Hypothyroidism: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland works too slowly and therefore produces too few hormones. It can be caused by all kinds of causes and has major consequences for your body, with extreme fatigue being the most noticeable. The doctor can prescribe medications, thyroxine pills. It may take some time to achieve the ideal balance of the amount required. Without drug treatment, organ damage will occur and ultimately lead to death.

What does the thyroid do?

The thyroid gland is quite inconspicuous, but produces very important hormones. The thyroid hormones play a major role in the body’s metabolism and thus influence all cells and organs and regulate your temperature, weight and growth.

Possible causes Hypothyroidism

  • Infection
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Congenital defect

And can also occur as a result of medical treatment if;

  • Radiation to the neck or disease elsewhere in the body
  • Medication use
  • Radioactive iodine
  • An operation

Symptoms Hypothyroidism

Complaints often arise slowly and go unrecognized for a long time. The symptoms keep getting worse.

  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Loss of concentration
  • Weight gain
  • Forgetfulness
  • Blockage
  • Tingling hands
  • Hair loss
  • Crumbling nails
  • Dry and cold skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart complaints
  • Insomnia
  • Lethargy
  • Feeling depressed
  • Heavy or absent menstruation
  • Low and hoarse voice
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Deterioration of eyes and ears
  • Muscle and joint pain

Treating hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can be treated with the drug thyroxine. This is a synthetic hormone that replaces the missing T4 in the body. The dose is increased slowly but surely until the right balance is achieved.

Organ damage due to hypothyroidism

Because it often takes a long time before the diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made, many organs can be damaged. They can often recover if the missing thyroid hormone is taken, but this recovery can take a long time. If it has taken a very long time before the diagnosis is made, your heart may remain permanently damaged.

Possible complications of hypothyroidism

If you have hypothyroidism, you can also develop other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatism and diabetes. As you get older, the functioning of the thyroid gland can decrease and in women the functioning of the thyroid gland can be influenced by puberty and menopause.

Diseases that affect thyroid function

  • De Quervain’s disease ; this is a viral infection of the thyroid gland that leads to a sore throat and a swollen and painful thyroid gland. Due to the infection, the thyroid gland often produces too much thyroid hormone for a short time and then too little. The disease usually goes away on its own.
  • Hashimoto’s disease ; This is an autoimmune disease and is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism. Your body makes antibodies against your own thyroid gland. The disease is ten times more common in women than in men.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hypothyroidism

1. What is hypothyroidism?

Answer: Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland, which fails to produce enough thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are essential for regulating metabolism, growth, and development in the body.

2. What causes hypothyroidism?

Answer: Hypothyroidism can be caused by various factors, including autoimmune diseases (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), radiation therapy, certain medications, congenital thyroid problems, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, or damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, which control thyroid hormone production.

3. What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

Answer: Symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary, but common signs may include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, dry skin, constipation, muscle weakness, depression, memory problems, and menstrual irregularities. In severe cases, it can lead to a condition called myxedema, characterized by swelling, decreased body temperature, and low blood pressure.

4. How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?

Answer: Hypothyroidism is typically diagnosed through blood tests that measure the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones (such as T4 and T3). Elevated TSH levels and low levels of T4 indicate an underactive thyroid gland.

5. How is hypothyroidism treated?

Answer: Hypothyroidism is commonly treated with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy. The most commonly prescribed medication is levothyroxine, which is taken orally to supplement the deficient thyroid hormones. Regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels is necessary to ensure appropriate dosage adjustments.

6. Can hypothyroidism be cured?

Answer: In most cases, hypothyroidism is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing treatment with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. The underlying causes, such as autoimmune diseases, cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be effectively managed with medication.

7. Are there any lifestyle changes that can help manage hypothyroidism?

Answer: While medication is the primary treatment for hypothyroidism, certain lifestyle changes may help manage the condition more effectively. These include maintaining a balanced diet, ensuring adequate intake of iodine (a nutrient essential for thyroid hormone production), regular exercise, stress management, and avoiding smoking.

8. Can hypothyroidism lead to complications?

Answer: If left untreated or poorly managed, hypothyroidism can lead to various complications, including heart problems, high cholesterol levels, infertility, birth defects (in pregnant women with untreated hypothyroidism), and a potentially life-threatening condition called myxedema coma.

9. Can hypothyroidism be prevented?

Answer: In most cases, the development of hypothyroidism cannot be prevented. However, early detection and treatment can help prevent complications and effectively manage the condition.

These are some common questions about hypothyroidism. If you have any further inquiries or need more detailed information, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional or seek guidance from experts in endocrinology or thyroid disorders.