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Different Types of Thyroid Diseases

Different Types of Thyroid Diseases

Doctor examining thyroid of female patient with ultrasound scan

Before delving into the various types of thyroid disorders, it is important to understand the umbrella term – thyroid disorders. Certain medical conditions that affect either the structure or the functioning of the thyroid gland are called thyroid disorders.

Now, what causes thyroid disorders? As discussed in our previous blog post, the thyroid gland produces hormones that are essential for the development of the human body. Iodine is used by the gland to generate these vital hormones and a deficiency of iodine can, therefore, cause the thyroid gland to dysfunction. Other causes include:
Autoimmune diseases that occur when one’s immune system attacks one’s own body;

  • Enlargement of the thyroid caused by a virus or bacteria;
  • Cancerous or non-cancerous lumps in the thyroid;
  • Medical procedures like radiation therapy;
  • Genetic predispositions;
  • In rare cases, pregnancy.

Some of the common types of thyroid disorders are:

  • Hypothyroidism

    A person is diagnosed with hypothyroidism when their thyroid gland fails to produce a sufficient amount of hormones. Problems within the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus can cause hypothyroidism. Common symptoms include fatigue, constipation, sensitivity to cold temperatures, weight gain, depressive feelings, pain in muscles/joints, irregular menstrual cycle (for women), dry skin, and impaired cognition.

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

    An autoimmune disease that leads to the inflammation of the thyroid gland. This disease is the leading cause of Hypothyroidism in many countries. Individuals diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis display symptoms similar to those diagnosed with Hypothyroidism with a few additions like- puffy face, brittle nails, hair loss, and inflammation of the tongue.

Types of Thyroid Deseases
  • Hyperthyroidism
    Hyperthyroidism is described as a condition wherein the thyroid produces hormones in excessive quantities. This leads to a rapid increase in the metabolism rate. A patient diagnosed with hyperthyroidism is likely to experience tremors, weight loss, bouts of nervousness, increased sweating, bowel movements, and heart rate, and sensitivity to heat.
    • Graves’ Disease is the most common cause of Hyperthyroidism. An individual is diagnosed with it when their immune system produces antibodies, known as, thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins which stick to thyroid cells and cause them to release more thyroid hormones than required. Symptoms are the same as those of Hyperthyroidism.
Types of Thyroid Deseases
  • Goiter

    In simple words, a goiter is the enlargement of the thyroid gland. It can be associated with any thyroid disease or a lack of iodine. Individuals are said to have a goiter if the front of their neck or neck vein is swollen, they develop a scratchy voice, feel tightness in their throat area, or feel dizzy when raising their arms above their head.

  • Thyroid Nodules

    Thyroid nodules, or lumps in the thyroid gland can develop due to benign cysts or benign tumors, and can also cause thyroid cancer. It is widely believed that children and adolescents do not have thyroid nodules and that thyroid cancer majorly affects only the adult population.

FAQs

Thyroid disorders can manifest in various symptoms, including weight changes, fatigue, mood swings, irregular menstrual cycles, hair loss, and changes in heart rate. These symptoms can vary depending on whether the thyroid is overactive or underactive.

Various thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer, impact the thyroid gland’s function differently. For instance, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, leading to symptoms like fatigue and weight gain, while hyperthyroidism results from excessive hormone production, causing symptoms such as weight loss and rapid heart rate.

Diet can play a significant role in managing thyroid disorders by providing essential nutrients that support thyroid function. Foods rich in iodine, selenium, vitamin D, and zinc, such as eggs, nuts, yogurt, and salmon, can help support thyroid health and alleviate symptoms associated with thyroid disorders.

It’s important to seek medical advice if you experience persistent symptoms suggestive of thyroid disorders, such as unexplained weight changes, fatigue, or changes in heart rate. A healthcare professional can conduct tests to diagnose thyroid disorders accurately and recommend appropriate treatment options based on individual needs.

Disclaimer

At ThyForLife, we do our utmost to provide accurate information. For detailed medical information regarding diagnosis, treatment, and general practices please consult your healthcare professional. Always listen to the advice of your healthcare provider.
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