New study claims that COVID-19 could cause thyroid disease in patients
By now, the scientists have confirmed that COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, caused by a coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) which enters the human body through the nose and mouth. Other than respiratory symptoms, people suffering from this infectious disease have also shown symptoms of other diseases such as gastrointestinal disease (diarrhoea), eye infection (conjunctivitis) and brain infections.
Recently, doctors have discovered a new thyroid disease in the patients affected by COVID-19. In the research published in Oxford’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism on 21st May 2020, the scientists reported that COVID-19 can lead to subacute thyroiditis.
COVID-19 infection and thyroid disease: The case study
The author of the case study, Alessandro Brancatella, a PhD student at the University Hospital Pisa, believes that the case presented could be the first case of thyroid disease seen in a patient with COVID-19. In this case, an 18-year-old woman was tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection after her father was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the University Hospital Pisa in Italy on 21st February. Though she was asymptomatic, her test came back positive and soon after, she started showing symptoms. When tested on 13th and 14th March, her test came back negative for COVID-19 infection.
However, on 17th March, she started presenting with fever, fatigue and radiating pain in her neck and jaw. When examined by the doctors, she had an increased heart rate and an enlarged thyroid which was painful on palpation. Her laboratory tests showed high levels of thyroid hormones, with increased inflammatory markers and white blood cell count. Her neck ultrasound showed a dense and solid area on both sides.
The results were surprising to the doctors as the woman’s thyroid functions and imagings were normal in the past month. Later the doctors diagnosed her with subacute thyroiditis and she was immediately given prednisone, a medication to reduce the inflammation. The symptoms of neck pain and fever vanished in two days and the patient recovered completely within a week.
Viral infections and subacute thyroiditis: The uncommon thyroid disease
Subacute thyroiditis is a thyroid disease which causes inflammation of the thyroid gland. There is no specified cause of this thyroid disease but very often it has been reported after an upper respiratory tract infection.
In the past, subacute thyroiditis has been reported in the cases of viral diseases such as mumps, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
A person with subacute thyroiditis presents with pain in the neck and jaw and abnormal thyroid function. The doctors use anti-inflammatory medications such as glucocorticoids to treat the condition.
For more information, read our article on Thyroid problems.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
Updated Date: May 22, 2020 16:42:03 IST
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