January is celebrated as Thyroid Awareness Month every year. Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland which is located at the front of the neck and produces important hormones for our health and well-being. When our thyroid gland makes either too much or too little of some of the important hormones, it can lead to thyroid disease. Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are some of the common thyroid disorders. Thyroid issues can affect anyone but are more common in women than men. Women have more chances of developing thyroid issues as compared to men. (Also read: Thyroid Awareness Month: Common signs of thyroid in kids to watch out for)
“Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, which is located in the anterior (front) part of the neck. This gland produces T3 and T4 hormones which regulate our general well-being. Thyroid disorders are common and can affect anyone. Some people are born with thyroid diseases. While others develop with age.
Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to have a thyroid disorder. This can affect a woman of any age but women who recently gave birth, or undergoing menopause, age 60 and above are more prone,” says Dr. Himani Indeewar, MBBS, MS – ENT at Pristyn Care.
Thyroid problems are usually of three types:
1. Hypothyroidism 2. hyperthyroidism 3. Thyroid lump (which can be cancerous or noncancerous)
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
“The symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, dry skin, weight gain, thinning of hair or nails, depression, cold intolerance, slow heart rate, and menstrual irregularities,” says Dr Indeewar.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
“The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are weight loss, increased appetite, rapid heart rate, anxiety, nervousness, sleep disturbance, and bulging eyes,” says the expert.
Lumps of the gland can be associated with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Dr Indeewar says some of the common health problems seen in women due to thyroid disorder are:
1. Skin disorder
2. Irregular menstrual cycle
4. Early menopause
Thyroid disorders can be diagnosed with blood tests, imaging tests and physical exams.