World Thyroid Day 2024: Causes, symptoms and how to treat hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

Thyroid plays a vital role in the growth and metabolic activities of the human body

World Thyroid Day Representational image | Shutterstock

With changing lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits, the number of health issues has been constantly rising and the thyroid disease is one such common health problem. Thus, to spread awareness about the disease and its prevention, May 25 is observed as World Thyroid Day. According to reports published by the American Thyroid Association, one out of every 10 individuals is affected by the thyroid disease. On the occasion of World Thyroid Day, health experts from all over organise seminars and awareness camps to educate people about Thyroid, its prevention, and treatment.

What is thyroid?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck that is responsible for the secretion of hormones. It plays a vital role in the growth and metabolic activities of the human body. The vital function of the thyroid gland is to secrete hormones and regulate the functions of the human body. When the thyroid gland functions appropriately and secretes the adequate amount of each hormone, all body functions are carried out smoothly. The problem begins when there is an unwanted increase or decrease in the number of hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. There are two major diseases related to the thyroid gland – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.


Hypothyroidism is a state in which the thyroid gland is relatively inactive, and the level of hormones produced is less than the required amount. As a result, there arises a certain disorder in the human body.


Hyperthyroidism is a state of increased activity of the thyroid gland leading to excessive production of hormones in the body. Hyperthyroidism leads to weight loss and affects the body’s metabolism.

Symptoms and causes

The symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups: Hyperthyroidism, or having too much thyroid hormone, and Hypothyroidism, or having too little thyroid hormone. Frequently, the two illnesses' symptoms are "opposites." This is because hyperthyroidism speeds up your metabolism, while hypothyroidism slows it down. Hypothyroidism symptoms include feeling exhausted, having a slower heart rate than usual, gaining weight without apparent cause, having a bad mood, and so on. Hyperthyroidism symptoms might include irregular heartbeat, weight loss, trouble sleeping, and more.

What causes thyroid imbalance? It is mainly blamed on unhealthy eating habits. Food items with low nutritional value are one of the primary root causes of thyroid disorders since it is a nutrient-dependent gland. And the deficiency in these nutrients will negatively affect thyroid hormone production. Hence, a well-balanced diet is essential for lifelong thyroid health.

How is thyroid disorder treated?

Treatment for thyroid imbalance depends on the type of condition and the cause. The goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to a healthy range. Following is the report given by MAYO CLINIC, a non-profit organisation committed to clinical practice, education, and research.

If you have hyperthyroidism, treatment options include:

Anti-thyroid drugs: These medications stop your thyroid from making hormones.

Radioiodine (radioactive iodine) therapy: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormone.

Beta-blockers: These medications don’t affect your thyroid, but they help manage some symptoms, like rapid heart rate.

Surgery: For a more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may recommend surgically removing your thyroid. This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you’ll need to take synthetic (manufactured) thyroid replacement hormones (pills) for the rest of your life.

On the other hand, if you have hypothyroidism, the main treatment option is thyroid replacement medication. It’s a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. But depending on how serious your disease is, your doctor will advise you on which of these therapies to pursue.

Generally, thyroid disorder is not preventable. This is because most cases of thyroid disease are linked to genetics and/or caused by autoimmune conditions (a condition in which the body’s immune system mistakes its own healthy tissues as foreign and attacks them), which you can’t prevent. Consequently, if you experience thyroid-related symptoms, it's crucial to see an endocrinologist, a thyroid specialist and follow their advice about medication, treatment and diet.

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