Lump in your throat

Lump in your throat

Lump in your throat

Not every node in your thyroid is cancerous, and it’s not only women, in their late 30s, who are prone to thyroid malfunction, educates  Dr Ajay Ajmani.

Through the hormones it produces, the butterfly-shaped, small-sized, thyroid gland can have a dramatic impact on most of the metabolic processes in your body. Though thyroid can be easily detected from regular body function changes, as much as nine percent of the population has thyroid problems, which can bring havoc on most of the body’s internal system. It can upset the function of everything, from your heart and lungs, to your emotional wellbeing. 

Effective treatments do exist; they range from medications and iodine therapy, to surgery. But the catch is in recognising symptoms, and seeking diagnosis and treatment immediately. 

But often, the symptoms can be easily confused with lifestyle changes. For example, when an individual, in his/her 40s, puts on weight, s/he might assume that it is due to age, or due to lack of physical activity. But when weight gain or weight loss is accompanied by other symptoms, such as loss of sexual drive, fatigue and excessive hair loss, you will need to visit the doctor for a thyroid check-up.

Thyroid disease is surrounded by more myths than awareness about the nature of the disease or preventive measures.

Myth: Only women, in their late 30s, develop thyroid

Fact: Women are vulnerable to this at any age, and in particular, during postnatal period, as hormones begin to change in late 30s. Indian men also develop thyroid conditions, and the symptoms in men don’t differ much from women: weight changes, fatigue, anxiety/depression, loss of sex drive, hair loss.

Myth: Lump or nodule in thyroid means thyroid cancer

Fact: Actually, only five to ten percent of thyroid nodules are cancerous. Various diagnostic procedures like FNAC(fine-needle aspiration cytology), biopsy, need to be done to find out for sure. These can evaluate whether your nodule or lump is, indeed, a cancerous one.
Myth: All hyperthyroid diseases need radioactive iodine Fact: Only a fraction of hyperthyroid cases may need radioiodine therapy. 

Most can be treated with medications for a few years. Some cases may require surgery.

Myth: Every thyroid patient will develop a goiter

Fact: Contrary to popular perception, the majority of thyroid patients will not develop a goiter or enlarged thyroid.


n Be careful about too much soy. Excessive soy isoflavones may trigger or worsen hypothyroidism, goiter or nodules. Some doctors advise avoiding soy supplements and powders and eating no more than one small serving of soy foods daily.

n Don't feed infants soy-based formulas. There's evidence that this can contribute to later risk of thyroid disease.

n Drink bottled water. Fluoride in water, and a rocket fuel manufacturing by-product known as perchlorate, are substances in water that may trigger or worsen the risk of thyroid problems.

n When it comes to iodine, think moderation. Too little or too much iodine - including when taken as kelp or bladderwrack - can increase your risk of hypothyroidism or goiter.

n Stop smoking. Smoking can damage the thyroid, and may worsen some existing thyroid conditions.

n Reduce your stress. Effective mind-body techniques play a vital role in preventing thyroid disorder.
(The writer is an endocrinologist, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi)