Hypothyroidism | signs and symptoms | causes - Gafacom (For health. For knowledge)

Hypothyroidism | signs and symptoms | causes

Hypothyroidism is a kind of thyroid disease. If you have hypothyroidism that means you have an underactive thyroid ("hypo-" means "under" or "below normal"). In people with hypothyroidism, the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally. Common causes of hypothyroidism are autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid, and radiation treatment.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland usually located in the lower front of the neck below the larynx (the voice box).
Hypothyroidism is a kind of thyroid disease

The thyroid's job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should. The main hormone made by the thyroid is thyroxine, also called T4 because it contains four iodine molecules. Small amounts of another and more potent thyroid hormone containing three iodine molecules, triiodothyronine (T3) are also made by the thyroid gland. However, most of the T3 in the blood is made from T4 in other body tissues.

Low thyroid hormone levels cause the body's functions to slow down, leading to general symptoms like dry skin, fatigue, loss of energy, and memory problems. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by a simple blood test for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the missing thyroid hormone with synthetic thyroxine pills, which the person must take every day for life. With daily treatment, most patients recover completely.

Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism

Fatigue | Constipation Weight gain from fluid retention | Memory problems
Dry skin and cold intolerance | Decreased concentration| Yellow skin Depression
Coarse hair or loss of hair | Irregular or heavy menstrual periods and infertility
Hoarseness | Muscle pain or tenderness
Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland) | High level of fats in the blood
Slowed bodily reactions | Slow heart rate and low body temperature
Lack of coordination | Excess fluid in body tissues

Risk factors

  • Have a close relative, such as a parent or grandparent, with an autoimmune disease
  • Hypothyroidism can develop at any age, but risk for developing it increases with age.
  • Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men; and, much more so in young women than young men. The risk of hypothyroidism increases during pregnancy, after delivery and around menopause.
  • Hypothyroidism is more common in whites and Asians than in other races and ethnicities.
  • Have another autoimmune disorder, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, or vitiligo
  • Have been treated with radioactive iodine or received radiation to the neck or upper chest
  • Have had thyroid surgery
  • Have Down syndrome or Turner syndrome – genetic disorders
  • Have bi-polar disease (manic depression)


Autoimmune disease
The immune system normally protects the body against bacterial and viral "invaders." In autoimmune diseases ("auto" means "self"), the immune system attacks a normal part of the body. In autoimmune hypothyroidism, the immune system accidentally attacks cells in the thyroid. This causes the cells to become inflamed and damaged, interfering with their ability to make thyroid hormone.

Surgical removal of a part or all of the thyroid gland
 Some people with thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, or Graves' disease need to have part or the entire thyroid removed. Hypothyroidism results when the entire thyroid is removed or when the remaining thyroid tissue no longer works properly.

Radiation treatment
Some people with Graves' disease, nodular goiter, or thyroid cancer are treated with radioactive iodine (131I). Radioactive iodine destroys the thyroid, which can result in hypothyroidism. Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, or cancers of the head or neck are treated with radiation which can destroy the thyroid and result in hypothyroidism.

Congenital (from birth) hypothyroidism
About 1 in 4,000 babies each year are born without a thyroid or with a partly formed thyroid. A few babies have part or their entire thyroid in the wrong place (ectopic thyroid). In some babies, the thyroid cells or their enzymes do not function correctly or are affected by medications taken by the mother. In others, the thyroid may make enough hormone for a while but later stop stops functioning as the child gets older or becomes an adult. In the United States, all children are tested at birth for hypothyroidism.

Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid. It is usually caused by an autoimmune attack (such as Hashimoto’s disease, postpartum thyroiditis or silent thyroiditis) or by a viral infection. Thyroiditis can make the thyroid release its whole supply of stored thyroid hormone into the blood at once, causing the thyroid to become overactive (hyperthyroidism) for a brief period of time. Once the entire stored hormone has been released, the thyroid becomes underactive. Almost all people with viral thyroiditis recover their thyroid function, but about one-fourth of people with autoimmune thyroiditis have permanent hypothyroidism.

Some medicines can interfere with the thyroid's ability to make thyroid hormone, leading to hypothyroidism. Lithium is one of the most common medicines that cause hypothyroidism. Others medicines that can cause hypothyroidism are amiodarone, interferon alpha, and interleukin-2. All of these drugs are most likely to trigger hypothyroidism in people who have a genetic tendency to autoimmune thyroid disease. Rarely, some people with the blood cancer multiple myeloma who are treated with thalidomide can develop hypothyroidism.

Too little or too much iodine
The thyroid must have iodine to make thyroid hormone. Iodine comes into the body in foods, mainly dairy products, chicken, beef, pork, fish, and iodized salt. The iodine then travels through the blood to the thyroid. Keeping thyroid hormone production in balance requires the right amount of iodine. People who live in undeveloped parts of the world may not get enough iodine in their diet. Worldwide, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, although it is a rare cause in the U.S.

Too much iodine can also cause or worsen hypothyroidism. The major source of too much iodine is dietary supplements containing kelp, a kind of seaweed. Most of these supplements are sold with the false promise of helping people lose weight. Other sources of too much iodine are x-ray dyes, medicines like amiodarone, and some older expectorants (medicines that help clear the lungs and throat).

Damage to the pituitary gland
The pituitary gland tells the thyroid how much hormone to make. If the pituitary gland is damaged by injury, a tumor, radiation, or surgery, it may no longer be able to give the thyroid the right instructions, and the thyroid may stop making enough hormone.

Hypothyroidism | signs and symptoms | causes Hypothyroidism | signs and symptoms | causes Reviewed by gafacom on June 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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