By Apollo 24/7, Published on - 31 May 2021
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland present just below Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland produces two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The production and release of these hormones are controlled by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is formed in the pituitary gland (present at the base of the brain). Thyroid hormones help in maintaining the metabolism of the body. However, due to thyroid dysfunction, the gland may start producing either excessive or insufficient hormones, which disrupts the metabolism.
Every year, 25th May is observed as World Thyroid Day to increase awareness about the prevalence of thyroid diseases and to promote new treatment modalities. At this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to understand thyroid diseases as some studies indicate that people with thyroid disease may be at increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes. However, more research is needed to establish this.
Any medical condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce excess or insufficient hormones is referred to as thyroid disease. It is categorised into hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism:
Hyperthyroidism is a condition marked with increased thyroid hormone in the bloodstream due to an overactive thyroid gland. Due to excess thyroid hormones, the metabolism accelerates resulting in sudden weight loss and other symptoms. The causes of hyperthyroidism include:
Pre-existing autoimmune disorder and smoking may increase the risk of developing hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition marked by a lack of enough thyroid hormones in the blood, resulting in a slowing down of the metabolism. Causes of hypothyroidism include:
Hypothyroidism can be genetically transferred, thus people with a family history of the underactive thyroid gland are at increased risk of developing the same.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
The symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Thyroid treatment aims to restore the thyroid hormone levels to normal. The treatment for thyroid diseases depends on the underlying cause. Treatment options for hyperthyroidism include:
Meanwhile, people diagnosed with hypothyroidism require a man-made thyroid replacement medication (levothyroxine), which helps in maintaining the thyroid levels in the body. This medication has to be taken daily lifelong.
Some studies have shown that pre-existing thyroid disease may increase the risk for severe COVID-19. For instance, a meta-analysis of 8 studies published in the journal Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome in October 2020 concluded that people suffering from thyroid disease (both hypo and hyperthyroidism) could be at increased risk of developing COVID-19 infection. The study found that:
However, several studies have contradicted this theory and have reported no association of pre-existing thyroid disease with the worsening of COVID-19 infection. Some of these studies include:
While scientists are finding out the association between pre-existing thyroid disease and COVID-19 infection, doctors have reported cases of new thyroid disease in patients suffering from COVID-19. Subacute thyroiditis is a rare form of thyroid inflammation characterized by pain and tenderness in the thyroid gland, which can radiate to the ears. The person may also experience fever, malaise (uneasiness), and loss of appetite.
A few case studies that reported the development of thyroid disease in COVID-patients, who previously had healthy thyroid function, include:
All these patients recovered completely after being treated with steroids and anti-inflammatory medications.
More than 42 million Indians are reported to suffer from thyroid disease, where the cases of hypothyroidism outnumber the cases of hyperthyroidism. However, doctors believe that people with thyroid disease can live a healthy life by consuming a balanced diet, exercising daily, and taking prescribed thyroid medications regularly. Thyroid levels must be checked frequently as it would help the doctor monitor the treatment and make adjustments accordingly.
Buy Apollo Products
Order Online Test
Buy Apollo Products
Order Online Test
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person in respiratory droplets from someone who is infected. People who are infected often have symptoms of illness. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
A Lancet study seems to provide consistent and robust scientific evidence to prove that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted through the air.
It is quite normal to be worried about getting infected by Coronavirus when stepping out to buy groceries. However, you can take some precautions mentioned in this article to ensure your safety.
Get doctor-approved health tips, news, and more.
Tap to continue exploring