Time to Check Your Neck
Many people are unaware of the role and function of the thyroid gland and hence, the diseases related to it go unnoticed. In light of
2023, let us discuss the importance of the thyroid gland and the diseases associated with it.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, which is essential for all the major processes in the body. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce
that control the major body processes.
It controls most of the body’s functions including metabolism, and heart rate, and also affects how things work and move in the body. Therefore, the disruption in the thyroid gland function could lead to issues that affect our day-to-day life.
Did You Know?
This Thyroid Awareness Month 2023, let’s read up on some interesting facts regarding thyroid disorders.
Thyroid disorders are 5-8 times more prevalent in women than in men.
- Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid diseases are unaware of their condition.
- Most thyroid cancers respond to treatment, although a small percentage can be very aggressive.
- The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.
- Pregnant women with undiagnosed thyroid issues have an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and severe developmental problems in their children.
- Most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions that can be managed with medical attention.
- Untreated thyroid dysfunction can lead to heart disease, osteoporosis, and infertility.
Understanding Thyroid Disorders
: Refers to low production of thyroid hormone. It is also called underactive thyroid. The symptoms include tiredness, fatigue, brain fog, slowed metabolism, constipation, weight gain, cold intolerance, dry skin, thin hair, irregular menstruation, slowed heart rate, and depression (2✔ ✔Trusted Source
MedlinePlus. National Library of Medicine. Thyroid Diseases
Go to source
: Increased production of thyroid hormone. It is also called overactive thyroid. The symptoms include rapid heartbeat, weight loss, tremors, diarrhea, etc.
: It is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of the thyroid gland. It can also cause goiter (irregular growth of the thyroid gland).
: Small, benign growths called thyroid nodules that develop in the layer of cells that lines the inner surface of the thyroid gland. Symptoms may be similar to hyperthyroidism.
: The chance of developing thyroid cancer is higher in persons who have had exposure to radiation in the head, neck, or chest. Papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer, and medullary thyroid cancer are the four primary subtypes of thyroid cancer.
Effect of Thyroid Disorders in Women
Puberty and Menstruation
: Thyroid disorders can impact the onset of puberty and menstruation in women. High or low levels of thyroid hormone can cause heavy or light periods, irregular periods, or absent periods altogether.
: Over or underactive thyroid may impact the ovulation time or it may stop ovulation. Additionally, there is a high risk of cyst development if a woman is suffering from hypothyroidism (3✔ ✔Trusted Source
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Thyroid Tests
Go to source
Pregnancy and Postpartum
: Thyroid disorders can harm the fetus during pregnancy and may cause miscarriages, preterm delivery, and stillbirth.
: Thyroid disorders may cause early menopause (before the age of 40 or early 40s).
Screening Tests for Thyroid
Thyroid hormones can be measured by blood tests, but not all of them are always helpful. The tests listed below are used to assess thyroid function (4✔ ✔Trusted Source
Hypothyroidism and women’s health
Go to source
). This Thyroid Awareness Month 2023, we should know what tests are important in the diagnosis of thyroid disorders.
: The best technique to first assess thyroid function is through the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) testing, which gauges the blood’s thyroid stimulating hormone levels. TSH levels that are too high or too low, may signal thyroid problem.
: T4 is the primary form of thyroid hormone found in blood and is measured by T4 testing. Levels assist in identifying if a patient has hyper- or hypothyroidism.
: The diagnosis of hyperthyroidism can be made with T3 testing. T3 levels in hyperthyroid individuals will be higher.
Free T3 Tests
: Free T3 assays assess free T3, although they are frequently inaccurate and rarely useful.
Thyroid and Mental Health
The dysfunction of the thyroid gland results in mood changes. It significantly impacts one’s mood and mental health. With hyperthyroidism, the symptoms range from anxiety, nervousness, and irritability.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are depression and unusual tiredness. Generally, the effect of thyroid dysfunction on mental health is severe. People face concentration and memory issues, and often experience brain fog or reduced alertness.
Thyroid Awareness Month aims to help people understand the condition and learn ways to cope with the impact it has on mental health.
How to Observe Thyroid Awareness Month
Encourage Friends and Family to get Tested
: Many people may be living with the condition but do not get tested due to various fears. If you are fully aware of thyroid gland issues then you should spread awareness regarding it and the importance of getting tested.
Never Ignore the Symptoms
: People are usually scared of visiting doctors and finding out that they have a condition. It is important to be vigilant of any bodily changes so that complications can be avoided.
Keeping Track of Lifestyle Activities
: Thyroid issues usually get triggered by stress, food, and other activities so it is vital to be vigilant of your daily habits so that they can be controlled and managed easily.
This Thyroid Awareness Month 2023 let’s pledge to take care of our bodies and be cognizant of actions that may interrupt or hinder the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.
- American Thyroid Association. January is Thyroid Awareness Month – (https://www.thyroid.org/january-thyroid-awareness/)
- MedlinePlus. National Library of Medicine. Thyroid Diseases – (https://medlineplus.gov/thyroiddiseases.html)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Thyroid Tests – (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diagnostic-tests/thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism and women’s health – (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12081257/)