It seems magical, when a fuzzy grounded caterpillar molds into a beautiful butterfly powered with wings and flying around with alluring tinges and shades. Indistinguishable, the Butterfly shaped gland- thyroid, hidden at the base of the neck, possesses great power. thyroid gland produces hormones that control the Metabolic activities in the body. Every magical spell of hormone can sprinkle phenomenal functions that sparkle throughout the body. If the spell goes wrong, magic may go misleading or fails to occur. Sometimes, spell can turn the other way round and can attack its own self. Such a consequence of the misspelled magic of thyroid gland is said to be thyroiditis.
What is Thyroiditis?
Thyroiditis is a broad spectrum of diseases that manifests as inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thyroid gland is usually resistant to infection due to factors like rich supply of blood, high iodine, hydrogen peroxide content, encapsulation of the thyroid and lymphatic drainage. In spite of all this, thyroid is prone to infections from bacteria such as Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, or Streptococcus pneumoniae, and others such as fungal, mycobacterial, or parasitic infections. Thyroiditis can be painful and tender or painless. Painful thyroiditis is associated with infections, radiation and trauma while painless thyroiditis is caused due to autoimmune conditions, medications, etc. Inflamed thyroid releases excessive hormones that initiate a state of thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism-overactive thyroid), this phase is known as thyrotoxic phase. Due to prolonged excessive release of thyroid hormones, the gland will lack enough thyroid hormones to release thus developing a condition called hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), this phase is said to be hypothyroid phase. Another phase called euthyroid occurs when the thyroid hormones reach the normal levels after thyrotoxic phase and before reaching hypothyroid phase. This phase also occurs after recovery of thyroid gland from inflammation and further able to maintain normal hormone levels.
??? PAINFUL Thyroiditis
1. Subacute Granulomatous Thyroiditis Subacute granulomatous thyroiditis also known as giant cell thyroiditis is the most common cause of thyroid pain. It is an inflammatory thyroid disease probably caused by viral infection. Inflammation promotes the thyroid gland to produce excess amount of thyroid hormones, resulting in hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism before recovering normal thyroid function.
2. Acute Granulomatous Thyroiditis
Acute granulomatous thyroiditis also known as suppurative thyroiditis, is an extremely rare form of thyroid disorder. Usually occurs due to bacteria and other infectious organisms. Mild hypothyroidism is seen in this case, that can be resolved once treated.
??? PAINLESS Thyroiditis
1. Postpartum Thyroiditis
Postpartum (time period after childbirth) thyroiditis is a common autoimmune disorder in women presenting within 6 months post delivery. This is usually seen in women with preexisting thyroid disorders. Patients with postpartum thyroiditis may have hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism. This resolves to its normal thyroid function within 1218 months.
2. Subacute Lymphocytic Thyroiditis
Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis also known as silent sporadic thyroiditis or painless sporadic thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease caused by anti-thyroid antibodies. It resembles postpartum thyroiditis, both clinically and pathologically. Women are more affected by this disorder compared to men. Women suffer from this disorder mostly just after childbirth that causes the thyroid gland to enlarge without becoming tender. A person with subacute painless thyroiditis may have hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism.
3. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (HT) Hashimoto's also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks its own thyroid cells. white blood cells like lymphocytes invade the thyroid gland and antibodies are produced to attack the gland. This disorder is the most common type of thyroiditis manifested in children and adolescents. Hashimoto's is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, as intrathyroidal lymphocytic infiltration is caused that is followed by a gradual destruction of the thyroid gland where thyroid is enlarged and goitre is formed. This results into gradual decline in the production of thyroid hormones which may lead to hypothyroidism. Presence of biochemical markers such as thyroid peroxidase and/or thyroglobulin autoantibodies of the disease is apparently high in females, therefore manifests higher prevalence of the disease in females than in males which increases with age. Hashimoto's thyroiditis also causes complications during pregnancy leading to hypothyroidism that can lead to miscarriages, premature birth, stillbirth, preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), etc. Though the actual mechanisms are not completely understood, a strong genetic relation is suspected, as several genes are associated with the occurrence, progression and severity of the diseases.
Know It to Prevent Thyroiditis
Following are the factors associated with increased risk of developing Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
1. Gender Women are likely to be affected by this disease as compared to men.
2. Age It can occur at any age but more commonly occurs in middle aged adults.
3. Hereditary Hashimoto's thyroiditis may run in families, which can increase the risk of developing the disease.
4. Other Autoimmune Diseases An individual suffering from any autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus etc. may possess increased risk of developing Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
5. Radiation Exposure Environmental radiation exposure is associated with increased risk of autoimmune thyroid disorder like Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
6. Excessive lodine Intake An individual with Hashimoto's should avoid excess iodine intake as it can further cause Hyperthyroidism from sources such as seaweeds, kelp tablets, etc.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Checkmate
In untreated or non-diagnosed cases of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, certain life threatening medical complications like heart problems (High cholesterol, enlarged heart, heart failure), as well as mental illness, birth defects, myxedema (severe hypothyroidism) may occur.
Signs and symptoms that indicate Hashimoto's Thyroiditis are
>> Menstrual irregularities, heavy and excessive bleeding
>> Weight gain
>> Muscle weakness and joint pain
>> For pregnant women- increased risk of miscarriage
Diagnosis of Thyroiditis
Following blood tests are done to monitor thyroid hormone production, diagnose Hashimoto's thyroiditis and to monitor treatment.
??? Blood Test
T3, T4 and TSH A simple intravenous blood sample is drawn from the patient's body to detect any fluctuations in their thyroid hormone levels. Level of TSH is elevated in hypothyroidism.
??? Antibody Tests
Antithyroid antibodies Markers in blood to diagnose Hashimoto's diseases, this test detects the presence of mainly anti-Tg antibodies and anti-TPO antibodies.
?? Antithyroid peroxidase antibody (anti-TPO)
Presence of autoantibodies against a protein found in thyroid cells is detected with the help of this test High values indicate autoimmune damage to thyroid due to Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
?? Antithyroglobulin Antibody (TgAb)
High levels of the antibodies may indicate Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and thyroid antibodies are absent in the blood of patient with mild form of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Life with thyroiditis does need special attention on diet, exercise, physical activity and so on. For the betterment of health and happiness, following few instructions can light our life with colors and wonders Focusing more on diet with limited iodine intake and being active such as managing time for swimming and aerobic exercises as well as controlling body weight can improve the condition.
Testing @ Thyrocare
Thyrocare offers thyroid profile Testing for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of triiodothyronine (T3), T4 (thyroxine) and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)) using advanced and sophisticated automated technologies based on Chemiluminescence Immunoassay (CLIA) at highly affordable rates.