Hypothyroidism is caused by inadequate secretion of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland or by the complete loss of its function. It is encountered in women more than men. The condition is usually progressive and irreversible.
What is hypothyroidism?
Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland can't produce enough thyroid hormones to fulfil the body's requirements. The thyroid looks like a butterfly in front of your neck below the voice box (larynx).
The function of the thyroid is to create thyroid hormones released into the bloodstream and carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones support the body's process, which involves energy to keep the body warm and organs (heart, brain, and muscles) to function well. The thyroid mainly produces thyroxine, or T4, as it contains four iodine atoms. Another more potent thyroid hormone containing three iodine atoms, triiodothyronine (T3), is also secreted by the thyroid. However, most of the T3 in the bloodstream is made from T4 by removing an iodine atom in other body tissue. Thyroid hormones assist in controlling in a way that every tissue in your body uses energy. They are required by each cell in your body's tissue and organs to function well. For example, the thyroid hormone controls the body's temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism (the process by which food is turned into energy).
Who can get hypothyroidism?
As mentioned above, hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders. It can affect people irrespective of age, sex, and race. As per research studies, most people with hypothyroidism do not know they have it.
Contributing risk factors for developing hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is comparatively more common in females than in males. The risk of thyroid disease increases during pregnancy, after delivery, and around menopause
Hypothyroidism can occur at any age, but the risk is believed to increase with age
A person may be more likely to develop hypothyroidism in certain situations, including:
Having a blood relative, such as a parent or a grandmother, with an autoimmune disease
Other autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anaemia, celiac disease, vitiligo, and Addison's disease
Having genetic disorders like Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
Having bipolar condition (manic depression)
Taking certain medications such as amiodarone, nivolumab, amiodarone, and lithium
Hypothyroidism causes a variety of symptoms. Many of them are often confused with other health conditions. In low thyroid hormone levels, body cells can't get enough thyroid hormone. This slows down the body's process in a way that the body begins to produce less heat and less energy, causing organs like the brain and bowel to function slowly. As the body process slows down, you may feel colder and tired more often, develop dry skin issues, and become depressed and forgetful. The symptoms usually develop slowly over several months or years. However, some people develop rapidly over a few months.
Symptoms become severe slowly when your thyroid gets low. The mild form of hypothyroidism may cause mild or no symptoms. The severe disease usually gives rise to more severe symptoms. Some people get very sick by the time they know they have hypothyroidism. The only way to ensure you have this thyroid disease is through blood tests.
Common features of hypothyroidism include:
Feeling cold when other people feel warm
Dry, itchy skin
Loss of appetite
New or worsening constipation
Dry, more brittle hair
Muscle cramps and joint aches
More hair loss
A new feeling of pain and needles in the hands and feet
New or worsening hearing loss
Slightly higher blood pressure
Puffiness around the face
Diagnosing hypothyroidism early by testing newborns, pregnant women, and people with symptoms or risk factors is the ideal way to find hypothyroidism and prevent its worsening. Tell your doctor everything you can when you visit him. This includes information about your overall health and family history of thyroid disease, cancer, or surgery.
If you have hypothyroidism, you may develop changes you can't feel. For example, you may not know that cholesterol is accumulating in blood or that plaque build-up is causing the hardening of arteries, which can increase your risk for heart attack. Hypothyroidism not only causes symptoms but also makes other health conditions worse.
Hypothyroidism can't be cured but can be treated, and the symptoms can be fully controlled in most people. It is usually treated by replacing the amount of hormone that your thyroid gland can no longer produce. This makes sure the thyroid levels stay at balanced levels.
Thyroxine pills carry the hormone T4, just like a healthy thyroid makes naturally. Like naturally produced thyroid hormone, each dose of Thyroxine pill is in your bloodstream for about seven days. This lets the hormone levels in your blood stay steady, so a constant supply of hormones is available to your body cells. There is no cure for this thyroid disease, and most people live with it for life. Over time, the symptoms may become more or less severe. As a result, the dose of thyroxine may need to change based on the condition. You should never stop receiving the treatment on your own. If you do, your health may get worse.
Hypothyroidism is a thyroid disease that is one of the commonest chronic among western populations. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, you have an underactive thyroid. People having hypothyroidism do not produce enough thyroid hormone to allow the body to function normally.
Thyroid disease is caused by autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid, and radiation treatment. Low thyroid hormone levels slow down the body's function, resulting in general symptoms such as fatigue, dry skin, memory issues, and energy loss.
A simple blood test can diagnose hypothyroidism for thyroid-stimulating hormone. Treatment, however, is nearly always successful and allows a patient to live a normal life. This thyroid disorder is treated by replacing the missing thyroid hormone with artificial (synthetic) thyroxine tablets, which usually need to be consumed daily for the rest of your life. The daily treatment helps most patients recover completely.
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