Firstly: What is a thyroid?Have you noticed a butterfly shaped gland in front of your neck, roughly about 2 inches long? That’s your ‘thyroid gland’, responsible for producing the hormones in your endocrine system that help regulate your body’s functions. It’s chiefly responsible for all the cellular work in whole body and acts as the main fuel for your body to function while making every part work with energy. You can think of it as a smart engine in your body that helps control your body temperature, your breathing patterns, and your cholesterol levels. Did you know that thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy worldwide? It is ranked second among women across the Middle East and is the sixth most prevalent cancer in the UAE. It is roughly estimated that more than 12% of people will have some sort of problem with their thyroid during their lifetime, with women far more likely to have it than men. Read on to know why not paying attention to your thyroid, can affect your heartbeat rate and your overall health performance while eventually becoming life-threatening.
4 kinds of thyroids to watch out for!
A ‘thyroid disorder’ is diagnosed when your thyroid gland goes into overdrive and starts producing either excessive or very low levels of hormones, causing it to grow enlarged with lumps of extra tissue, creating a sensation of choking.
This is when your body metabolism slows down as the thyroid doesn’t produce the required hormones needed. Adversely, you end up gaining weight and feeling lethargic and out of sorts. Cases of hypothyroid in UAE is quite common. Some of its symptoms are weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair fall, itching, menstrual irregularity, skin issues, infertility, abortion, uncontrolled diabetes, and swelling around your eyes, face and legs.
This occurs when there is an excess of thyroid hormones in your body. So your body metabolism increases without any effort causing weakness, a rapid pulse rate and sudden mood swings, indicating that your thyroid is producing excessive hormones. Some of it’s symptoms are weight loss, palpitation, shaky hands (tremors), eye protrusion, infertility, abortions, menstrual irregularity, skin issues and chest pain.
The swelling of your thyroid gland is diagnosed as goiter. It’s a visible bulge in your neck that often makes you cough and makes your voice sound hoarse. You need to see a doctor immediately to decide the next course of action on the nodule.
This is a far more serious kind of thyroid as they are a ‘cancerous growth’ on your thyroid gland causing excessive hormone production. Remember, thyroid cancers are curable if treated properly and on time, with proper treatment and regular follow-ups.
If you’re experiencing any of these with increasing frequency, speak with our team of endocrinologists at HealthHub Clinics, who can guide you through every step of your treatment.
Let’s look at what happens to you when you ignore the first two, most common kinds of thyroid: Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism.
What happens when you ignore hypothyroidism?
Birth defects & pregnancy
As a mother before delivery (and immediately after), your maternal responsibilities also demand that you check for early thyroid issues as your child’s development literally depends on it!
Not treating your thyroid issues, leaves your child highly vulnerable to a higher risk of developing birth defects. Untreated thyroid disorders could also impact their high mental and physical development issues because thyroid hormones are vital for developing their brain health and mental faculties.
There’s hope as your child could have a healthy development if the thyroid issues are addressed immediately after delivery. An abbreviated thyroid function test is part of the newborn screen, involving a panel of blood tests performed on a newborn to rule out diseases.
To know more, read all about thyroid and its effect on your pregnancy.
Here are some common hypothyroidism symptoms to watch out for:
A bulging neck: goiter
When your thyroid exhausts itself in an effort to produce an adequate amount of hormones, the excessive stimulation may cause your thyroid gland to bulge up in your neck. This causes you to cough and choke in a condition referred to as goiter.
One of the biggest dangers of ignoring your hypothyroidism no matter how small it may appear initially; is how it can be a serious threat to your heart health. When it’s a thyroid that is inactive it can raise the levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ causing your arteries to thicken, which in turn can cause a sudden stroke or heart attack. Over time, a buildup of fluid will collect around your heart, making it harder to pump blood through your body.
Infertility is a key issue in hypothyroidism. A woman’s ovulation and chances of conceiving can be deeply affected if the hormone levels are low. Despite treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, the chances of a woman being pregnant are grim.
Mental Health issues
Studies have repeatedly shown that amnesia, mental slowdown, tiredness weak motor skills, poor concentration and memory, and emotional outbursts are all linked to hypothyroidism. The most noticeable disorder experienced is undeniably depression and constant irritability. Perceptual changes in taste, hearing and vision are the first few signs and if left untreated, creates bigger mental complications from delusions and hallucinations over time.
Also called ‘Myxedema’ for extreme hypothyroidism, which is rare, this is the stage when the symptoms have been ignored completely leading to a complete breakdown that can be life threatening. It can be so dangerous that your entire body metabolism ends up slowing down, where you can end up in a comatose state of unconsciousness. Talk to our team of endocrinologists immediately for a hypothyroidism test, the moment you start seeing signs of extreme fatigue and sudden temperature fluctuations.
What happens when you ignore hyperthyroidism?One of the most important things to be watchful for when you have hyperthyroidism is the toll it takes on your heart. This is because your body is witnessing an overactive thyroid in a hyper state, dispensing energy rapidly and at a fast rate over extended periods, causing tremendous strain on your heart. If left untreated, it can create the following hyperthyroidism symptoms:
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart beats or atrial fibrillation)
- Cardiac dilation (enlarging of your heart cavities, which thins the heart muscle) causing congestive heart failure
- Sudden cardiac arrest
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Osteoporosis: Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism can end up extracting calcium and phosphate from your bones causing it to lose its mineral density while flushing out excess calcium and phosphorous (through the urine and stools).
So, what’s the solution?
As we have seen, thyroid disorders can be caused by a variety of reasons which include hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, or genetics (family history).
Dr. Mohammed Abul Hassan Boopathy, Specialist Endocrinologist at HealthHub Clinics shares his thoughts on why identifying the symptoms early on is vital for effective treatment.
In recent years, there has been an increase in reported cases of thyroid disorders in the UAE. This can be attributed to factors such as sedentary lifestyles, dietary habits, and environmental factors. Time is everything, so it’s important for you to be aware of these risk factors and look for medical attention without delay before complications occur.
If you’ve liked what you’ve just read and want to know more about its symptoms, causes and treatment, check out our blog article on Thyroid.
To speak with our expert team of endocrinologists or to book an appointment with the best thyroid specialist in Dubai, call HealthHub Clinics today on 8002344 for the best thyroid treatment in Dubai or to know more about the best Thyroid Profile package in Dubai.