Background

Autoimmune thyroid disease causes the disturbance of the metabolism.

In human body, metabolism is an important process which is responsible for proper development, growth and health. If some how it got disturbs, create a lot of health related complications.

In human being, thyroid is the main organs which produces different hormone vital for the metabolism.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of our neck. It produces hormones that are responsible for keeping our body’s metabolism, heartbeat, temperature, mood, and more, in check.

Despite its small size, the thyroid gland plays a huge role in determining how our body functions and ultimately how we feel.

Too much or too little of its hormones can have a major impact on our health and well-being.

What thyroid causes?

The most common causes of thyroid malfunctions are autoimmune disorders, which means instead of your immune system cells protecting your thyroid tissue, they start attacking on it and interfere with its hormone production.

Thyroid types

Autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are one of the best known and most predominant organ-specific autoimmune diseases.

Well-known AITD such as Graves’ disease (GD) and Hashimoto Thyroiditis (HT) are the major reasons of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism respectively.

In Graves’ disease is due to abnormal stimulation of the thyroid gland by thyroid stimulating immunoglobins which bind to and activate thyrotropin receptors. In Graves’ disease person have an overactive thyroid and making it to produce too much thyroid hormone. This is the most common reason of hyperthyroidism.

Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. In Hashimoto’s disease immune system attacks the thyroid and destroys the thyroid gland and leads to underactive thyroid.

Since both of the above thyroid disease are the most common kinds of thyroid conditions and are autoimmune in nature, their symptoms may often be confused with other health problems, which can make reaching a diagnosis for some a long and mystifying process.

Apart from above both, there are another kinds of thyroid diseases, such as;

Painless thyroiditis-characterized by hyperthyroidism, followed by hypothyroidism, and finally, retrieval to a euthyroid state.

Postpartum thyroiditis-characterized by a destructive thyroiditis prompted by an autoimmune mechanism within a year of parturition.

Sub-acute thyroiditis- also known as De Quervain thyroiditis in honor of the Swiss surgeon who formally defined the disease in 1904, is the main cause of thyroid pain.

Thyroid problem in women

According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), women are 5-8 times more likely prone than men to be diagnosed with thyroid disease.

In women, thyroid diseases can cause numerous serious health problems such as disturbance in the menstrual period (make periods very light, heavy, or irregular and sometimes stop it for several months and sometimes lead to early menopause at the age of <40y); creates problems in conceiving because this affects the menstrual cycle and the process of ovulation; many of time it makes big difficulties during the pregnancy and causes health issue to the mother and the baby.

Thyroid Symptoms

Because the thyroid has an impact on every part of our body, sometimes the symptoms can be vague and difficult to make a diagnosis.

So often patients are being treated specifically for individual symptoms, such as depression or sleeping problems, heart problems, such as palpitations.

When the thyroid is under active or slow, people have brain fog, they have depression, sometimes fatigue, exercise intolerance, feelings of shortness of breath, start retaining fluid and gained a little bit of weight, become constipated, and get cold easily, have dry skin, and sometimes hair thinning.

On the other end of the spectrum the immune system tricks the thyroid or stimulates it into making too much or too low thyroid hormone.

Finally, everything speed up and people have anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, exercise intolerance, feelings of inefficient breathing or shortness of breath, muscle weakness, sweating, and weight loss or gain.

In thyroid disease the metabolism is get accelerated. So patients individually, can have both attacks at the same time.

That’s why doctor’s think of it as a spectrum and not an either/or, but all those symptoms are not specific to thyroid.

Diagnosis of thyroid disease

To diagnose the thyroid problem, doctor have to look at the whole pictures such as family history, physical examination, patient’s symptoms, ongoing medications, because at times it’s not as straightforward as it would seem and it needs a very thorough analytical look.

Diagnosing thyroid disease is a process that incorporates many factors including a clinical evaluation and imaging tests. However, blood tests for thyroid function provide some of the most crucial evidence to doctors.

What are the test for thyroid disease?

When first seeing a patient with suspected thyroid problems, doctor order a test called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

This is the hormone which comes from the pituitary gland which is the master gland in the brain that communicates with hormone producing glands of thyroid. So the TSH test gives a great understanding into the thyroid balance status of the body.

If thyroid TSH is normal then generally patient has normal thyroid function. If the TSH thyroid level is abnormal, then the actual thyroid hormones test were performed.

The thyroid produced hormone, T4, which is the predominant hormone gets converted into T3, which is active thyroid hormone.

There’s been some debate on what the reference range should be, so on a lab report you’ll have a result and then there will be a range that your doctor looks at. But sometimes that individual result might be at the lower end of a range or the higher end of the range. Even though it may not be highlighted as abnormal.

Problems associated with test for thyroid disease

The major problem is the underlying autoimmune disease and which exist even if the TSH is normal.

Thus doctor need to look deeper into options for testing and identifying those patients who may be at risk for autoimmune thyroid disease and not know it.

According to the guidelines published by the American Thyroid Association, quantification of thyroid antibodies for confirmatory diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease is endorsed.

There are diverse types of thyroid antibodies in the blood.

Some of them will stimulate the thyroid to make excess thyroid hormone as seen in case of Graves’ disease and sometime they block the thyroid and decrease the thyroid hormone production causing hypothyroidism as seen in the case of Hashimoto’s disease.

Many of the times where the TSH test is normal but the thyroid is already under attack by the immune system.

During these time doctor think about there’s a strong family history, if there’s some symptoms suggestive of thyroid or previous history of thyroid TSH results that fluctuate a little bit.

Very importantly, if there’s a young woman who has had trouble getting pregnant, or who has had miscarriages, screening with a TSH is not enough. Looking at thyroid antibodies is very important to explain those reproductive complications and, which, are quite curable with thyroid medication.

Sometimes patients found with thyroid eye disease. In this case their eyes become bulging, the vision becomes impaired, and the eyes can ache, or be irritated like eye allergies.

In case of Graves’ disease, where antibodies that attack on the thyroid, the TSH receptor antibodies also attack the fat and muscle behind the eye and caused the bulging and that can occur with a normal TSH.

Can thyroid be cured?

Many of the time thyroid diseases can be treated, resulting in normal thyroid function.

Saying it will be cured is very difficult.

Since hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease is triggered by antibodies acting on the thyroid glands and making it overactive. So in this case anti-thyroid medicine, radioactive iodine, and surgery are all effective treatments and can restore thyroid function to normal. 

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy founds very good therapeutic strategy for hypothyroidism.

The treatment of choice is oral supplementation with synthetic thyroxine (levo–thyroxine, L-T4). 

Situation of hypothyroidism found in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is caused by antibodies attacking and destroying the thyroid gland. While thyroid hormone replacement reestablishes the body’s thyroid function to normal, the anti-thyroid antibodies often remain.

In other thyroid diseases such as post-partum thyroiditis and sub-acute thyroiditis, no therapy is necessary after the disorder runs its course.

Though, post-partum thyroiditis often recurs with following pregnancies.

Thus we can say, for the most of thyroid disease their is effective treatments are available that can restore thyroid function to normal.

In allopathic system of medicine, once diagnosed with thyroid disease, all patients need lifelong medical follow up to safeguard that their thyroid function remains in the normal range.

Thyroid test report

Thyroid function tests are a series of blood tests performed to evaluate the proper functioning of thyroid gland.

Most common available tests comprises the level of T3, T3RU, T4, and TSH.

Principally, thyroid glands produces two major hormones known as, tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

During the diminished production of these hormones, one may experience symptoms of hypothyroidism such as weight gain, lack of energy, and depression, but their overproduction causes hyperthyroidism having symptoms such  weight loss, high levels of anxiety, tremors, and a sense of being on a high.

In newborn babies, both the T4 and TSH level tests are regularly performed for the proper functioning of thyroid gland.

Thyroid precautions

One should take diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, salmon and extra virgin oil can help you to ensure perfect thyroid levels.

Ensure, these foods are always cooked, it should not the processed food.

Using supplement, thyroid health can be maintained by taking Vitamin D or selenium.

One should stay off from environmental toxins which lead to thyroid secretion imbalance.

Autoimmune Thyroid Disease and pregnancy

During pregnancy, thyroid normal hormones level are necessary for fetal development in the first trimester.

Because hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are possible, thyroid normal levels should maintained and monitored before and throughout your pregnancy.

I hope this post might help you to understand some common facts about autoimmune thyroid disorders.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides a general information only. It is in no way a substitute for trained medical practitioner opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. We does not claim obligation for this information.

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