UAE doctor explains symptoms, different types of thyroid problems

Thyroid diseases are prevalent and can affect individuals of all ages, however, certain risk factors contribute to the likelihood of developing these conditions


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Thu 25 May 2023, 4:15 PM

The thyroid gland produces hormones that play a major role in the metabolism, growth and development of the human body, an expert said marking World Thyroid Day.

“The thyroid gland, a small gland situated below the Adam’s apple in the neck, plays a crucial role in the body. It serves as a control centre for metabolism, the process by which the body converts food into energy,” Dr Sajid Kalathil, consultant endocrinologist and diabetologist at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, said.

Dr Sajid Kalathil
Dr Sajid Kalathil

“Any dysfunction in this gland can profoundly impact its function. The thyroid gland produces several essential hormones in precise quantities. Excessive secretion of these hormones results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism, while insufficient production leads to a disorder called hypothyroidism,” Dr Kalathil told Khaleej Times.

Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

“Hyperthyroidism arises when the thyroid gland excessively secretes hormones, leading to accelerated metabolism and resulting in symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, weight loss, increased appetite, and anxiety. This condition can be effectively treated through the use of anti-thyroid medications, beta-blockers, and surgical procedures,” Dr Kalathil said.

“In contrast, hypothyroidism represents a contrasting health condition where the thyroid gland inadequately secretes hormones, causing a slower metabolism, obesity, fatigue, and intolerance to cold temperatures. The primary approach to address this condition involves hormone replacement therapy.”


Dr Kalathil noted that a goiter manifests as an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland.

“This can be caused due to underactive or overactive thyroid and sometimes due to deficiency of iodine in diet.”

He highlighted various symptoms associated with this condition, such as the presence of a noticeable protrusion in the neck below the Adam's apple, a sensation of tightness in the throat region, hoarseness of voice, chronic cough and occasionally swelling of neck veins. Treatment options for goiter may involve the use of radioactive iodine or surgical intervention, depending on the individual case.

Thyroid tumours

Dr Kalathil noted that the thyroid gland, like any other organ in the body, is susceptible to the development of cancerous tumours but it is quite rare and usually known to progress very slowly compared to other cancers.

“It is crucial to consult a doctor if experiencing any symptoms or sudden changes, as early diagnosis significantly improves the prospects of successful treatment.”

Thyroid diseases are prevalent and can affect individuals of all ages. Certain risk factors contribute to the likelihood of developing these conditions, such as a family history of the disease, the presence of autoimmune disorders, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or the use of medications containing high levels of iodine.

“Age also plays a significant role, with the risk of thyroid disease increasing after the age of 60. Regular medical check-ups, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding smoking, and engaging in physical exercise remain vital preventive measures not only for thyroid diseases but also to maintain general health and well-being,” Dr Kalathil added.


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