Introduction, Causes, and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Introduction of Hypothyroidism
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, just beneath the Adam’s apple and below the voice box (called as larynx). The gland helps to regulate the body’s metabolism. Metabolism is nothing but a process in which, foods are transformed into basic elements that can easily be utilized by the body to produce energy and to promote growth.
Hypothyroidism is defined as any state wherein the thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone less than it is required. There are many disorders that can cause the hypothyroidism. Such disorders can directly or indirectly involve the thyroid gland. Since the thyroid hormone is closely related with metabolism, growth and development cells, insufficient thyroid hormone levels highly affects bodily systems.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a very common condition that occurs to the both; males and females. It is reported that about 3%-5% of the population has some form of hypothyroidism. The condition is more common in women and its incidence increases as the age gets advanced.
There are some commonest causes of hypothyroidism. Those include Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Another cause includes Lymphocytic Thyroiditis after hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism can also be caused due to any damage to the thyroid gland for any reason such as radioactive iodine or surgery. Pituitary or hypothalamic disease can also give raise to hypothyroidism.
There are some medications that can also make thyroid gland sluggish and to produce less hormones. Excessive iodine deficiency is another commonest cause that can lead to hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are generally subtle and are easily misunderstood. This is the reason, many times; hypothyroidism goes without any notification unless it shows its great presence in the body. The symptoms are often attributed to aging and patients with mild hypothyroidism can have no signs or symptoms. The symptoms start appearing once they cross their limit. In other words, when they turn from subtle to markedly noticeable, they appear.
Majority of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are related to metabolism some of the most common symptoms for the condition is listed below:
- Modest weight gain
- Dryness of the skin
- Excessive sleepiness
- Dry and/or coarse hair
- Increased cholesterol levels in the bloodstream
- Decreased ability to concentrate on one particular subject or daily routine
- Intolerance to the cold environment
- Vague aches and pains
- Swelling of the legs with least sensation at terminal part of the body such as fingertips
As the disease progresses, each of those symptom will progress too. There might be puffiness of the face especially around the eyes along with the decreased heartbeats. There might be drop in the body temperature and body may turn cool to touch. In its peak, severe hypothyroidism can lead to life-threatening conditions such as coma (medically known as myxedema coma) that needs immediate hospitalization and intensive care.
Read more about Hypothyroidism during pregnancy
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