Rare Thyroid Patients Need To Be Cautious Against Corona, Says Odisha’s Endocrinologist

Berhampur: Not all thyroid patients are at risk of contacting coronavirus. Only a few patients with rare thyroid ailments should be more cautious, according to renowned endocrinologist, Dr Sunil Kumar Kota.

Dr Kota said the rare anti-thyroid drugs (ATD) used to treat hyperthyroidism/Graves’ disease may cause side effects that resemble symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, sore throat, mouth ulceration, muscle pain, and flu like illness as a result of a condition called agranulocytosis/ neutropenia (Decrease in white blood cell count). Here, the number of the immune cells that fight infection decrease. If one experiences these symptoms, he should contact endocrinologist or other healthcare provider and mention that he takes thyroid medications, said Dr Kota.

Thyroid disorders are second most common endocrine ailments next only to diabetes and occur in 10-12 per cent of people.

The people with Thyroid Eye Disease are extremely vulnerable and are at very high risk of viral infection, severity and complications. Rarely the coronavirus can multiply and destroy the follicular cells in the thyroid gland responsible for thyroid hormone production giving rise to worsening of symptoms. As such, in case of worsening of symptoms, it is necessary to check thyroid hormone levels, he said.

Patients with hypothyroidism and other comorbidities such as diabetes, cardiac disease, and hypertension are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection and such patients need to take more precautions. The corona virus can induce an inflammation in the thyroid gland giving rise to Thyroiditis. There may be fever, throat discomfort with tender thyroid.

The rare thyroid cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy medications or multikinase inhibitors (such as Lenvatinib or Sorafenib) as a part of thyroid cancer treatment, they would be considered at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19. Patients who have previously received external beam radiotherapy to the neck may be at increased risk of severe illness with coronavirus and should also consider self-isolating, said Dr. Kota.

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