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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Thyroid Problems: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Advocate Waghmare had been very active all his life. However, he was a little careless with regard to diet. For some reason he thought that his morning walk together with all the running around that is part and parcel of a lawyer's life would keep him fit and fine. And for the most part he was right. But then suddenly a time came when things started going wrong. He started losing weight, regularly suffered from constipation, and started having severe cramps like he never had before. He felt thoroughly unwell. He would take medication for one thing but the other problem would remain, and when the other one would subside, a third one would spring up. He finally decided to undergo a thorough medical check up, which revealed that he had a thyroid problem calling for urgent attention.

We all have heard of thyroid problems and have a fair idea of how much trouble the patients go through. It is, therefore, important for us to be aware of what lies at the root of it, and what are one's options if one happens to suffer from a thyroid problem.

The 'thyroid' is a little gland located right below 'Adam's apple' and controls the release of two hormones, namely, the thyroxine (T4) and triodothyroxine (T3). The two hormones mentioned determine the amount of oxygen one's body uses and makes the body create new proteins. Since the thyroid regulates the release of these hormones, it determines the metabolic rate of each organ in one's body.

There are two kinds of problems that mainly occur with the thyroid - either it slows down and becomes 'underactive' or goes into overdrive becoming 'hyperactive'. When it is underactive, the condition is referred to as 'hypothyroidism' and when overactive it is called 'hyperthyroidism'.


Usually the symptoms of thyroid problem include a drastic increase in weight. The weight gain is very quick and noticeable. The skin turns rough and goes dry. One often feels perpetually tired and one's hair too get dry and start losing luster. In some cases the person also suffers from memory loss, constipation and cramps. If one notices these symptoms one should promptly rush to the doctor and have diagnostic checks run. One of the best available methods to find if one is suffering from any thyroid related problem is to have the blood test for thyroid hormones.

Another test that is often prescribed in case of thyroid condition is 'thyroid scan'. It is a simple procedure, wherein a patient just has to take a drink or a pill that contains iodine.  Within 4 hours of drinking the solution provided or taking the pill, the iodine works on the thyroid glands and through a scintography camera the pictures of the thyroid are taken. If there is any problem such as hyperactivity or underactivity of the thyroid, it can be detected through this test.

Hypothyroidism also causes lethargy in motion and makes one vulnerable to cold. Relatively low pulse, severe backache, stiffness in the muscles and joints and puffed up face are also indicative of a thyroid problem.

People suffering from Hyperthyroidism tend to sweat excessively, grow significantly weak, tend to feel nervous and grow sensitive to heat. There can also be a marked drop in body weight.

A rather aggressive and enlarged heart, slight tremor felt in the fingers, and increased quantity of urine are a few other symptoms that are found in a thyroid patient.


There are a number of factors that might be responsible for the thyroid problems. One of the causes is a defect in the thyroid gland itself and another one is emotional or physical stress. One may also be genetically predisposed to thyroid problems. So, if your father or mother or grandfather or grandmother has had a thyroid problem, your chances of suffering from the same are on the higher side.

Improper eating habits over an extended period of time has also emerged as one of the causes. Thyroid problems are sometimes also attributable to medical treatments as well.


There are several ways of treating the thyroid problem. In addition to the medication one has to bring about certain changes in one's lifestyle to deal with the problem. A better lifestyle with healthy eating habits goes a long way in curing a thyroid condition.

The first recommendation that any doctor would make to a thyroid patient is to start having a balanced diet, having adequate rest and being relaxed both physically and mentally. Fresh fruit juices are healthy and helpful in thyroid condition.

In most cases complete bed rest is prescribed for the patient for the first two months of the treatment. After initial systems subside, one could start physical exercises and yoga. Tea, coffee, oily food, alcohol, condiments, sugar and white flour have to be shunned. Physical exertion or emotional stress must be avoided as much as possible, as these can slow down the recovery.

In the opinion of some experts Levothyroxine, which is a synthetic thyroid hormone, is very useful in treating thyroid condition. However, a long drawn treatment with Levothyroxine is considered very dangerous. In any case, any treatment that involves Levothyroxine must be undertaken strictly under the express prescription and close supervision of a specialized medical practitioner. An alternative method of treatment could by through using natural hormones, but there is always a danger of viral infection in that case.

Certain vitamins play an important role in treating thyroid problems primarily because these are responsible for the efficient functioning of the thyroid in the first place. Among these vitamins are Vitamin C, Vitamin B-Complex and Vitamin A. Therefore, fruits and vegetables that are rich in these vitamins work as natural treatment for a thyroid condition.

There are some natural remedies that have been found to help thyroid problem a great deal. Among the most effective remedies, Kelp is one. Kelp has been a part of Chinese medicines for centuries now. Similarly, Lyceum berry and Go-ji are also considered to have some remedial properties vis-à-vis thyroid conditions. Since there are a number of factors responsible for thyroid problems, it is important that a comprehensive approach is taken based upon healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.

Treatment of a thyroid condition must be undergone under a close watch of a specialized medical practitioner. And until your doctor says that you no longer need the treatment, you must carry on with the treatment even if you feel perfectly healthy. The more strictly you follow the advice of your doctor, the earlier you'll be able to get back to normal.


Note: This is not a piece of authoritative medical opinion or advice.

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