The thyroid gland is placed in the front center of the neck, between the trachea and the larynx. It is the organ that produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), and calcitonin. The thyroid requires iodine from the diet and the environment to manufacture it. The pituitary gland produces the hormone TSH, which regulates thyroid function.
learn more What are the risks of untreated hypothyroidism (Thyroid) ?
Hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism) is a group of symptoms caused by a thyroid gland hormone production. Women are more commonly affected; hypothyroidism is predicted to affect 5% of women and 1% of men. 1-6% of patients are under the age of 60, and the frequency increases with age.
Thyroid hormones affect many different processes and organs throughout the body, including:
- energy use,
- muscular strength,
- fertility and potency,
- heart work,
- the functioning of the nervous system,
- mental well-being,
- condition of skin, hair and nails.
Thyroid hormone insufficiency thus has a negative impact on several bodily systems. Adults and children alike can become ill.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by a number of factors. They might be primary (induced by thyroid gland injury) or secondary (resulting from abnormalities in the functioning of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus):
Primary causes of hypothyroidism are:
- Hashimoto’s disease, otherwise chronic autoimmune thyroiditis,
- postpartum thyroiditis,
- radioiodine treatment,
- neck radiotherapy,
- significant iodine deficiency,
- the use of certain medications (so-called drug-induced hypothyroidism), e.g. lithium salts, interferon, amiodarone,
- surgical removal of the thyroid gland,
- damage to the thyroid gland as a result of a disease, e.g. cancer,
- congenital hypothyroidism.
Causes of secondary hypothyroidism include
- hypothalamic or pituitary tumors,
- injury or inflammation in the hypothalamus or pituitary gland,
- Sheehan’s syndrome
- neurological disorders in which there is a deficiency of nerve impulses that stimulate the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to produce thyroid hormones.
It should be added that iodine deficiency is an increasingly rare cause of the development of hypothyroidism, because iodine deficiencies in the diet are less frequent than in the past.
The main symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- constant fatigue – inadequate to the effort,
- drowsiness that does not go away despite drinking coffee or energy drinks,
- problems with concentration and memory , and even memory loss or intellectual disorders that resemble dementia,
- muscle weakness,
- chronic constipation ,
- mood swings – especially despondency, indifference, depression , apathy,
- feeling cold – even when he is warmly dressed or in heated rooms,
- decreased sweating,
- swelling of the face, eyelids, hands, resulting from the accumulation of mucous substance in the intercellular spaces (myxoedema),
- pain, redness and burning of the eyes – the symptoms often resemble conjunctivitis,
- decrease in immunity – the result is frequent infections,
- problems with getting pregnant or carrying it to term,
- easy bruising,
- tingling and numbness of the hands,
- hair loss, paleness and dry skin.
Treatment of hypothyroidism
The oral administration of synthetic hormones is used to treat hypothyroidism. The treatment consists of taking levothyroxine, a medicine that is believed to compensate for a lack of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Endocrinologists typically start youngsters on large doses. Individual dosages of the hormone are determined in adults. Levothyroxine is taken on an empty stomach every morning. Then you should not eat for 30-60 minutes.
Thyroid medications are frequently prescribed for life. Thankfully, the therapy produces positive results: most of the symptoms of hypothyroidism disappear, and there are no side effects. The treatment of hypothyroidism is highly effective. Many symptoms vanish in a matter of minutes.
Regrettably, some people continue to have symptoms of the condition despite treatment. It is critical to maintain good health in order for therapy to be effective. TSH and, in some situations, T4 levels should be checked on a regular basis, as directed by your doctor.