people without these disorders. Conditions linked with Graves’ disease are:

  • rheumatoid arthritis – a disorder that affects the joints and sometimes other body systems
  • pernicious anemia –  a condition caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency
  • lupus – a chronic, or long-term, a disorder that can affect many parts of your body
  • Addison’s disease – a hormonal disorder
  • celiac disease – a digestive disorder
  • vitiligo – a disorder in which some parts of the skin are not pigmented

What is Hashimoto’s disease?

Hashimoto’s disease, also knows as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, and autoimmune thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hypothyroidism.

This disease damages your thyroid gland by causing the immune system to attack your thyroid gland preventing it from producing enough hormones. It affects 5 out of 100 people in the United States.

The disease is at least 8 times more common in women than in men and it may occur in teens or young women. It commonly appears between ages 40 and 60.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease

Many people with Hashimoto’s disease hardly display any symptoms at all in the beginning because the disease is often is subclinical—mild and without symptoms. But as time progresses the following symptoms can occur:

  • tiredness
  • weight gain
  • trouble tolerating cold
  • joint and muscle pain
  • constipation
  • dry, thinning hair
  • heavy or irregular menstrual periods and problems becoming pregnant
  • depression
  • memory problems
  • a slowed heart rate

A person is more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease if they have other autoimmune disorders. Conditions linked to Hashimoto’s disease include:

  • Addison’s disease – a hormonal disorder
  • autoimmune hepatitis – a disease in which the immune system attacks the liver
  • celiac disease – a digestive disorder
  • lupus – a chronic, or long-term, a disorder that can affect many parts of your body
  • pernicious anemia – a condition caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency
  • rheumatoid arthritis – a disorder that affects the joints and sometimes other body systems
  • Sjögren’s syndrome – a disease that causes dry eyes and mouth
  • type 1 diabetes – This is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high
  • vitiligo – a condition in which some parts of the skin are not pigmented

Your chances of developing Hashimoto’s disease are high if your family members have it.

Conclusion

Most people live with these diseases without ever knowing it. Ignorance and negligence have a huge role to play. We must always listen to our bodies.

If you suspect you or your loved ones might have any of these diseases, consult with a doctor as soon as possible.

Listen to your bodies.

References

Alam, Khan & Khattak, Muhammad Muzaffar Ali Khan & Shamim, Akhtar. (2002). Thyroid Disorders, Etiology and Prevalence. Journal of Medical Sciences. 2. 10.3923/jms.2002.89.94.

Sreekanth, Dr. Nama. (2013). REVIEW ON THYROID DISORDERS. international journal of pharmaceutical research and bio science.

Somasundaram, Noel & Rajaratnam, Henry & Wijeyaratne, Chandrika & S, De & C, Rathnathunga & Fernando, Ranil & Siribaddana, Sisira & Katulanda, Prasad & Bulugahapitiya, Uditha & Siyambalapitiya, Sajith & Antonypillai, Charles & Sumanatilleke, Manilka & Garusinghe, Chaminda & Muthukuda, Dimutha & NM, Widanege & Weerakkody, Muditha & Karuppiah, Dharshini & Pathmanathan, Sivatharshya & Abhayaratna, Sachith & Karunasena, Nayananjani. (2012). Thyroid Disease. Sri Lanka Journal of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2. S1-S20. 10.4038/sjdem.v2i2.4786.

Ryan Wallace & Tricia Kinman. (2017) Common Thyroid disorders, https://www.healthline.com/health/common-thyroid-disorders#hyperthyroidism

Understanding Thyroid Problems https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/understanding-thyroid-problems-basics

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