Thyroid Problems: Navigating the Complexities of Thyroid Disorders

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr. Tez Pratap Singh, MD Written by - Dr. Shilpa R


What are Thyroid problems?

Thyroid problems are thyroid gland function or structure abnormalities that occur due to several reasons in affected individuals. It typically exhibits symptoms related to localized or generalized enlargement of the gland resulting in functional abnormalities or cancer. It can also exhibit as increased or decreased thyroid hormone plasma concentrations such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism in affected people. 1Introduction | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health

Thyroid problems are thyroid gland function or structure abnormalities that occur due to several reasons in affected individuals.

Importance of Thyroid

Why is Thyroid important?

  • The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck, is responsible for producing hormones in the body that are crucial for controlling heart rate, metabolism, blood pressure, body temperature, and the body’s response to other hormones.
  • Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are the two principal hormones that the thyroid gland produces in addition to calcitonin, which aids in the absorption of calcium by bone cells in an individual. 2Importance of Thyroid | Researched based study from Hopkins Medicine


Types of Thyroid Problems

Thyroid problems can occur in two main categories, namely:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism


A condition that occurs due to excess production of thyroid hormone in the body which is generally caused by an overactive thyroid gland in an affected individual.

The following are signs of hyperthyroidism:

  • Feeling worried or jittery
  • Unable to endure heat
  • Having palpitations (a pounding heartbeat)
  • Loss of weight


When the thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce enough thyroid hormone in the body, the condition is known as hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism can cause a wide range of symptoms which may consist of:

  • Weariness or fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Being unable to tolerate cold
  • Constipation
  • Depression 3Types | Researched based study from Healthdirect
  • Issues with concentration or memory Importance of Thyroid | Researched based study from Hopkins Medicine


What factors contribute to thyroid problems?

Thyroid problems can be caused by:

  • Iodine deficiency
  • Autoimmune illnesses such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s disease
  • Thyroiditis (inflammation/swelling of the thyroid gland), which may or may not be accompanied by pain
  • Nodules (non-cancerous lumps)
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Certain medical procedures, such as radiation therapy, thyroid surgery, and some medications
  • Pregnancy

Pregnancy can occasionally contribute to thyroid problems, which, if left untreated, can lead to concerns such as:

  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight (in child)
  • Issues with the baby’s brain development 3Causes | Researched based study from Healthdirect

Risk Factors

Risk factors

You are more likely to acquire thyroid problems if you:

  • Suffer from a medical disease (such as type 1 diabetes, pernicious anaemia, primary adrenal insufficiency, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s or Turner syndrome)
  • Are over the age of 60
  • Take an iodine-containing drug
  • Have a family history of thyroid disease
  • Have had previous thyroid conditions or cancer therapy (such as a thyroidectomy/radiation) 4Risk factors| Researched based study from Cleveland Clinic


Symptoms indicate Thyroid Problems.

What symptoms indicate Thyroid Problems?

The symptoms associated with Thyroid problems can be classified into two main categories which include the following:

Symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism:

  • Anxiety, nervousness, and/or irritability
  • Weight loss
  • Tremors/muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Sensitive to heat
  • Vision problems/eye irritation

Symptoms associated with hypothyroidism:

  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of memory
  • Frequent & heavy menstrual periods
  • Hoarse voice
  • Intolerance to cold temperatures 4Symptoms| Researched based study from Cleveland Clinic

When should you seek medical attention?

Thyroid storm:

A thyroid storm is a fatal emergency that requires prompt medical attention. It is a condition caused by an overabundance of thyroid hormone in the body, with associated symptoms such as:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Confusion

Myxoedema coma:

Myxoedema coma is an uncommon, life-threatening illness caused by untreated, severe hypothyroidism in affected individuals which occurs with symptoms such as:

  • Drowsiness (which can progress to unconsciousness)
  • Breathing slowly
  • Fever 3Symptoms | Researched based study from Healthdirect


How is a Thyroid problem diagnosed?

Thyroid problems are often difficult to diagnose since their symptoms are mistaken for those of other illnesses. Fortunately, there are tests that can help determine if the symptoms are caused by a thyroid problem that includes:

  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic imaging tests
  • Blood tests

Physical examination:

  • Is a simple and painless examination in which the healthcare provider feels the neck for any thyroid gland growths or enlargements that may aid in the diagnosis of the condition.

Diagnostic imaging tests:

  • Diagnostic imaging examinations typically include a thyroid scan, which allows the doctor to analyse the size, shape, or any growths on the thyroid gland.
  • An ultrasound is an additional diagnostic imaging test that sends high-frequency sound waves inaudible to the human ear through bodily tissues which helps to determine any abnormality in the thyroid aiding in the diagnosis of the condition.

Blood tests:

Blood tests are one of the most accurate ways to diagnose thyroid disease that help to determine thyroid gland dysfunction by measuring the level of thyroid hormones in the blood which may include:

  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone
  • Triiodothyronine (T3) hormone
  • Thyroxine (T4) hormone
  • Free T3 or free triiodothyronine hormone 4Diagnosis | Researched based study from Cleveland Clinic


How are Thyroid Problems Treated?

Your healthcare provider’s objective is to restore the levels of thyroid hormone to normal, which is performed in a variety of ways depending on the origin of the thyroid problem, and may include:

  • Hyperthyroidism: Radioactive iodine -131, antithyroid medicines, or thyroid surgery to treat hyperthyroidism.
  • Autoimmune Thyroiditis: Thyroid hormone replacement therapy would be recommended to treat autoimmune thyroiditis which is a disorder that causes hypothyroidism in affected individuals.
  • Hypothyroidism: To produce normal thyroid hormone levels, hypothyroidism frequently requires only thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which is usually administered as a single daily tablet at a specific dose.
  • Benign thyroid Nodules: The vast majority of benign nodules do not require any treatment with patients generally advised to have a regular follow-up examination with the healthcare provider.
  • Thyroid Cancer: is frequently treated surgically, with many patients additionally undergoing iodine-131 treatment and replacement therapy for their thyroid hormones for the rest of their lives. 5Treatment | Researched based study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



Thyroid problems are generally a life-long medical disease that must be managed on a regular basis, usually requiring daily medication. The healthcare practitioner usually monitors the treatment and makes changes as needed. Many patients with Thyroid problems can lead a regular life until suitable medication for restoring hormone levels to normal is identified. 4Prognosis| Researched based study from Cleveland Clinic


Takeaway tips

  • Thyroid problems are thyroid gland function or structural abnormalities that occur due to several reasons in affected individuals.
  • Thyroid problems generally occur in two main categories, namely, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism.
  • Thyroid problems can be caused by iodine deficiency, autoimmune illnesses (such as Graves’ disease/Hashimoto’s disease), nodules (non-cancerous lumps), or thyroid cancer.
  • Tests that help to determine a thyroid problem include physical examination of the thyroid gland, diagnostic imaging tests (such as thyroid scan/ultrasound), and/or blood tests (such as thyroid-stimulating hormone, triiodothyronine (T3) hormone, thyroxine (T4) hormone).

Thyroid problems are treated based on the cause of the thyroid problem that includes therapy with radioactive iodine -131, antithyroid medicines, (to treat hyperthyroidism), thyroid hormone replacement therapy (to treat autoimmune thyroiditis and hypothyroidism), and thyroid surgery (to treat thyroid cancer) followed by iodine-131 therapy. 1Takeaway tips | Researched based study from National Institutes of Health 4Takeaway tips | Researched based study from Cleveland Clinic

Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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