Small but powerful. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck above the clavicle. It controls many of the body's most important functions and produces hormones that affect breathing, heart rate, digestion and body temperature. Then we answer six important questions about this vital gland for human metabolism.
What thyroid problems are there?
When we talk about disorders of thyroid function, they are the most famous: hyperthyroidism (when the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than the body's need). And hypothyroidism (when thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone). But they are not the only ones. In addition, there are other problems like goiter, which is the enlarged thyroid gland. even thyroid cancer and tubers: lumps in the thyroid gland. And thyroiditis: swelling of the thyroid gland.
What are the main symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?
"The most characteristic symptoms of hyperthyroidism are lack of muscle strength, insomnia, nervousness, tremor, palpitation, eye changes (blurred eyes) and, among other things, goiter," says Ana María Orlandi, head of the thyroid gland in the Endocrinology Unit of the Hospital Álvarez and its president argentine society for endocrinology and metabolism.
And highlights the most distinctive symptoms of hypothyroidism: fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, severe constipation, sleepiness, generalized edema, dry skin and delicate nails. "In either case, the symptoms may be rare in subclinical or serious illness when the consultation or diagnosis is delayed and the change progresses," he says.
What is subclinical thyroid disease?
Subclinical hyperthyroidism is a picture of mild or monosymptomatic hyperthyroidism, characterized by low TSH levels and normal peripheral hormones (T4 and T3). Conversely, subclinical hypothyroidism is a mild degree of thyroid insufficiency, which occurs with elevated TSH and with normal peripheral hormones.
And how is it treated?
The treatment of these conditions depends on the age of the patient, the biological moment, the relationship with the pregnancy, the search for fertility and more conditions. "Given these factors, treatment can be postponed, started progressively or in the same way as thyroid diseases," says Orlandi.
These diseases affect women more than men. Is that so? Why?
"Although a causal effect compound is unclear, it is believed that women, because women have 2 X chromosomes, may potentially have a double genetic dose of susceptibility. It appears to be more evident in the development of autoimmune-based thyroid disease," explains the expert.
And how else do these diseases affect women's health?
With changes in the menstrual cycle. The thyroid gland helps to control the menstrual cycle. Depending on the amount of thyroid hormone, periods may be very rare, prolonged or irregular. Thyroid disease can also make the menstrual period go away for several months or even longer.
Does it also give birth to difficulties in getting pregnant?
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it difficult to get pregnant. This is due to the fact that thyroid hormone problems can change the balance between the hormones responsible for ovulation. Several studies have found a higher incidence of clinical or subclinical thyroid insufficiency in infertile women compared with control women. However, there are no data so far that can show the actual incidence of infertility in these women.
Does it have a problem during pregnancy?
The malfunction of the thyroid gland during pregnancy can cause health problems with the mother and child. For example, pregnancies in hypothyroid women are associated with more abortions and / or premature births, according to the expert. Therefore, it is important to have controls to exclude or detect problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy.
What is postpartum thyroiditis?
It consists of inflammation of the thyroid gland after birth and affects 10 percent of the women. People with postpartum thyroiditis often feel exhausted and moody. It is important to know that this condition usually goes unnoticed because the symptoms are very similar to postpartum depression. It may also be premature menopause. If the immune system causes thyroid disease, other glands like the ovaries may be compromised. This can cause early menopause (the cycle ends before age 40).
LA NACIÓN (Argentina) – GDA