The thyroid gland produces, stores and releases hormones that regulate your metabolism and controls other activity in your cells. So imagine the scenario if the thyroid doesn't function properly.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which thyroid gland (butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck) does not produce enough hormones. Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of the chemical reactions in the body.
What are the common causes for Hypothyroidism?
Autoimmune diseases: Diseases which occur when immune system of body starts attacking its own cells due to some defect are autoimmune diseases. Myasthenia gravis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis are the examples of autoimmune diseases.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid produces excess of the hormones. Its treatment can sometimes make the thyroid gland underactive causing thyroid hormone levels to drop down leading to hypothyroidism.
Radiation therapy for cancer can sometimes lead to hypothyroidism as can Iodine deficiency.
What are the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism?
- Tiredness, weakness and fatigue.
- Intolerance to cold.
- Dry skin.
- Weight gain.
- Raised cholesterol levels.
- Joint pain and stiffness.
- Irregular periods.
- Impaired or weak memory: Inability to remember bits of information. For example, the inability to recollect where the things are kept or failure to memorize a lesson or poem completely.
What is the treatment of hypothyroidism?
A blood test is needed to confirm the disorder. Barring a few cases, the treatment of hypothyroidism continues over a lifetime. There are medicines to replace the thyroid hormone which is taken as a daily tablet. You will have to go through regular blood tests to detect the levels of thyroid hormones. Your doses will be adjusted by your doctor based on the results of your blood tests.
What are the complications associated with hypothyroidism?
Untreated cases of hypothyroidism may lead to:
- Heart troubles
- Decreased mental abilities
- Peripheral neuropathy: Damage to the nerves that carry information to and from the brain. It can be due to disease or trauma.
- Irregular periods
- Birth defects in babies