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A Close Look At Hypothyroidism

What is hypothyroidism?

A thyroid gland is an important endocrine gland that controls the body’s metabolism. It is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. A thyroid gland produces the hormones such as tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough important hormones. Low levels of thyroid hormone interfere with the body’s ability to perform normal metabolic functions such as regulation of many chemical reactions in the body, maintenance of healthy cells, muscles and bones and efficient use of energy from food products. Till now there is no known prevention for hypothyroidism.

Also Read About Hyperthyroidism

Causes of hypothyroidism

The most common causes of hypothyroidism are:-

Surgical removal of the thyroid: – A surgical procedure performed to remove the thyroid can lead to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the entire gland is removed.

Autoimmune diseases: – Autoimmune diseases cause the production of antibodies that attacks the thyroid glands.

Radioactive iodine treatment: – This treatment is generally prescribed to patients with the overactive thyroid gland. But the treatment destroys the cells in the thyroid gland which can lead to hypothyroidism.

Pituitary disease: – Pituitary diseases can be damage by stroke, tumor or trauma. As pituitary is the master gland which signals the thyroid about how much hormone is needed to be produced. Pituitary disease can damage the thyroid to stop making thyroid hormone.

Infiltration: – Diseases like amyloidosis can cause the thyroid to become overwhelmed by abnormal proteins where the cells cannot function normally which leads to hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

Generally, there are no early symptoms of hypothyroidism. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to heart disease, infertility, joint pain and obesity. There are some other common symptoms such as:-

  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Hoarseness
  • Heavy menstrual flow in women.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Unexplained weight gain.
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in the joints
  • Brittle hair and nails.
  • Thickened skin.
  • Fatigue
  • Puffiness in the face, hands, and feet.
  • Depression
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level

Treatment for hypothyroidism

There is no known prevention or cure for hypothyroidism. A standard treatment for hypothyroidism involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine. This oral medication restores adequate hormone levels which reverses the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.


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