Managing Thyroid Disease

The different forms of thyroid disease can affect 1 in 10 Canadians as about 50% of the population may even be undiagnosed. The thyroid is an organ found in the neck which takes a butterfly shape that aids to produce the various hormones your body needs. The vast conditions occur due to the thyroid gland either producing too much or too little hormones as it can control an individual’s metabolism. Your metabolism is important as it uses the cells’ energy in order to allow the body to run efficiently. A healthy range for the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is between 0.4 to 5.0 µIU/mL. There are different forms of thyroid disease which include: 1) Hypothyroidism  Hypothyroidism occurs when your body is unable to produce sufficient amounts of hormones, particularly of T3 and T4 in the body. Hypothyroidism affects at least 2 in 100 people as individuals’ metabolism overtime slows down. The individual may face a poor appetite, cold, brittle hair, muscle weakness and more. Typically, treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking a hormone pill for T4 to help increase this hormone in the body. 
2) Hyperthyroidism  Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is producing excess T3 and T4 hormones in the body. This can influence individuals’ body as the processes begin to speed up. Some individuals may notice quick weight loss, rapid heartbeat, excess sweat and mood swings. Typically, it can be treated easily, however, if an individual does not take treatment, it can have severe effects on the body. If the symptoms do irritate the individual, the doctor may prescribe beta-blockers which is used slow down heart rate and lower blood pressure. Treatment is still required as doctors may indicate to use radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medication.   3) Graves’  Disease Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder as the immune system begins to attack the thyroid that can lead to hypothyroidism. Graves’ disease on average effects people between the ages of 30-50. Thus, it is important to take medication as prescribed and some medication given could be beta-blockers or anti-thyroid medications. If treatment is not taken, there could be further complications such as irregular heartbeat or Graves’ ophthalmopathy where one may face eye pain, double vision and light sensitivity as the eyes can seem like it is bulging out.  If you feel you face symptoms of any of these conditions, it is important you speak to your healthcare provider as many of the conditions can be diagnosed through a blood test. Specifically, as women are about 5-8 times be more likely to be diagnosed than a man from these from thyroid conditions.  

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Written by: Shenen Sivakumar

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