When you talk about your thyroid, most people know that it is a gland located somewhere in our throats. You may also know that it is a gland that secretes a hormone that is quite powerful. You may also be aware that some people have certain thyroid disorders for which they need regular medication. However, you may not know that over 42 million people suffer from thyroid-related diseases in India. Doctors and scientists suggest that this number will only increase in the coming years. The thyroid needs to be taken care of and treated in time; otherwise, a person could develop thyroid cancer and other diseases that could lead to death.
If you have a disease like thyroid, you need to get regular check-ups and take proper medication in time to prevent the progression of the disease. When you have a hormone-related disease like the thyroid, you need to be prepared for the worst at any given time because you do not know when something might get triggered, and you may need emergency care. In such a situation, if you have a medical insurance plan, it can help you sort out the financial side of your care. You can focus on making a full recovery while your health insurance looks into the funding of your treatment.
Let Tata AIG take the lead if you are thinking of what health insurance you should choose to help you on your health journey. We are a good choice for a medical insurance plan because we offer you comprehensive plans, cost-effective prices, a wide network of cashless hospitals, a high claim settlement ratio and positive customer ratings, among other things. You can buy our plans online, allowing you to compare health insurance plans and buy the one that suits you the best. So, when you think of buying a medical insurance plan, always choose Tata AIG!
Keeping all of this in mind, let us look into thyroid and its causes and effects.
What is Thyroid?
A tiny gland called the thyroid can be found close to the base of your neck, which wraps itself around the trachea. It has two wing-like structures that go around the sides of your throat and is fashioned resembling a butterfly with a small centre. Your body has glands that help produce and release compounds that assist in various physical processes. Your thyroid creates hormones that aid in handling several essential bodily operations.
The two thyroid chambers on either side of the glands are connected by an extremely thin region of tissue called the isthmus. The thyroid uses iodine for the production of essential hormones. The most important hormone that is created by the gland is called thyroxine, which is also popularly known as T4. A small amount of the T4 produced in the gland is metabolised to triiodothyronine (T3), the most potent hormone, before being transported via the circulatory system to the body's organs and tissues.
A brain-based feedback process controls the thyroid gland's operation. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), produced by the brain's hypothalamus if thyroid hormone concentrations are low, prompts the pituitary gland, which is situated at the underside of the brain, to create the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH enables the thyroid to make more T4.
Since the pituitary glands and hypothalamus regulate the thyroid gland, diseases of these organs can also impair thyroid function and result in thyroid difficulties.
Types of Thyroid
Unless a person knows what kind of thyroid they suffer from, it becomes impossible to treat it. And as already determined above, if thyroid is not diagnosed in time and treated efficiently, it can cause many problems for the patient. The treatment and care you receive for your thyroid-related problems will depend on the kind of thyroid you have. In general parlance, there are two basic types of thyroid. These are called hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism- The thyroid gland's inability to produce enough thyroid hormone leads to hypothyroidism. It may be brought on by thyroid, pituitary glands, or brain issues.
Hyperthyroidism- In contrast to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism refers to the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroid disease symptoms frequently involve a slower metabolism. A patient might not notice any hyperthyroidism symptoms if the case is very mild. There are three basic types of hyperthyroidism that a person may suffer from. They are Graves Disease, Thyroiditis and Toxic nodular goitre.
In more severe cases, your thyroid may become:
Goitre- Notwithstanding the reason, swelling of your thyroid is generally referred to as a goitre. A goitre itself is not a particular illness. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or regular thyroid function can all be linked to a goitre.
Thyroid Cancer- Adult women are much more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men or children. About two-thirds of instances affect adults under 55. Based on the particular cell form that has developed into a tumour, there are various types of thyroid cancer. When detected promptly, thyroid cancer often has a favourable prognosis and actual survival.
Now that you have a general idea of thyroid and its various types, let us look into hyperthyroidism and its causes a little more deeply.
Knowing your hyperthyroidism causes can help you understand your disease better. Understanding the disease helps you take care of yourself and your needs better. It also aids you in helping your doctor in making a diagnosis. Here is what you need to know about hyperthyroidism causes.
Several circumstances can bring on hyperthyroidism. The most typical hyperthyroidism cause is the autoimmune illness Graves' disease. In Graves' disease, the thyroid gland is invaded by antibodies produced by your immune system, which causes an excessive amount of hormone to be released.
Women experience Graves' illness more frequently than males do. According to a 2011 scientific overview, environmental factors also impact whether someone may develop Graves, but genetics still play a significant influence. Graves' illness isn't caused by a solitary gene deficiency but by tiny mutations in several genes. For your doctor to accurately assess your risk factors, you should let them know if any members of your family have been given a hyperthyroidism diagnosis.
Other causes of hyperthyroidism, outside Graves' disease, include:
Thyroid Nodules- Nodules in the thyroid gland known as thyroid nodules are lumps or cellular growths. Your body may absorb more hormones from them than it requires. However, there are very few cases where these nodules are malignant.
Thyroiditis: A swelling of the thyroid gland that may or may not be painful is known as thyroiditis. In many cases, thyroiditis occurs within a year of a woman giving birth to a baby, called postpartum thyroiditis. Your thyroid may not be able to recover from thyroiditis, which might result in hypothyroidism.
Excess Iodine Consumption: If you are someone who is consuming too much iodine, either through your food or prescription drugs, your thyroid may generate extra thyroid hormone. Your thyroid uses the mineral iodine to produce thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism may also result from getting IV iodinated contrast. Amiodarone, a drug with a high iodine content, can also result in hyperthyroidism.
Excess T4- If you have a large amount of T4 in your blood, it could lead to hyperthyroidism.
Barring these, there are some risk factors when it comes to hyperthyroidism. These risk factors include;
If someone in your family has had hyperthyroidism, it is possible that you too will have hyperthyroidism.
Pregnancy can sometimes stimulate hyperthyroidism in a mother.
Some diseases like diabetes and adrenal gland diseases can sometimes lead to the development of hyperthyroidism.
People over 55 are at a greater risk of developing hyperthyroidism.
Females are more likely to develop hyperthyroid disease than males.
If you are diagnosed with tumours in your ovaries or testes, you are at a greater risk of developing hyperthyroid syndrome.
Hyperthyroid Disease Symptoms
Knowing the symptoms of any disease is very important because, in many cases, understanding your disease's symptoms can help your doctor determine how to help you. Knowing your symptoms can also help you understand when to approach your doctor and get help. Since getting treatment before the disease progresses is important, knowing your symptoms is extremely important and helpful.
Some symptoms to be on the lookout for if you suspect you have hyperthyroid disease include;
Heart palpitations (pulse over 100 beats per minute)
Changes in menstrual patterns
Loss of weight, but an increase in appetite
Tremors in the limbs
Irritated Bowel Syndrome
Increased sweating and severe overheating
Trouble with vision
Change in the texture of skin and hair
Weakness in the muscles
Swelling in the neck
Bulging of the eyes
Sudden bouts of extreme irritability
Effects of Hyperthyroidism
Like any other disease, if hyperthyroidism does not receive the right care and treatment in time, it could develop into a more serious form of the disease. This is why understanding your disease and going to the doctor to get help at the right time are of paramount importance. It could sometimes even be the difference between life and death.
In some cases, when hyperthyroidism does not get the care required to stay under control, it could evolve into a more severe form of the disease. Some effects of hyperthyroidism, if left untreated or diagnosed at a later stage, include:
Osteoporosis - Your bones may become thin and brittle due to hyperthyroidism, which may result in osteoporosis. Bone health can be enhanced by consuming calcium and vitamin D medications post-treatment. Regular physical activity and getting enough exercise also assists prevent osteoporosis.
Complications During Pregnancy- This covers those who already have thyroid conditions and those with hyperthyroidism while pregnant. Both pregnant women and the foetus can suffer from high thyroid hormone levels. Preterm birth and miscarriage are risks that should be kept in mind. Frequent thyroid hormone checks can spot anomalies during pregnancy, and the physician may decide the right course of treatment.
Thyroid Storm- When the thyroid is left untreated, it can lead to a rare medical disorder known as a thyroid storm. Too excess thyroid hormones in your body cause it to go into overdrive. Thyroid storm is an amalgamation of symptoms that can be fatal, comprising fever, elevated blood pressure, and a rapid heartbeat.
Cancer - Thyroid carcinoma, a thyroid cancer, can develop in some hyperthyroid patients. According to medical professionals and researchers, thyroid cancer in people with hyperthyroidism is more "aggressive" and has a poorer prognosis compared to people with euthyroidism (healthy thyroid).
Now that we have seen the effects of hyperthyroidism let us learn how to diagnose the disease.
Hyperthyroidism Disease Diagnosis
When a doctor is making diagnoses related to hyperthyroidism, they will always begin by asking you about your medical history and the symptoms you are experiencing. In many cases, your doctor will have a fair idea about your case by hearing your symptoms alone. They might also look for physical signs related to hyperthyroidism, like swelling in the neck or bulging eyes, as well as the texture of your skin. Your doctor can also make a more successful diagnosis if you provide them with important information about your family's medical history, in this case, if anyone in your family has been suffering or has suffered from hyperthyroidism.
Keeping all of this in mind, your doctor may ask you to undergo a few tests, including;
Free T4, T4 and T3 level tests- These examinations evaluate your blood's level of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3).
TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) Level Assessment- TSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that prompts the thyroid to generate hormones. Your pituitary gland reacts to elevated thyroid hormone amounts by producing less TSH. TSH levels that are excessively low can be a warning sign of hyperthyroidism.
Ultrasound of the Thyroid- The thyroid gland's overall size and any tumours present can be determined using ultrasound technology. The solidity or cystic nature of a mass can also be determined by doctors using ultrasounds.
MRI or CT scans- If a pituitary tumour is present, a Computed tomography (CT) or MRI can demonstrate this.
RAIU Test- The Radioactive Iodine Uptake test measures how much radiotracer your thyroid receives through oral administration of a modest, safe dosage. Your doctor will use a gamma sensor to examine your neck after a set period to determine the quantity of radioactive iodine the thyroid has collected, often between 6 and 24 hours. If your thyroid has absorbed a significant amount of radioactive iodine, it indicates that your thyroid is making excessive thyroxine. If so, you most certainly have thyroid nodules or Graves' disease.
Thyroid scan- This process is an expansion of the RAIU in which you will lie on a bed with your neck inclined back, and a special camera (a gamma camera) will take numerous photos of your thyroid in addition to monitoring the radioactivity accumulated by your thyroid. Due to the radioactive particles, your thyroid may seem completely "bright" on the screen or only in some areas. Your doctor may use a thyroid scan to check for thyroid lumps or nodules, inflammation, swelling, goitre, or thyroid cancer.
If you are wondering what hyperthyroidism treatment path your doctor will take to control your symptoms, there are several paths to choose from. Your doctor will draw a treatment plan based on the severity of your case and your symptoms.
Some hyperthyroidism treatment plans include;
Medication- Propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole (Tapazole) prevent your thyroid from producing an excess of hormones. These medications will usually reduce your discomfort in a few days or weeks, but you may need to continue taking the medicines for approximately 18 months to reduce the likelihood of a resurgence of symptoms substantially. Because of its milder side effects, methimazole is more frequently recommended. Allergic responses like redness or itching are examples of side effects of the drugs. Up to 3% of persons taking antithyroid drugs may experience allergic reactions.
Radioactive Iodine- Your hyperactive thyroid cells assimilate radioactive iodine, which is an oral medication. Over a few weeks, the radioactive iodine destroys these cells, shrinks your thyroid, and lowers your thyroid hormone levels. In most cases, this results in the thyroid being permanently destroyed, curing hyperthyroidism. This drug uses a different dosage of radiation than the RAIU test and scan needed to make a diagnosis. To keep their hormone levels balanced, most patients who undergo this procedure must consume thyroid hormone medications for the remainder of their lives.
Surgery- Your doctor might extract the whole or a portion of your thyroid if medicines aren't a viable solution for you. The term for this surgery is a thyroidectomy. To avoid difficulties, you may be required to take antithyroid medications before surgery. You can then develop hypothyroidism and require a hormone supplement. You might require medicines to maintain the calcium concentrations in your bloodstream where they ought to be if your doctor is also removing your parathyroid glands.
- Use of Beta Blockers- These medications prevent the body from being affected by thyroid hormones. They do not alter the hormone levels in your bloodstream, but they might help manage hyperthyroidism-related symptoms such as rapid pulse, anxiety, and instability. Long-term management of hyperthyroidism typically involves combining this medication with another approach rather than using it alone.
Hyperthyroid Syndrome Prevention
There are no sure ways to guarantee that something will or will not prevent the onset of hyperthyroidism in a person. However, you can take a few preventive methods that may help you in the long run. These preventive methods include;
Regular screening for thyroid
Get checked for celiac disease
Ask for a thyroid collar when getting an X-ray
Check your neck for swelling
Know the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and go to your doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms
Why Use Health Insurance
Having a medical insurance plan in today’s day and age has become a core necessity. You are not only dealing with the diseases that have been around since the beginning, but today you also need to find ways to combat the newer lifestyle diseases. Because the lives people lead are so unpredictable, our health is also taking a similar route. In such cases, having health insurance is like having a shield as you manoeuvre the world of physical and mental diseases.
A few reasons a medical insurance plan can be useful are;
Expenses- When it comes to healthcare, prices have always been high. Today, there has been more advancement in medicine than ever before, so it should be no surprise that healthcare costs have also skyrocketed. Paying for treatments can often become a burden for the working-class Indian, especially when hospitalisations and surgeries are involved. However, if you have a medical insurance plan, you can rest easy knowing that your insurance will take care of the monetary transactions while you can focus on getting better.
Pre and Post-Hospitalisation Charges- Continuing from the previous point, when you are talking about the bills relating to hospitalisation, you cannot forget the considerable amount of money you also need to spend as part of the treatment before and after the hospitalisation. Today you can be asked to get tests done that can cost several thousands of rupees before you can be admitted for a procedure. And the expenses do not stop once you are discharged from the hospital. You may need to spend additional amounts of money on procedures post-discharge. However, suppose you have health insurance from Tata AIG. In that case, the pre and post-hospitalisation charges you have incurred will be covered by us if the charges are directly related to the disease you have been admitted for.
Covid-19 Insurance- While Covid has been managed largely, it has not been completely eradicated from our world. People who have several co-morbidity factors are still suffering and need emergency medical care after contracting the virus. Having health insurance, in these cases, can help you rest a little easier, knowing that even if you contract the virus, you have the arsenal to battle it.
Tax Benefits- When you buy health insurance, you are not only securing your health, but you are also saving on taxes. If you have purchased a medical insurance plan, you are eligible for a tax benefit of up to ₹25,000 or ₹50,000 in the case of senior citizens, under section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961.
How to Buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan
If you wish to buy a medical insurance plan from Tata AIG, there are two ways in which you can go about it. You can either buy a plan online or offline. We will briefly talk about both methods to help you make a choice.
Online- Start by visiting our website. Once there, you need to choose who you wish to buy the policy for. Your options are yourself, your husband or wife, your children or parents.
After selecting who you are purchasing the insurance for, you have to click on ‘Get Plan’
Enter the particulars being requested of you, and you will be displayed the most suitable insurance plans for you
You will now have to select the assured sum for whoever you are purchasing the policy
After picking it, you should be able to see what your insurance premium will be
You now have the opportunity to compare various plans to select a plan that is the correct fit for you
When you have gone through all the possibilities, pick the plan you are sure about
Click on ‘Buy Now’
An officer will now reach out to you in case you require any further help
You will now receive your policy in your email or on Whatsapp in a few minutes.
Once you have paid the application fee, you should receive your policy statement in a few minutes if your application is made correctly.
Offline- If you wish to buy insurance from us offline, you will need to;
Find an AIG office close to you and visit it
Approach a counter and express that you wish to buy health insurance
Someone will approach you to explain the different plans you can choose from
When you have decided on a policy, ask for an application form
Fill the application form and attach the necessary documents
Submit the application form and your documents at the appropriate counter
Pay the application fee
This concludes the application process. Once your application has been approved, you should receive your policy statement in a few days.
Documents Required to Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance
To buy health insurance from Tata AIG, you need to present;
Recent coloured photographs
Any documents relating to your health history
Other Health Pages
Disclaimer / TnC
Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.
Frequently Asked Question
Is hyperthyroidism treatable?
Most people benefit from treatments for hyperthyroidism because it is a moderate and treatable condition. You may need to take medications for life in some conditions. However, you can rest assured knowing that your hormone levels stay under control.
When do I need to go to a doctor for hyperthyroidism?
It's crucial to visit your healthcare professional if you have hyperthyroidism symptoms for them to examine you and make a treatment recommendation. If you've previously received a hyperthyroidism diagnosis, you'll probably need to visit your doctor frequently to ensure your medication works properly. Get to the closest hospital immediately if you exhibit thyroid storm symptoms or a hyperthyroidism symptom, like a high fever or an extremely rapid heartbeat.
Can thyroid be a cause of infertility in women?
Irregular menstrual cycles might be one of the signs of hyperthyroidism and make it challenging to get pregnant. Some women start talking to their doctor about pregnancy problems and only then find out they have a thyroid disorder.
What is the best insurance plan for hyperthyroidism?
If you have hyperthyroidism, you should opt for critical illness insurance.