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In order to understand what are the causes and the symptoms of this disease, it is essential to know what thyroid actually is. Thyroid isn’t some virus or bacteria that causes infection rather it is an endocrine gland situated in the neck of each and every human being. Thyroid produces a particular hormone called Thyroxin, which regulates metabolism of the body. The overproduction or underproduction of this hormone is what causes the malfunctioning of the gland and thus a medical problem we call thyroid.
Generally, parents think that if their child or teen is overweight or obese then s/he must have thyroid. But that’s not true. There is nothing wrong in being safe about it, but most of the times the weight gain is due to lethargy and over consumption junk food. Parents should look out for symptoms of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) before they rush to the doctors.
There are two types of thyroid. – Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism. The first one is more common than the latter. Therefore let’s deal with it first.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the secretion of thyroxin is very low, thus affecting the person’s metabolism. The lack of secretion of the hormone is generally caused by the inflammation of the gland. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Dry, rough hair and skin.
- Intolerance to cold as body’s metabolism is not very high.
- Immense weight gain that is not affected by exercise and a controlled diet.
- Delayed Puberty
- Abnormal menstrual cycles.
If let unchecked, these symptoms may increase rapidly and can very well lead to heart failure, chronic depression and coma. Hypothyroidism can easily be detected medically, by a simple blood test. With hormone regulating medications, this problem can easily be controlled.
As opposed to hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism is a condition caused by the overproduction of thyroxin. As a result a person suffering from it may be very thin and will have a lot of energy and metabolism. It can be caused by the irregular amounts of iodine, toxic nodules on the surface of the gland, or even the inflammation of the thyroid gland. Its symptoms are:
- Intolerance to heat since the body metabolism is so high, thus excessive sweating.
- Hair loss
- Immense weight loss
- Trembling hands
- Muscle weakness
- High blood pressure
- Lack of emotional stability
- Short attention spans.
Hyperthyroidism too can be controlled with the use of medication; however sometimes in extreme cases surgery is required.
The thyroid gland is rather important to the body as it not only regulates metabolism but also helps in the growth and development of the body. Thyroid is essential to each and every cell of the body and thus without it or with its improper functioning your child’s development will be hindered. Therefore, if you recognize any symptoms of either type of thyroid in your child then rush to your doctor and get him/her checked.