Hypothyroidism- Major Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Hypothyroidism

What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough thyroid hormone(a deficiency of thyroid hormone).
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is a lack of iodine (iodine deficiency) but can also be caused by other various conditions of the thyroid gland or, less commonly, the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. It can result from a lack of thyroid gland and also can be associated with increased stress. Hypothyroidism is a very common condition. It is estimated that 3% to 5% of the population has some form of hypothyroidism, the condition is more common in women than in men and its incidence increases with age.
There are many disorders that result in hypothyroidism. These disorders may directly or indirectly involve the thyroid gland, because thyroid hormone affects growth, development, and many cellular processes, inadequate thyroid hormone has widespread consequences for the body. Severe hypothyroidism in infants can result in cretinism.

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The symptoms of hypothyroidism are often subtle. They are may take other forms (which means they can mimic the symptoms of many other conditions) and are sometimes attributed to aging. Patients with mild hypothyroidism may have no symptoms.
Symptoms becomes more obvious as the condition worsens and the majority of these complaints are related to a metabolic slowing of the body.

Below are the hypothyroidism signs and symptoms :
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Modest weight gain
  • Cold intolerance
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Dry, coarse hair
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Constipation
  • Vague aches and pains
  • Decreased concentration
As the disease advances it becomes more severe, the patient might notice the following symptoms:
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Slowing of the heart rate and a drop in body temperature followed by heart failure. 
In its most profound form, severe hypothyroidism may lead to a life threatening coma (myxedema coma).In a severely hypothyroid individual, amyxedema coma tends to be triggered by severe illness,surgery,stress, or traumatic injury. This condition requires hospitalization and immediate treatment with thyroid hormones given by injection.
Properly diagnosed hypothyroidism can be easily and completely treated with thyroid hormone replacement. On the other hand, untreated hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy), worsening heart failure and an accumulation of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion).

Hypothyroidism in children and teens
Children and teens develop similar signs and symptoms as in the case of an adult, but may experience other symptoms such as:

  • Stunted growth, resulting in short stature
  • Delayed development of permanent teeth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Poor mental development
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Below are the causes of hypothyroidism
  • An autoimmune disease: This condition occurs when the antibodies in your system fends off new and healthy cells. Sometimes, your body confuses normal, healthy cells for invading cells. This is called an autoimmune response. If the autoimmune response isn’t corrected those antibodies could attack healthy tissues. Thus, causing serious health issues, including conditions like hypothyroidism. 
  • Treatment for hyperthyroidism: This condition occurs when there is an excess production of thyroid hormone, this condition is known as hyperthyroidism. In order for this condition to be corrected your thyroid hormone needs to be reduce or normalize. Sometimes, treatment can cause the levels of your thyroid hormone to remain low permanently. This often occurs after treatment with radioactive iodine.
  • Surgical removal of your thyroid: This involves the surgical removal of your thyroid gland due to previous thyroid problems leading you to develop hypothyroidism. Hence, you will have to make use of thyroid medications for the rest of your life as the primary treatment. However if only a portion of the gland is removed, your thyroid may still be able to produce enough hormones on its own. 
  • Radiation therapy: This condition mostly occurs to people who have been previously diagnosed with cancer of the head or neck, lymphoma, or leukemia, you may have undergone radiation therapy. Radiation used for the treatment of these conditions may slow the production of thyroid hormone. This will almost always lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Medications: Use of some medications can lead to hypothyroidism such as lithium which is use to treat psychological conditions as well as cancer and heart disease. Ensure to ask your doctor about its effect on thyroid gland.
  • Severe iodine deficiency: In area of the world where there is an iodine deficiency in the diet, severe hypothyroidism can be seen in 5% to 15% of the population. Examples of these areas India, Ecuador and Chile. Severe iodine deficiency is also seen in remote mountain areas such as the Andes and the Himalayas. Since the addition of iodine to table salt and to bread, iodine deficiency is rarely seen in the United States.
Risk factors
The following categories of people are at risk of hypothyroidism:
  • Women older than age 60
  • Having an autoimmune disease
  • Family history of thyroid disease
  • Have been treated with radioactive iodine 
  • Undergone radiation therapy. 
  • Have carried out a thyroid surgery (partial thyroidectomy)
  • A pregnant woman.
Treatment for hypothyroidism
With exception of certain conditions, the treatment of hypothyroidism requires life-long therapy. Before synthetic levothyroxine (T4) was available, desiccated thyroid tablets were used. Desiccated thyroid was obtain from animal thyroid glands, which lacked consistency of potency from batch to batch. Presently, a pure synthetic T4 is widely available. Therefore, there is no reason to use desiccated thyroid extract.
This medication helps return your thyroid hormone to its adequate level. As soon as the hormones are restored, symptoms of the condition are likely to disappear or at least become much more manageable.
Ensure you carry out blood tests to monitor your progress. Preferably, your doctor needs to find a dose and a treatment plan that suits your symptoms. However, once stable, the TSH can be monitored yearly. Over-treating hypothyroidism with excess thyroid medication can be harmful causing problems with heart palpitations and blood pressure control. Thus, every effort should be made to ensure the TSH is within its normal range.

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Hypothyroidism- Major Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism- Major Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Hypothyroidism Reviewed by Gregory on November 29, 2018 Rating: 5


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