The hormones produced by the thyroid are responsible for the functioning of the heart, brain, liver and kidneys and interfere with the growth and development of children and adolescents, the regulation of menstrual cycles, fertility, weight, memory, concentration, mood and sleep. emotional control.
Changes in the rhythm of the gland’s functioning can lead to conditions such as hyperthyroidism, associated with overworking the thyroid, and hypothyroidism, which is the slower functioning of the gland.
This Wednesday (25th), the International Thyroid Day promotes awareness of the importance of early detection and treatment of diseases that affect the gland.
“The thyroid is important for several vital functions of our body and, therefore, it should be checked annually when clinical and blood tests are carried out, eventually also including dosages of TSH and free T4 hormones. The doctor will assess whether there is an indication for ultrasound, an exam that can detect nodules”, says endocrinologist Lorena Lima Amato, a member of the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabology (SBEM).
The main thyroid diseases are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism (see the main signs in the gallery ).
“The causes are many and can be viral, autoimmune or by drugs that affect this hormone production, in addition to congenital diseases. Nodules, which can be benign or malignant, are the second group of diseases that affect the thyroid”, explains endocrinologist Claudia Cozer, from Hospital Sírio-Libanês, in São Paulo.
Hyperthyroidism is the condition that occurs when the gland produces too much hormone. Symptoms include irritability, nervousness, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, sleep disturbances, vision problems, and eye irritation.
“The thyroid is our ‘generator’, so when we have a hormonal alteration of hypothyroidism, we have signs of tiredness, discouragement, hair loss, weak nails, the intestines are drier, we feel more sleepy and have difficulty getting up in the morning. The condition decreases metabolism, we gain weight and retain more fluid, bowel functioning is slower and the menstrual flow sometimes becomes thinner”, says Claudia.
On the other hand, in cases of hypothyroidism, the opposite occurs: the thyroid does not produce enough hormone, which can lead to fatigue, depression, memory loss, menstrual irregularities and weight gain.
“As some signs and symptoms are non-specific, it is important to see a doctor to do a simple laboratory measurement of thyroid hormone, which is not expensive and is easy to perform”, says the doctor.
Signs that indicate thyroid problems
Thyroid disorders can happen to people of any age. Early diagnosis helps to reduce the risk of complications.
“Diseases are serious when they go beyond the control of treatment and reach extreme degrees. Hyperthyroidism can cause cardiac arrhythmia and anxiety attacks that can be confused with psychiatric conditions. Hypothyroidism can cause a drop in heart rate and a decrease in performance, but it is very difficult for someone to die from it today because you usually seek help and end up making the diagnosis early,” says Cláudia.
According to experts, unlike most diseases, thyroid disorders cannot be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
“Most thyroid diseases are not preventable because they are genetic. They are more common in women, in families and have no defined age. There is a certain frequency more constant in women after 60 years of age, but there is no way to prevent it”, says endocrinologist Nelson Vinicius Gonfinetti, from Instituto Castro.
“Unfortunately, there is no conduct, such as food, medicine or physical activity, that prevents thyroid diseases. Now, balance is very important, such as not living under high stress or being careful with the medications you take so as not to affect the functioning of the thyroid”, adds Cláudia.
The treatment of hypothyroidism is carried out with a medication that contains thyroid hormone, in pill form. The dosage must be prescribed by the endocrinologist, according to the patient’s clinical condition.
In the case of hyperthyroidism, treatment depends on evaluating the causes of the disease in each patient. Therapies include drugs that decrease the amount of hormone produced by the gland, surgical removal of the thyroid, and beta blockers that control severe symptoms. The follow-up should be done by the endocrinologist from the hormone dosage checked periodically.
Source: CNN Brasil