What Happens When Your Thyroid Hormones are Imbalanced

Thyroid Management

10% of Singaporeans suffer from a thyroid disorder. Fortunately, thyroid diseases can be cured. Find out how to manage this condition.

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that is located around the windpipe, at the front of the neck. It forms part of the body’s endocrine system and produces thyroid hormones responsible for regulating important bodily functions like your metabolic and heart rate.

When these hormone levels are imbalanced, it can lead to thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

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What are common thyroid problems?

  • Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid, meaning the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones to effect your bodily processes. With hypothyroidism, your metabolic rate is slowed down and this can cause symptoms such as tiredness and inability to withstand cold temperatures.

  • Hyperthyroidism

    Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid, meaning the thyroid makes more thyroid hormones than needed. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that can cause inflammation in the thyroid, leading to symptoms such as goitre (swelling in neck caused by enlargement of thyroid gland). With hyperthyroidism, you may also develop a quick heartbeat that is unusual and/or irregular as this condition tends to accelerate the metabolic rate of your body.

    The prevalence of thyroid disorders in Malaysia is 10% for hypothyroidism and 2% for hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

  • Easily fatigued
  • Weight gain
  • Forgetfulness
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Dry and coarse hair
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sensitivity to cold

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)

  • Feelings of anxiety, irritability, nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged thyroid gland/goiter
  • Muscle weakness and tremors
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Vision problems

What causes thyroid conditions?

Thyroid conditions can be a result of many causes such as a family history of thyroid disease. They can be present at birth or begin later in life due to an imbalance in thyroid hormones. This imbalance can be caused by factors such as hormonal changes in the body as a result of occurrences like pregnancy.

Patients with thyroid conditions may also develop thyroid nodules (solid or fluid-filled growths made of thyroid cells in the thyroid gland), which is a symptom of having a thyroid condition.

Due to inflammation caused by conditions like hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules that were originally small can become large enough to require medical attention.

If thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are not managed correctly, the patient may develop serious health conditions in the long run such as heart and renal complications, muscle and nerve weakness and even infertility.

Who is at risk of suffering from a thyroid condition in Singapore?

In Singapore, women are ten times more prone than men to suffer from a thyroid condition. This risk is increased if you are a woman over the age of 60, or who is currently or has recently been pregnant.

If you are a frequent smoker, you may also be at risk of suffering from a thyroid condition as smoking can affect your thyroid hormone levels.

Those who have had recent CT scans that require iodine contrast may also be at risk, as the thyroid gland is sensitive to radiation, resulting in a disruption of thyroid hormone regulation.

How is a thyroid condition diagnosed?

A thyroid condition is typically discovered during a thyroid function test where your TSH and T4 levels (thyroid hormone levels) are examined for any abnormalities. You can arrange for a blood test at home, and/or seek treatment for a thyroid condition if you have already been diagnosed previously.

The only way to be certain if you have a thyroid condition is by conducting a blood test to measure your thyroid hormone levels. Contact us to book a blood test at home.

If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, contact us for dedicated, individualised, and tailored patient care, monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and evidence-based treatment.

What are some treatment options for thyroid conditions in Singapore?

In Singapore, thyroid conditions can be managed by consulting an experienced doctor who is able to formulate the best treatment plan for you. This is done by administering the right medication (i.e. hormone replacement therapy) to slow down thyroid hormone production (hyperthyroidism) or restore thyroid hormone levels to normal (hypothyroidism).

You may also require further scans to confirm the severity of your thyroid condition, or consider surgery to remove the thyroid gland in some cases depending on your doctor’s advice. If you are unsure and wish to get peace of mind, simply make an appointment to consult to a doctor for professional opinion today.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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