Thyroid Disease Awareness Month! 

Hello my lovelies, 

As January is the month were most people are settling down after the festivities, for people like myself, January is a month to raise awareness for an illness which over 200 million people worldwide are effected by… Thyroid Disease! 

I was diagnosed with Thyroid Disease nearly 8 years ago after suffering with symptoms for months prior. It was clear something was wrong when the symptoms I was suffering became more prominent, the mood swings I was dealing with were worsening and I was sleeping for hours on end. It was only when I had a blood test did it became clear that I had a very low thyroid count and that I needed to start treatment straight away to get it to a stable level. It has taken absolute years to find the right dose for my thyroid, still to this day we can’t quite get it right without one of my levels dropping to low or rising to high. It’s a complicated illness to control but whatever treatment works best, is the treatment you will receive for life and that’s my case. The symptoms I deal with defiantly put a huge strain on my body and my thyroid has caused problems elsewhere in my body but it’s something I’ve grown use to. 

I have an autoimmune subtype called “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis” also known as “chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis”. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common form of underactive Thyroid Disease in the older generation but for someone of my age, it’s very rare which is why it’s hard to treat. This is known to be genetic which is the case for myself, Thyroid Disease runs throughout my dads side of the family with my dad himself, Nan, grandad and aunties all being diagnosed with different types. 

So today, I wanted to share with you some facts & statistics to help raise awareness this month for a disease which millions of people worldwide are dealing with every single day.

  • What Is Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid disease is a medical condition that affects the function of the thyroid gland (the endocrine organ found at the front of the neck that produces thyroid hormones). The symptoms of thyroid disease vary depending on the type. There are four general types:

 1) hypothyroidism (low function) caused by not having enough thyroid hormones.

 2) hyperthyroidism (high function) caused by having too much thyroid hormones.

3) structural abnormalities, most commonly an enlargement of the thyroid gland,

 4) tumors which can be benign or cancerous. 

  • Types Of Diseases: 

Low Function: 
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis / Hashimoto’s disease – is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed.

Ord’s thyroiditis – is a common form of thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where the body’s own antibodies fight the cells of the thyroid.

Postpartum thyroiditis – is a phenomenon observed following pregnancy

Silent thyroiditis – Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis is a form of thyroiditis that is also known as silent thyroiditis or painless thyroiditis. Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis may occur at any age and is more common in females.

Acute thyroiditis – Acute infectious thyroiditis is very rare, with it only accounting for about 0.1–0.7% of all thyroiditis.

Riedel’s thyroiditis (the majority of cases do not affect thyroid function, but approximately 30% of cases lead to hypothyroidism) – Riedel’s thyroiditis, also called Riedel’s struma is a chronic form of thyroiditis.

{Thyroiditis: an inflammation of the thyroid gland}

High Function:
Graves’ disease – Graves’ disease, also known as toxic diffuse goiter, is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.

Toxic thyroid nodule – A thyroid adenoma is a benign tumor of the thyroid gland.

Thyroid storm – Thyroid storm is a severe form of thyrotoxicosis characterized by rapid and often irregular heart beat, high temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, and mental agitation. Symptoms may be unusual in the young, old, or pregnant.

Toxic nodular struma (Plummer’s disease) – Toxic multinodular goiter (also known as toxic nodular goiter, toxic nodular struma, or Plummer’s disease) is a multinodular goiter associated with a hyperthyroidism.

{Hashitoxicosis: transient hyperthyroidism that can occur in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis}

  • Diagnosis: 

Diagnosis of thyroid disease depends on symptoms and whether or not a thyroid nodule is present. Most patients will receive a blood test. Others might need an ultrasound, biopsy or a radioiodine scanning and uptake study.

  • Treatments Include: 

Medication: Levothyroxine is a stereoisomer of thyroxine (T4) which is degraded much more slowly and can be administered once daily in patients with hypothyroidism.[5] Natural thyroid hormone from pigs is sometimes also used, especially for people who cannot tolerate the synthetic version. Hyperthyroidism caused by Graves’ disease may be treated with the thioamide drugs propylthiouracil, carbimazole or methimazole, or rarely with Lugol’s solution. Additionally, hyperthyroidism and thyroid tumors may be treated with radioactive iodine. Ethanol injections for the treatment of recurrent thyroid cysts and metastatic thyroid cancer in lymph nodes can also be an alternative to surgery.

Surgery: Thyroid surgery is performed for a variety of reasons. A nodule or lobe of the thyroid is sometimes removed for biopsy or because of the presence of an autonomously functioning adenoma causing hyperthyroidism. A large majority of the thyroid may be removed (subtotal thyroidectomy) to treat the hyperthyroidism of Graves’ disease, or to remove a goiter that is unsightly or impinges on vital structures. A complete thyroidectomy of the entire thyroid, including associated lymph nodes, is the preferred treatment for thyroid cancer. Removal of the bulk of the thyroid gland usually produces hypothyroidism unless the person takes thyroid hormone replacement quality.

Radioiodine: Radioiodine therapy with iodine-131 can be used to shrink the thyroid gland (for instance, in the case of large goiters that cause symptoms but do not harbor cancer—after evaluation and biopsy of suspicious nodules has been done), or to destroy hyperactive thyroid cells (for example, in cases of thyroid cancer). The iodine uptake can be high in countries with iodine deficiency, but low in iodine sufficient countries. To enhance iodine-131 uptake by the thyroid and allow for more successful treatment, TSH is raised prior to therapy in order to stimulate the existing thyroid cells. 

Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism: 

Hypothyroidism: 

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Dry, rough pale skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance (you can’t tolerate cold temperatures like those around you)
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido

Hyperthyroidism:

  • fatigue or muscle weakness
  • hand tremors
  • mood swings
  • nervousness or anxiety
  • rapid heartbeat
  • heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • skin dryness
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight loss
  • increased frequency of bowel movements
  • light periods or skipping periods.

Each individual patient may have any number of these symptoms, and they will vary with the severity of the thyroid hormone deficiency and the length of time the body has been deprived of the proper amount of hormone. You may have one of these symptoms as your main complaint, while another will not have that problem at all and will be suffering from an entirely different symptoms. Most people will have a combination of these symptoms. Occasionally, some patients with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have no symptoms at all, or they are just so subtle that they go unnoticed.

Thyroid Disease effects people in all different ways and can be a deliberating/life altering conidition for those who are suffering. Please join me today in raising awareness this month for Thyroid Disease and the people suffering each and everyday with it. 

Please share this post around as much as possible, it would mean the world! 

Sending tons of love to you all as always, 

Elle xo

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