Postpartum Thyroiditis is a temporary condition that affects 5% to 9% of new moms within the first year after childbirth.”
The Thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the trachea. It secretes hormones that play a significant role in controlling metabolism, which is the process by which food is converted to energy. When the thyroid releases the right amount of hormones, the metabolism works at the right pace. Over-secretion of thyroid hormones causes the body to use too much energy. Under-secretion slows down metabolism. Both conditions are not good and can lead on to health issues.
Types of Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease occurs due to abnormal secretion of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. There are two types of Thyroid disease: Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism. .
Hypothyroidism is when there is a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Patient feels lethargic, leading to weight gain, fatigue, and inability to tolerate cold temperatures, constipation & hair fall.
Causes for Hypothyroidism:
Thyroiditis: This condition is caused by the inflammation of the thyroid gland that results in the underproduction of thyroid hormones. Postpartum Thyroiditis is a temporary condition that affects 5% to 9% of new moms within the first year after childbirth.
Iodine Deficiency: The thyroid needs a specific amount of iodine in order to function efficiently. A lack of iodine in one’s diet can lead to hypothyroidism. At least seven million people around the world have an iodine deficiency. This is commonly seen in mountainous regions and costal areas.
Hashimoto Thyroiditis: This is an autoimmune condition in which cells of one’s own body attack the thyroid.
Non-functioning Thyroid: Since birth (congenital hypothyroidism) is a relatively rare condition, affecting only 1 in 4000 infants across the globe. If left untreated it can cause physical and mental issues as the child grows. Hence, it is important for new-borns to undergo thyroid screening before leaving the hospital.
An overactive thyroid produces too much thyroid hormones, causing a condition called hyperthyroidism. It speeds up metabolism and leads to unintended weight loss, tremors and arrhythmias. .
Causes for Hyperthyroidism:.
Graves’ Disease: This is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland, thereby resulting in the secretion of excessive thyroid hormones. .
Toxic Adenoma: A non-cancerous lump arising from a glandular structure is called an adenoma. In this case, a thyroid adenoma produces too much thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism. .
Thyroiditis: It occurs when the thyroid becomes infected and inflamed. The inflammation could lead to the thyroid hormones leaking into the bloodstream, thereby causing hyperthyroidism. .
Symptoms of Thyroid Disease
Signs of an overactive thyroid or Hyperthyroidism are:
How is Thyroid Disease Treated?
If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms you need to see an endocrinologist, who is an expert in diagnosing and treating thyroid disease. A blood test will reveal how well your thyroid gland is functioning. Depending on the type of thyroid disease, your doctor will prescribe treatment.
Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid replacement medication. It replaces the definite thyroid hormones. In the case of hyperthyroidism the goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of thyroid hormones. This can be achieved through Beta Blockers, anti-thyroid drugs and radioactive iodine if necessary. In severe cases of hyperthyroidism, surgery might be necessary. Thyroidectomy involves the surgical removal of the thyroid. With the thyroid gone, there is no secretion of thyroid hormones at all – hence the person will need to take thyroid replacement drugs for the rest of their life.
CONSULTANT – ENDOCRINOLOGY
MBBS, MD, DM (ENDOCRINOLOGY)