Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism are autoimmune disorders, which predominantly affect women. Hypothyroidism is the most common among the two as this is diagnosed among 80 per cent of those with thyroid conditions. While people affected by hypothyroidism show mild symptoms, those with hyperthyroidism suffer far more severe impacts.
Hypothyroidism is a condition when the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones into the bloodstream. It is caused by an underactive thyroid and apart from slowing down metabolism, the condition causes fatigue, weight gain and irresistibility to weather conditions.
Five major reasons for hypothyroidism are:
» They are congenital that is 1 among 2,500 children are born without the normal amount of thyroid hormones
» The thyroid gland is damaged after a surgery
» The thyroid glands lose the ability to produce thyroid hormone due to radiation.
» The thyroid gland is damaged due to the side effects of nuclear medicine.
» The auto-immune system goes awry due to age-related or other biological factors.
Hyperthyroidism is caused by the excessive production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. The major symptoms are weight loss, irregular heartbeats, increased hunger, trembling of hands and fingers, enlarged thyroid gland (sometimes called goitre), warm and moist skin, and brittle hair, apart from the speedy metabolism.
Some conditions that cause hyperthyroidism include Grave's disease which incites the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, overactive thyroid nodules and thyroiditis. a condition in which the thyroid becomes inflamed.
If one finds himself or herself losing weight without any reason in particular, faster heartbeats or excessive sweating, it's advisable to see a doctor at the earliest. It's been found that about 30 per cent of the afflicted persons can completely get cured of the disease.
Are there any precautionary measures, which can keep thyroid conditions at bay?
Neither hypothyroidism nor hypothyroidism can be prevented. There are no dietary measures either to lessen the impact of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Some say that certain vegetables like cabbage are harmful to those with a thyroid disorder. But that is a myth. However, it's important to note that there is no need to panic or feel depressed by any form of the disease. This is the easiest and most convenient of all diseases as one can lead a very normal life by taking the medicine regularly, conducting medical tests at intervals and changing the dosage accordingly. There should not be any fear of change in the quality of life either.
(Information courtesy: Dr R V Jayakumar, Senior Consultant Endocrinology, Aster Medcity, Kochi)