Brief Information on Thyroid Gland

Dr. Sandeep Kharb, Endocrinologist, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi NCR

Thyroid disorders are among most common endocrine disorders which are usually ignored, thyroid disorders need evaluation and treatment by an endocrinologist for best possible results. At Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, we treat all kind of Endocrine related diseases.

Thyroid diseases are more common among females than males and affect all age groups from new born till elderly population, incidence of thyroid diseases increase with increasing age. New born children are most important because if not treated at an early stage then it can lead to permanent mental retardation and poor growth.

Hypothyroidism (low hormone production from thyroid gland) is commonest thyroid disorder.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • weight gain or failure to lose weight despite a proper weight loss regime
  • enlargement in the neck
  • increased cold sensitivity
  • Lethargy & numbness in hands
  • dry skin and hair
  • Heavy menstrual periods and constipation.
  • Hyperthyroidism (Increased hormone production from thyroid gland)

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

  • Weight loss despite a good appetite
  • Enlargement in your neck
  • Bulging eyes
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Shorter menstrual periods
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased sweating, frequent bowel movements, nervousness and trembling hands. It can be treated with tablets, radio-iodine or surgery as per need.

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause menstrual irregularity, infertility, abortions, premature delivery and permanent developmental abnormalities in children born to untreated mothers suffering from thyroid diseases. Though usually thyroid diseases are not life threatening but if not treated for long then sometimes they can become potentially life threatening conditions.

Thyroid cancer

A lump in the neck with pain and swollen lymph nodes could signal thyroid cancer. In such cases, surgery can be done to remove cancerous part or complete thyroid gland with or without radioactive iodine therapy.

Now that thyroid diseases are very common so it is advised that after the age of 35, one should get screened for thyroid dysfunction once every five years or earlier in people at increased risk.

Also preferably all newly born children should be tested for thyroid function on 3rd day of birth and all pregnant ladies should be tested for thyroid function.

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors