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Thyroid Disorder

  • What is Thyroid Disorder?

    The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck. This gland produces two hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which regulate various vital metabolic processes including growth and energy expenditure. The thyroid can malfunction and become overactive therefore leading to hyperthyroidism, or underactive therefore leading to hypothyroidism. Women are more prone than men to thyroid disorders.

  • There are various causes that lead to hyperthyroidism.

    • Common cause is Graves’ disease. In people with Graves’ disease, the immune system produces antibodies which stimulate the uncontrollable secretion of thyroxine. Graves’ disease leads to eye irritation and swelling, and vision problems. The causes of Graves’ disease are not yet fully understood, but genetics might be a factor.
    • Overactive thyroid can be caused by hyperactive thyroid nodules which secrete too much thyroxine. The inflammation of the thyroid gland, known as thyroiditis, can also lead to hyperthyroidism.
  • The symptoms of a hyperthyroidism include:

    • Anxiety, nervousness and irritability
    • Bulging eyes
    • Changes in menstruation
    • Diarrhoea
    • Fast heart rate and palpitations
    • Fatigue and lethargy
    • Muscle weakness and trembling
    • Sensitivity to heat
    • Sleeping difficulties
    • Weight loss

    The symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

    • Changes in menstruation
    • Constipation
    • Depression
    • Fatigue and sluggishness
    • Fragile fingernails and hair
    • Muscle pain and weakness
    • Pale skin and puffy face
    • Sensitivity to cold
    • Slow heart rate
    • Weight gain
  • The treatment of hyperthyroidism depends on your age and physical state, as well as the cause and the severity of your condition. The treatment options include:

    • Anti-Thyroid Medicine - is the first-line treatment, it blocks the secretion of thyroid hormones, and therefore slowly reduce symptoms of hyperthyroidism
    • Hormone Replacement Therapy - which aims at regulating the thyroid hormone levels by using a synthetic thyroid hormone pill
    • Radioactive Iodine Treatment - is used if you did not respond to anti-thyroid medications. Radioactive iodine is administered orally and can reduce the thyroid activity significantly, and even permanently
    • Surgical Removal - of your thyroid gland is a last-resort option. You may need to take life-long medication to maintain normal thyroid hormone levels
    • Eye problems such as bulging eyes and blurry vision (caused by graves’ disease).
    • Fever and hallucinations.
    • Irregular heart rhythm and heart failure.
    • Osteoporosis (bone condition characterised by weak and brittle bones).
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