Given the 20% incidence of thyroid diseases, specialists emphasize early diagnosis

Recognizing the associated symptoms is the first step to taking timely action, according to experts.

Dr. Leticia Hernández, president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology (SPED), and Dr. José García Mateo, past president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology. Photo: Journal of Medicine and Public Health. Fabiola Plaza.

Dr. Leticia Hernández, president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology (SPED), and Dr. José García Mateo, past president of the Puerto Rican Society of Endocrinology and Diabetology, revealed to Medicine and Public Health the aspects essential for timely diagnosis for thyroid-related diseases.

“In Puerto Rico we have seen a fairly high prevalence of thyroid conditions, this incidence is around 20 percent counting hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodule conditions and thyroid cancer, so it is a condition that can occur in countless people and it is important that they be able to recognize those symptoms that may indicate that the patient is suffering and initiate treatment and timely follow-up,” said Dr. Hernández .

The current president of the SPED said that whatever the thyroid problem is, early diagnosis will lead to accurate treatment and we will prevent complications in these patients. If thyroid conditions are treated early and appropriately according to their etiology, we will be successful. Even thyroid cancer, we now have tools to treat these patients with excellent results.

These conditions are quite common in older women reproductive health, the prevalence when we compare men with women is 6 to 1, that is, higher in women. Now, as age increases, some changes occur there, TCH levels increase, which increases the probability of finding men with the disease at these ages.

Something important to emphasize is that the thyroid evaluation is not what we call the screening test, but rather we have to evaluate the patients and define the symptoms. In the case of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, what we perform are laboratory tests, HCT tests and in the case of the patient where we suspect hypothyroidism, and then we can confirm with a free T4 test, to determine if he does indeed have hypothyroidism.

In the case of hyperthyroidism there we make the hormones free T4 and total T3 and they can be made studies such as thyroid scan or an uptake test to determine the cause of that hyperthyroidism.

Dr. García Mateo emphasized that there are patients with other pathologies who may have thyroid symptoms and “that is why we have to be intuitive and know what symptoms, what set of symptoms need testing. Another problem is that a person does a test who arrives with high TCH, and already comes with their prescription or taking pills, and here the important thing is to individualize the diagnosis because in menopausal women over 65 years of age, and this can be counterproductive for these patients in terms of their cardiovascular and bone health”.

In the case of hypothyroidism, Dr. Hernández indicated that patients present symptoms such as gaining between 5 and 10 pounds in weight, “and I want to clarify that hypothyroidism does not cause obesity. The patient may present fatigue, depression, constipation, have hair and brittle nails. That is, hair that breaks and falls out because it breaks, slower heartbeat, lower body temperature. In the case of women, heavier periods. These are symptoms that could indicate that the person has hypothyroidism.

In the case of hyperthyroidism, the symptoms are weight loss, palpitations, tremors, increased frequency of bathroom use, reduced fertility and libido, the latter in men and women.

“Medicine, no matter how many clinical advances we have, the history and physical examination is the most important thing in the medical evaluation. “Many times with the tests, and that is where the problems come from and the patient is the one who suffers, who has no related symptoms , but it arrives with high or low results, because if one treats the patient based only on the tests, but the doctor must base himself on the clinical and family history and on the physical evaluation,” concluded García Mateo.

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