Small, but strong. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located 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. Next we answer six key questions about this vital gland for people's metabolism.
What thyroid problems are there?
When we talk about disorders in the function of the thyroid gland, the best known are: hyperthyroidism (when the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormone than the body needs). And hypothyroidism (when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone). But they are not the only ones. In addition, there are other problems such as goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid; also, thyroid cancer and nodules: lumps in the thyroid. And thyroiditis: thyroid swelling.
What are the main symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?
"The most typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism are lack of muscle strength, insomnia, nervousness, tremors, palpitations, eye changes (protruding eyes) and mumps, among others," said Ana María Orlandi, head of the Endocrinology Unit of the vlvarez Hospital and Society president. Endocrinology and Metabolism in Argentina.
And highlights the most typical symptoms of hypothyroidism: fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, severe constipation, drowsiness, overall edema, dry skin and brittle nails, among others. "In both cases, symptoms may rarely occur in subclinical or severe disease when consultation or diagnosis is delayed and changes take place," he said.
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). In contrast, subclinical hypothyroidism is a mild level of thyroid insufficiency, which occurs with an increase in TSH and with normal peripheral hormones.
And how to treat it?
Treatment of this condition depends on the patient's age, biological moments, relationship to pregnancy, fertility search and more conditions. "Considering these factors, treatment can be delayed, starting gradually or in the same way as thyroid disease," Orlandi said.
These diseases affect more women than men. Is it like that? Why?
"While cause-effect associations are not clearly demonstrated, it is believed that because women have 2 X chromosomes, they potentially receive multiple genetic doses of susceptibility. This seems to be clearer for the development of autoimmune thyroid disease," the expert explained.
And how else does this disease affect women's health?
In changes in the menstrual cycle. The thyroid helps control the menstrual cycle. Depending on the amount of thyroid hormone, the period can be very rare, prolonged or irregular. Thyroid disease can also make menstrual periods disappear for several months or even longer.
Does it also cause difficulties to get pregnant?
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it difficult to get pregnant. This is because thyroid hormone problems can change the balance of hormones responsible for ovulation. Some studies have found higher clinical or subclinical thyroid incidence in infertile women, compared with control women. But there is no data to date that can show the true incidence of infertility in these women.
Does it cause problems in pregnancy?
Thyroid malfunction during pregnancy can cause health problems for the mother and baby. For example, pregnancy in hypothyroid women is associated with more abortion and / or preterm birth, according to experts. That is why it is important to have control to get rid of or detect problems before pregnancy and during pregnancy.
What is postpartum thyroiditis?
It consists of inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth and will affect 10 percent of women. People with postpartum thyroiditis often feel tired and depressed. It is important to know that this condition is usually not noticed because the symptoms are very similar to postpartum depression. Can also be early menopause. If the immune system causes thyroid disease, other glands, such as the ovary, can be compromised. This can cause premature menopause (the cycle stops before age 40).
LA NACIÓN (Argentina) – GDA