3 Thyroid Problems That You Should Be Aware Of
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped organ that’s part of the endocrine system. It’s responsible for releasing essential hormones that regulate our body’s metabolism. Several body functions are reliant on the hormones that the thyroid gland produces. This includes our body weight, breathing, heart rate, body temperature and more.
There’s no denying the importance of the thyroid gland in the overall health of our bodies. It’s important to properly take care of it, and be aware of the many problems it could face such as cretinism, goiter, and Grave’s disease.
This article will discuss those 3 thyroid problems so we can be aware of it, as well their corresponding diagnosis and treatment. Read on to learn more.
Cretinism is caused by untreated iodine deficiency. It is observed by a severely impaired growth of the physical body and mental health. Signs and symptoms of cretinism can be immediately seen from the infant’s birth. People born with cretinism have distinctive features. Some of them are the following:
- Poor growth
- Short stature
- Constipation and infrequent stooling
- Hoarse cry
- Short and wide face
Reversion of cretinism can be done by correcting iodine deficiency of the baby during the first three months. As a treatment, hormone therapy is recommended during the early weeks of infancy. Since the condition is of birth origin, prevention mainly lies on the pregnant mother’s part. If you’re pregnant, make sure to eat foods that are balanced and rich in iodine. Medical screening should also be done during the early stages of pregnancy to prevent cretinism in the newborn.
Goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland, and is another condition brought about by iodine deficiency. Like cretinism, it’s a type of hypothyroidism. Signs and symptoms of goiter are not always visible, but when it is, you may notice the following:
- An obvious swelling below the Adam’s apple
- Difficulty in swallowing and breathing
- Tightness in the throat
Goiter can occur at any time and to anyone. It may even be present at birth. The most common risk factors of goiter include:
- Iodine deficiency
- Being female
- Medical history
Although goiters vary in size, small ones that don’t pose a physical problem isn’t that much of a concern. However, the large ones have to be treated because it may cause breathing and swallowing discomfort. Consult with a physician to get the proper cure. If the goiter is found to be due to an under-active thyroid, hormone replacement pills may be prescribed.
- Grave’s disease
Affecting 1 in 200 people in the United States, Grave’s disease is not to be taken lightly. It’s the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the US and occurs when the thyroid gland is being mistakenly attacked by the immune system. This leads to the gland overproducing hormones responsible for regulating the metabolism.
Having a high level of thyroid in your bloodstream causes your body’s systems to overwork. You may experience anxiety, fatigue, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and even excessive sweating. Grave’s disease can be detected from a simple physical exam. There’s no specific treatment to stop the immune system from mistakenly attacking the thyroid gland. But there are several ways it can be controlled. Physicians may prescribe beta-blockers, radioactive iodine, antithyroid medications, and even surgery depending on the condition of the patient.