Hypothyroidism: what is it, symptoms and treatment
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a pathology that affects 2% of adult women. Although no prominent symptoms are perceived in its initial stage, it is actually an affectation that can trigger health problems, such as being overweight (obesity), infertility, or other ills.
In this post, we will explain what Hypothyroidism is, the most common symptoms, and, of course, the appropriate treatment.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is an illness in which the thyroid gland malfunctions. This causes the production of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) to decrease, affecting the proper functioning of the metabolism.
When this type of “metabolic error” occurs, a greater secretion of TSH is produced to compensate for the lack of production of the thyroid gland, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), and even level them. The problem arises when the thyroid obviously cannot produce the correct levels and, therefore, neuronal, cardiocirculatory, and digestive functions, among others, begin to be affected.
The thyroid is a small gland that is shaped like a butterfly. It is located in the neck, right in the front, below Adam’s apple. This gland affects growth, body temperature, and other vital functions.
Hypothyroidism (low hormone production) develops when it does not perform its function correctly, producing the proper hormone levels, and then Hypothyroidism (low hormone production) develops. When hormones are very high, quite the opposite, then we speak of hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The symptomatology of Hypothyroidism occurs in a progressive and sustained way. It can be confused with common problems related to ageing. In many cases, it can take many years. Therefore, in the early stage of the disease, the symptoms may be almost invisible to the patient.
Next, we will indicate some of the most outstanding symptoms.
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Sensitivity to cold (frigid character)
- Dry and brittle skin and hair
- Weight gain (obesity)
- Muscular weakness
- brittle nails
- Low mental concentration and even decreased memory.
- Excessive sleepiness.
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)
Sometimes Hypothyroidism can progress and present some severe symptoms. Of course, this type of clinical picture is not very common.
- Heart failure
- Respiratory insufficiency
- Generalized swelling (myxedema) may occur
- Loss of consciousness or coma
What are the causes of Hypothyroidism?
There is no single cause for decreased production of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Several factors can cause this problem. Below, we will describe around of the most mutual causes.
- Autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a pathology that progressively destroys the thyroid by employing aggressive antibodies. This is the most mutual cause of Hypothyroidism in women. The reasons for this type of antibody development are still being studied.
- Hyperthyroidism treatment. Well, some antithyroid medications or treatments to control this condition excessively decrease the production of T4, which causes Hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite of Hypothyroidism; there is an elevation of hormone production in that affectation.
- Thyroid surgery. Thyroid operations in which part of the thyroid gland is removed cause a decrease in hormones as a side effect. In this case, the specialist may indicate taking medications (thyroid) to replace the function of the thyroid.
- This medical process is undoubtedly aggressive but essential in some types of cancer, such as the neck or head. Unfortunately, it can affect the functioning of the thyroid.
Other causes can cause Hypothyroidism. However, they are not as common, such as congenital disease, pregnancy, and iodine deficiency.
Who can get Hypothyroidism? Risk factor’s
Anyone can suffer from Hypothyroidism, even children. In fact, in the latter case, timely treatment is vital so that it does not affect their physical or mental development.
According to global statistics, there is a higher incidence of Hypothyroidism in women. Similarly, certain risk factors should know.
- It is usually more common among people between 40 and 50 years old. However, the risk increases with age.
- Women are at a higher risk of developing this disease.
- Family background. If there are patients with this disease in the family circle, the risk of developing it increases.
- Patients with autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes are at increased risk.
- Partial thyroidectomy surgery.
How Hypothyroidism cured? Treatment
The treatment of Hypothyroidism must be prescribed by a qualified doctor who weighs the severity of the condition. However, we can point out that the cure for Hypothyroidism consists of increasing the production of hormones. Synthetic thyroxine (T4) is prescribed since the body cannot produce it naturally.
Of course, this type of treatment requires medical supervision, and It is necessary to attend the office every two months to check the level of hormones and TSH.
However, the specialist may indicate appointments with more ample spaces. But, in the initial part of the treatment, extensive communication between patient and doctor required.
Should note that the determination of the appropriate dose may take some time. Therefore, it is imperative to report side effects so that the specialist can make adjustments.
What is the life expectancy of a patient with Hypothyroidism?
With proper treatment, hypothyroid patients will be able to lead a good quality of life without any restrictions.
The situation changes completely if the medical recommendations not followed, or you do not go to the consultations in the scheduled appointments. If the disease not controlled, the body will begin to experience cardiovascular discomfort and may even develop severe long-term complications.
In conclusion, Hypothyroidism is a silent disease, but it is not severe. Moreover, with proper treatment, you can enjoy a good quality of life.