Before being diagnosed with a thyroid disorder I didn’t realize how many parts of the body could be affected by the thyroid. There are several different thyroid diseases and each has different signs. They include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroid, Graves’ disease, thyroid cancer, and postpartum thyroiditis.
While all thyroid diseases may vary in symptoms, they can wreck havoc in a person’s physical and mental states, if the conditions go untreated. When I was six months pregnant with my second son and going through the normal blood work ups that go along with pregnancy my OBGYN noticed that my thyroid hormones were inconsistent. I was referred to an endocrinologist who diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. The condition caused me to go from hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism, within a month sometimes.
While the condition can be controlled through medication, it may cause several problems while getting medication dosages worked out. A few side effects of the condition may include excessive loss of hair, severely dry skin, temporary memory loss, insomnia, irritability, heart palpitation, constipation, and weight gain for no apparent reason, premature graying, and difficulty swallowing. Hashimoto’s disease is a condition that can cause swings from hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism. However, because Hashimoto’s attacks the thyroid gland and diminishes thyroid hormone production, the disease eventually reaches and stays in hypothyroidism. Once diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease it is necessary to continue taking medication through out a person’s life
Hyperthyroidism can affect both men and women, but most often affects women ages 20 to 40 and causes the thyroid to produce too much hormone. The condition may cause irritability, increased perspiration, heart palpitations, irregular digestive problems including diarrhea, nervous hands, weight loss for no explanation, women may experience lighter periods and men my experience erectile dysfunction.
One of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is when the immune system over stimulates the thyroid gland producing two different thyroid hormones. Graves’ disease is noticed through several signs, which also represent thyroid disease including a swollen thyroid gland, bulging eyes, problems breathing, irritability, weight loss when not dieting, heat sensitivity and increased perspiration, fatigue mainly seen in the upper arms and thighs.
Around five percent of women who have recently given birth experience postpartum thyroiditis or inflammation of the thyroid gland. Often times the disease comes in two phases. It usually states in hyperthyroidism because of damage to the thyroid gland and if the thyroid does not begin to work correctly, the condition can lead to hypothyroidism.
Thyroid cancer is also a form of thyroid disease. It is noted by small tumors growing on the thyroid gland. A tumor on the thyroid gland is very common, but 90 to 95 percent of the time, they are not cancerous. However, thyroid cancer many times does not exude any signs and it can metastasize in the body and become life threatening.
Many times one of the first signs of thyroid disease is an abnormality of the thyroid gland. Whether you experience difficulty swallowing, notice a thickness in your neck or a lump around your throat, it could be a result of a thyroid disease. The thyroid is not something to be over looked. It affects many different parts of the body. If you think you or someone you know may suffer from a thyroid disorder, seek medical attention. The cure could be a pill a day and it could change someone’s life.