DR. TEJESWINI DEEPAK PATIL
MD (General Medicine), FACE
Consultant Endocrinologist and Diabetologist
Thyroid is a small organ present in front of the neck. It is a gland that makes hormones called Thyroid Hormones which are important and essential throughout a person’s life for functions like growth and development.
+ What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough hormones, thus leading to a deficiency of the thyroid hormone.
The most common cause for Hypothyroidism in an individual is when the person’s body has an autoimmune reaction to its own thyroid gland.
- Lethargy or tiredness
- Deficient growth in children
- Menstrual disturbances in females
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed based on the presence of symptoms and the results of blood tests that measure the level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and the Thyroid Hormone Thyroxine (T4).
A Low level of Thyroxine and a High level of TSH indicates an underactive Thyroid and Hypothyroidism.
+ What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism also called as ‘overactive thyroid’ is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of the Hormone Thyroxine, thus leading to an excessive presence of the thyroid hormone.
Similar to Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism is caused when the person’s body has an autoimmune reaction to its own thyroid gland and is called ‘Graves Disease’.
Another cause for Hyperthyroidism is because of the thyroid gland being inflamed due to single or multiple nodules in the thyroid.
Another form of excess thyroid hormones due to inflammation is called ‘Thyroiditis’ which may not need any treatment and resolves spontaneously.
Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed based on the presence of symptoms and the results of blood tests that measure the level of Thyroid Hormones (T3 & T4). and the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).
A High level of T3 & T4 and a Low level of TSH indicates Hyperthyroidism.
Treatment depends on the Cause for the condition and differs from other Hyperthyroidism having a different cause. One form of treatment practiced earlier was by the surgical removal of thyroid gland called Thyroidectomy.
In recent times, Radioactive Iodine Treatment which works by selectively melting away the thyroid over a few months, has replaced surgery owing to it being as a safe, simple and definitive treatment for Hyperthyroidism.
+ Nodules or Lumps in Thyroid
Nodules and Lumps in the Thyroid are deemed common and mostly always turn out to be harmless or benign. However, even though minimal, there are still chances for a small percentage of them turning cancerous or malignant.
A thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis is the Key factor to be able to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment for the condition. An Endocrinologist is a clinician who has trained and specialized in the workings and disorders of the Endocrine Glands like Thyroid and Pancreas, hence will be the best person to trust for Thyroid Disorders.
Some of the Diagnostic modalities used to evaluate and determine the cause for the Thyroid disorders are –
- Ultrasound Scan of Thyroid
- FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology)
- Radioisotope Scanning
- For Benign Nodules, a periodic observation by your Endocrinologist once every 6 months is recommended.
- A majority of the Cancerous Thyroid Nodules are curable through Surgical removal of thyroid gland followed by Radioactive Iodine Therapy.