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Thyroid Disease: Is it Possible to Have it and be Completely Unaware?

Pathkind Team 1516 Views
Updated: 13 Oct 2023
Published: 28 Mar 2023
Understanding Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid disease is a common yet often overlooked condition that can have serious impacts on overall health. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they may be suffering from thyroid disease and are therefore not able to receive the medical attention they need. This article will discuss the signs and symptoms of thyroid disease and how to detect it.

What is thyroid disease?

The thyroid is a small gland located in the neck. It is responsible for producing, storing, and releasing two hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones control the body's metabolism, which is the rate at which the body processes food and uses energy. When the thyroid is not functioning properly, it can cause many symptoms, including weight gain, fatigue, depression, irregular menstruation, and hair loss.

Normal thyroid levels are essential for a healthy body. If the thyroid hormone levels are too high it is called Hyperthyroidism. On the other hand, if the levels are too low, it is called Hypothyroidism.

Why thyroid disease can go undetected?

Thyroid disease can go undetected for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons are as follows:

  • The symptoms of thyroid disease can be similar to other common illnesses, such as fatigue or headaches.
  • Many of the symptoms associated with thyroid disease can be very subtle, making them easy to miss.
  • Because the thyroid is a small gland located in the neck, it can be difficult to detect any signs of abnormality without a proper medical examination.

For these reasons, many individuals go for long periods of time without realizing that they suffer from a thyroid disorder. This can lead to serious health complications if the condition is not addressed on time. Some of these complications can include infertility, heart disease, and even depression.

How to detect thyroid

Detecting the thyroid is a fairly simple process, but it is important to know what to look for and how to properly diagnose the condition:

The most common way to detect thyroid is through a physical exam by your doctor. Your doctor will feel around your neck and check for any lumps or swelling that could be indicative of a thyroid problem. If your doctor suspects a thyroid problem, they may order T3, T4 or TSH blood test to measure the levels of certain thyroid hormones in your blood. The results of these tests can help your doctor determine whether you have an overactive or underactive thyroid.

Check Thyroid Harmones

In addition to physical exams and blood tests, your doctor may also order imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan to look for any abnormalities in the size or shape of your thyroid gland. These tests can help to determine the thyroid causes, whether it be from a genetic disorder, an autoimmune condition, or something else.

Finally, if your doctor suspects a thyroid problem, they may also refer you to an endocrinologist who specialises in treating hormone-related conditions such as thyroid disorders. An endocrinologist can help to confirm a diagnosis and provide the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition.

Symptoms of Thyroid

The symptoms of thyroid disease can be subtle and often go unnoticed, which unfortunately makes it difficult to diagnose. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of thyroid disease and to take them seriously.

There are two main types of thyroid disease - hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Symptoms of both types are described below:

  • Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is overactive and produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include weight loss, increased appetite, irritability, heat intolerance, anxiety, fatigue, irregular menstrual cycles, and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is underactive and produces too little thyroxine. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include weight gain, fatigue, depression, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, and memory problems.

In both conditions, an enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as a goitre, can also be present.

If you believe you are experiencing any of the symptoms of thyroid disease, it is important to seek medical attention. Your doctor may recommend a blood test to determine the level of thyroid hormones in your body and to help diagnose the condition.

Risks of Untreated Thyroid Disease

Untreated thyroid disease can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild to life-threatening, and can even lead to organ failure and death. For these reasons, it is essential to be aware of the risks associated with untreated thyroid disease, so that you can seek treatment as soon as possible.

The most common risk associated with untreated thyroid disease is an increase in thyroid hormones, which can lead to many symptoms. These symptoms can include fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, depression, and joint pain. If the condition is not treated promptly, the person may experience heart palpitations, breathing problems, irregular heartbeats, and even a coma. In extreme cases, untreated thyroid disease can cause organ failure, stroke, and even death.

In addition to the physical risks associated with untreated thyroid disease, it can also have psychological effects, such as anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating. People with untreated thyroid disease may also experience difficulty sleeping and changes in their mood and behaviour. If left untreated, these symptoms can worsen over time and can have a serious impact on one’s quality of life.

Finally, untreated thyroid disease can also increase the risk of developing other health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis.

Conclusion

The thyroid hormone functions are essential for the proper functioning of the body. They help regulate the body's metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. They are also important for the growth and development of children. Without adequate levels of thyroid hormones, the body cannot produce enough energy to function properly. Therefore, it is important to understand thyroid disease and the ways to maintain healthy thyroid levels.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of thyroid disease, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of long-term health complications. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent the progression of the condition and can help to reduce the risk of long-term health problems.

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