Thyroid problems may either be hypothyroidism which is when the thyroid glands are inactive and hyperthyroidism which is when a person has an over functioning thyroid gland. Neither one is better and must be treated as soon as the signs of thyroid problems have been found.
Thyroid problems may result from either overproduction of thyroid hormones or underproduction of these hormones. There are several causes of thyroid problems and being watchful for the signs of thyroid problems may be the best way to treat these illnesses as early as possible.
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Thyroid problems can lead to several physical changes like weight gain, brittle nails, hair loss, puffy face and hand and wrist pain. There are also cognitive changes like inability to concentrate, memory loss and loss of cognitive abilities in later stages of thyroid problems. Other signs of thyroid problems would be changes in the menstrual cycle in women and sexual dysfunction in men. Symptoms of thyroid problems may vary with age; very young children who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism may suffer from slow growth and development and others may also have learning difficulties and overall weakness and tiredness.
Why do people suffer from thyroid problems?
There are many reasons why a person may suffer from thyroid problems; here are the most common causes of hypothyroidism:
- Autoimmune diseases like arthritis, lupus, diabetes and chronic hepatitis can trigger the body to create anti thyroid antibodies that can destroy thyroid tissues leading to reduction of thyroid hormones. It is natural for the body to leash out an immune response to an invader and in autoimmune diseases, the body determines that the gland is an invader and needs to be destroyed. There is fever, swelling and pain felt over the thyroid area as the immune system tries to contain and destroy the thyroid glands causing total reduction of thyroid hormone secretion.
- Loss of thyroid tissue may be the result of aggressive radioactive treatment like chemotherapy for cancers and any malignancies. This treatment can significantly damage the thyroid glands causing it to reduce production or thyroid hormones.
- Surgery or the surgical removal of thyroid tissues as a treatment for hyperthyroidism may lead to its opposite. When the thyroid glands are removed here will generally be drastic hormone imbalances that will always lead to hypothyroidism.
- There are cases when hypothyroidism is present from the time the person is born. This congenital defect is very rare and may only be discovered after routine newborn screening or after a thorough medical checkup by the time the first signs of the illness have been noticed.
- There are also certain medications that can cause a reduction in the production of thyroid hormones. One such medication is lithium which is prescribed for patients with mood disorders; lithium can stabilize a person’s mood which is usually given to treat manic depression cases. However, this medication can cause suppression of thyroid hormones leading to hypothyroidism.
- There are cases when there is a defect in the production of thyroid hormones which may result to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
And here are the most common causes of hyperthyroidism:
- Inflammation of the thyroid glands which can lead to a hyperthyroid state. There is increased production of thyroid hormones but as the effect of the response to inflammation, the thyroid gland may reduce hormone production causing hypothyroidism.
- Grave’s disease is described as the abnormal stimulation of the thyroid glands which can lead to hyperthyroidism as well as Grave’s eye disease; the person may have a frightened stare with large bulging eyes. This condition can lead to severe strain on the eyeballs and eye sockets and may also cause skin changes on the feet and shins.
- Toxic goiter is the condition when an area of the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones even without stimulation. There is severe hyperthyroidism and often occurs in people with chronic goiter.
- Abnormalities of the pituitary gland that controls thyroid hormone production from the thyroid glands. Abnormalities may lead to overstimulation of the thyroid leading to hyperthyroidism.
- And like hypothyroidism, drugs may also affect thyroid production. Medications intended for cardiac problems like amiodarone (Cordarone) is one of the most common medications that can cause this condition, therefore careful diagnosis and regular follow-ups is still the best way to reduce signs of thyroid problems.
What Happens When You Dont Attend The Signs Of Thyroid Problems?
It would be unwise to not seek medical treatment right away when you are diagnosed with thyroid problems. When a person overlooks the signs of thyroid problems, there are severe complications that may arise:
- The patient may progress to a coma state. The body can no longer handle the huge load on its system as the person has very low to absent thyroid hormones. Metabolic systems and various important functions all shut down as the body needs to have thyroid hormones to maintain these important functions.
- A person may experience a thyroid storm or a thyrotoxic state. This may be due to prolonged elevated thyroid hormones and the body simply cannot cope with the levels of these hormones. There is increased breathing, palpitations, increased blood pressure readings and many other severe complications of a hyperthyroid condition.
- A person can die from untreated signs of thyroid problems with a current death rate of less than 50%. And with this alarming rate, it is very important to cite the value of seeking medical help right away.
- Untreated thyroid conditions in children may lead to severe physical disabilities like having a frail and weak body. It may also lead to serious cognitive conditions and may also affect the ability of the child to learn and to master different skills.
There are also severe cases of thyroid concerns that can lead to death in children and babies. It is thus very important to seek medical help right away especially when you are dealing with the signs of thyroid problems in children. Regular check up, nutrition and medication are often the treatment given to children who are diagnosed with thyroid problems.