You most likely did not know that an inflamed thyroid gland can result in stress and anxiety problems. Thyroid inflammation is the swelling of the thyroid gland, and it is also known as thyroiditis. The swelling impairs the thyroid’s ability to produce its hormones at normal levels. While stress and anxiety are often psychological problems, studies show a connection between the two and thyroid inflammation.
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Typically, the thyroid gland produces hormones that impact the function of every part of your body. The thyroid utilizes iodine mineral from your diet to produce triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine hormones (T4). The endocrine chemicals are responsible for regulating your body’s metabolism and keeping your heart rate, and mood checked. When it gets inflamed, the thyroid’s cells die, and the gland cannot produce the essential hormones. This, in turn, disrupts the gland’s ability to function appropriately, thus leading to impairment of the body’s metabolism and mood.
What Causes Thyroid Inflammation?
When it comes to thyroid inflammation, several culprits are involved. Autoimmune is one of the leading causes, while viral/bacterial infections, drugs, and radiation are the least causes. In most cases, the attack from autoimmune antibodies causes the gland to swell. Since autoimmune has the highest prevalence, physicians have identified several conditions responsible for thyroiditis. Read on to understand some of these thyroid inflammation diseases.
a. Grave’s Disease
Your immunity uses its thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSIs) to mimic the thyroid-stimulating hormone in this type of autoimmune disorder. The presence of these autoimmune antibodies tricks your thyroid into releasing excess T3 and T4 hormones in the bloodstream. When thyroid hormones exceed the normal levels, the metabolism rate in your body spikes.
As a result, your thyroid gets inflamed, and you may also start experiencing several symptoms related to the high metabolism rate. Grave’s disease’s most common symptoms include heat intolerance, weight loss, sweating, heart palpitations, restlessness, shortness of breath, and exercise intolerance. Additionally, patients may experience mental related problems, such as anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
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b. Hashimoto’s Disease
According to the studies, Hashimoto’s disease has the highest prevalence of thyroid diseases in the USA. In Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland’s cells by destroying them, thus compromising its ability to function adequately. The impaired thyroid cannot release sufficient thyroid hormones, which are essential in regulating the metabolic processes in the body. This results in inflammation of the gland and can enlarge to form a goiter. Hashimoto’s disease presents with shortness of breath, weight gain, constipation, fatigue, cold intolerance mood disorders including depression, exercise intolerance, among others.
Symptoms of Thyroid Inflammation
Symptoms of thyroid inflammation may vary depending on the inflammation intensity. Since the gland affects many body parts, signs might be emanating from different types of the body. As the disease progresses, most patients experience a mix of symptoms, including mental health problems, among other physiological problems. Have a look at some of the symptoms you can expect when suffering from thyroiditis:
- Unusual anxiety
- Unexplainable stress
- Gastrointestinal problems: Some of the symptoms include nausea, unusual increase or decrease of appetite, and increased bowel emptying
- General body sickness: This may present with sweating, lethargy, pain, feeling cold, and heat intolerance
- Unusual increase or decrease in weight
- Shortness of breath
- Exercise intolerance
Diagnosis of Thyroid Inflammation
The diagnosis of thyroid inflammation depends on the intensity of the inflammation. Sometimes, patients may not understand the unusual health issues they are going through. For instance, a patient who experiences unusual anxiety, stress, or depression is given anti-anxiety meds or antidepressants. While the drugs will help stabilize the mental conditions, the primary problem is left untreated. Therefore, it is essential to understand the various symptoms of thyroid inflammation so that your doctor can make a prompt diagnosis. For a thyroid to diagnosis to be made, your doctor will request the following tests:
- Thyroid Functional Test: This aims to determine the level of T3, T4, and TSH in your blood. Abnormal levels of these hormones will be a sign of thyroid inflammation.
- Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR): The test establishes the intensity of thyroid inflammation by determining the rate at which red cells sediments.
- Thyroid Antibody Test: Assesses for any autoimmune antibodies in the blood. The autoimmune antibodies are usually high in autoimmune thyroiditis.
- Radioactive Iodine Uptake (RAIU): Determines the amount of iodine mineral absorbed by your thyroid.
- Sonogram of the Thyroid: Your doctor will ask for this imaging to assess your thyroid’s structure. The physician will also note any changes in the expected size, texture, and blood circulation of the gland.
How Is Thyroid Inflammation Treated?
Indeed, going through thyroiditis can be devastated, primarily because it affects the quality of life. Even so, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed since the condition can be treatable, and you can continue enjoying life. Typically, treatment depends on the stage, type, and symptoms of thyroid inflammation.
- Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and cortisone to manage thyroidal pain and inflammation.
- Beta-blockers help alleviates heart palpitations, tremors, and sweating.
- Radioactive iodine aims at shrinking the enlarged thyroid.
- Anti-thyroid medications, such as propylthiouracil and methimazole
- Thyroidectomy: This may be necessary when other treatment modalities are not applicable.
- Grave’s Ophthalmopathy can be treated by using artificial tears or undergoing Orbital decompression surgery.
- Use of hormone replacement therapy to manage hypothyroidism.
- Antibiotics medications to treat thyroid inflammation resulting from an infection
Nowadays, physicians are applying innovations and tests to help make a prompt diagnosis of thyroid inflammation disorders. If you start experiencing stress and anxiety, among other thyroiditis symptoms, contact your GP immediately. Additionally, if you know of someone suffering from thyroid inflammation symptoms, ensure you refer them to a reliable physician.
If you want to know whether thyroid inflammation could be causing your unexplainable anxiety and stress, look no further. Put a stop to suffering in silence by booking an appointment with experienced doctors from the Mango Clinic.