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Hypothyroidism- symptoms and causes

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Let's know a little more about hypothyroidism, its symptoms and causes.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism may vary a lot based on the severity of the hormone deficiency. However, the problem is that you encounter generally happen over several years. Initially, you may not notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism which include weight gain and fatigue. Many people feel that these are the problems associated with getting older. If the problem continues for some more time, you may develop more obvious signs and symptoms. Such obvious signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include-

  • Fatigue
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • weight gain
  • more sensitivity to cold
  • puffy face
  • muscle weakness
  • hoarseness
  • high blood cholesterol levels
  • heavier than normal menstrual periods
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • muscle aches, stiffness and tenderness
  • stiffness, pain or swelling in the joints
  • thinning hair
  • impaired memory
  • depression
  • reduced heart rate

If the problem is not treated, signs and symptoms can become worse. If there is a constant stimulation of the thyroid gland for release of more hormones, it may result in an enlarged thyroid, which is also called as goiter. If it continues, your thought process may become slow, you may be more forgetful and the feeling of depression may set in.

Advanced hypothyroidism is known as myxedema. Even though it is rare, but if it occurs, it can be life threatening. Symptoms of such a condition include decreased breathing, low blood pressure, reduce body temperature, and responsiveness and even coma. It can be fractal in extreme circumstances.

Causes

If your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, the balance of hormones will not be there any more and as a result of that chemical reactions in your body may be upset. There may be several causes of hypothyroidism. Autoimmune disease, treatment for hyperthyroidism, thyroid surgery, radiation therapy and use of certain medicines may result in hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid glands cannot produce enough hormones. The following are the major causes of this condition-

Autoimmune disease

Some people may suffer from a specific inflammatory disorder called as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is known as the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Such autoimmune disorders happen if the immune system produces antibodies that can attack your own tissues. Such autoimmune disorders may happen because of many different reasons. If such an autoimmune disease happens, the antibodies produced will affect your thyroid’s ability to produce hormones.

Treatment for hyperthyroidism

Because of the treatment for hyperthyroidism, sometimes people may suffer from hypothyroidism. If your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, this is a condition known as hyperthyroidism and it is generally treated with the help of radioactive iodine or antithyroid medicines. In some patients, treatment of hyperthyroidism may result in reduced production of thyroid hormone or hypothyroidism.

Thyroid surgery

Another important cause of hypothyroidism is thyroid surgery. If a portion of the thyroid gland or complete thyroid gland is removed from the body, it can reduce or completely stop hormone production. In such a condition, the patient will have to use thyroid hormone for life.

Medicines

Use of some medicines may result in hypothyroidism. There are several such medicines which can cause it stop one such medicine is lithium which is generally used for treatment of psychiatric disorders. It is important to consult your doctor if you are taking any such medicines and know about the effect on your thyroid gland.

Radiation therapy

Radiation may be used in treatment of cancer of the neck or head may affect your thyroid gland and that can result in hypothyroidism. In some people, this may be a cause of hypothyroidism problem.

References

1. The Hypothyroidism Solution
2. Hypothyroidism: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
3. Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid)

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