Thyroid is the name of a gland that is situated in front of the neck. Normally you may not be able to see the gland unless you are very thin. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone has a number of effects on body’s function. The main one being to control the metabolic rate, i.e., the amount of energy used by the body to maintain vital processes such as breathing, circulation and digestion.
Too much thyroid hormone makes the body to work too fast, whereas too little allows the body to slow down. Deficiency of thyroid hormone makes our metabolism slow and absent of thyroid in not compatible with life.
Thyroid hormone is necessary for normal body functions. So if you have under-active thyroid you need to be on thyroid replacement. Also, your blood level of cholesterol (fat in the blood) increases with under active thyroid, which as you would know, is not good for heart and brain.
In the same way, excess thyroid hormone in the blood puts pressure on different organs in the body, particularly on the heart and brain. Heart is made to work more by the excess thyroid hormones and may lead to heart failure, particularly in the elderly. Long standing overactive thyroid can make the bones weak and the muscles thin.
Family history of thyroid is the main risk factor. If you have a family history and you have symptoms suggestive of under- or overactive thyroid, it is worth seeing your doctor for a physical examination and blood test. Remember thyroid disease is 10 times more common in women than in men.
No, certainly not. A big thyroid gland is called a goitre, fortunately, Thyroid cancer is not common. Certain clinical pointers are there which tells us whether thyroid cancer is high on the card or not.
Thyroid problem can be treated very effectively and completely. Under active thyroid disease is very common and totally treatable. Its’ true that you need monitoring, but there is absolutely no reason for not feeling like anybody without Hypothyroidism. In the same way overactive thyroid is reasonably easily treated with good satisfaction to the patient and physician.
There is very little bad news with thyroid problem. Even thyroid cancer is one of those cancers which are very much treatable and you can have a normal life for decades unless the cancer has spread too much before the diagnosis is made.
There is no need to think like that, this is not a contagious disease. As a routine now, we check all the new born for thyroid function by heel prick and if baby has low and high thyroid diagnosis can be done early and treatment can be started.
Overactive thyroid makes the heart beating faster. This is especially important in the elderly or people with heart disease. This may be a cause for angina or heart failure.
An underactive thyroid can cause high cholesterol, also this is a cause of fluid accumulation outside the heart called pericardial effusion.
Genetic link about thyroid disease is true, you have more chance to have thyroid disease if you have a family history. This is particularly true for women. Unfortunately you can do nothing about this. Best is to know thyroid symptoms and routine checking of blood.
The most important step when you come to know that you have a thyroid problem is to understand the problem and know about thyroid.
There are a lot of misconceptions about thyroid among general people. Do not take professional advice from non-professionals. Internet is a good source of information other than Health Journals, Health articles in newspapers and magazines. We have prepared this booklet for your help to give information in a simple language.