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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Hypothyroidism

Many glands in your body secrete hormones which regulate various aspects of your health. The thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck produces a very important hormone called thyroxine.

This hormone controls your metabolism, development and growth. Any disturbance in its production directly impacts your health. As a fact, more than a million people every year suffer from the uneven production of the thyroxine hormone by the thyroid gland.

The condition of hypothyroidism arises when the thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient quantities of thyroxin. People usually overlook this condition as it’s symptoms are not noticeable in the earlier stages. It makes them ignore the presence of this disorder and later on regret it.

What Are Hypothyroidism Causes?

A number of factors can contribute to the development of this disease. They are:

  1. Autoimmune diseases

  2. Reaction to hyperthyroidism treatment

  3. Medications

  4. After effect of surgery or therapy

  5. Deficiency of iodine

1.   Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune disease

A patient with a doctor, Credit: Pixabay

Autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of this disorder. Autoimmune diseases are those diseases in which your immune system attacks itself. A combination of your genetics and environment can trigger this disease and consequently cause your thyroid gland to become underactive.

2.   Reaction to Hyperthyroidism Treatment

Hypothyroidism treatment

A person undergoing medical check-up, Credit: Pixabay

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland starts producing excess amounts of thyroxine. Its treatment involves anti-thyroid medications. These medications lower the amount of thyroid hormone and bring it under control. Sometimes, it can result in reducing thyroid production to a great extent, leading to hypothyroidism.

3.   Medications

Lithium medicine

Lithium medicine, Credit: Pixabay

Medications like lithium which is used to treat psychiatric disorders, can negatively affect your thyroid gland. It can result in hypothyroidism. Hence, it is essential to discuss with your doctor about the potential effects of this medication if it is prescribed to you.

4.   After Effect of Surgery or Therapy

Hyperthyroid surgery after effect

A patient with doctors, Credit: Pixabay

Thyroid surgery involves removing a big portion of the thyroid gland. Sometimes it can minimize the production of the thyroxine and cause you to develop hypothyroidism. Radiation therapy that is used as a treatment for various types of cancer can also interfere with the functioning of this gland.

5.   Deficiency of Iodine

Iodine deficiency

A tablespoon of salt, Credit: Pixabay

One of the essential minerals, for optimal production of the thyroid hormones, is iodine. It is found in salt that is iodised. Many people eliminate salt from their diet. It disturbs the functioning of the thyroid gland. The absence of this mineral causes the thyroid gland to become underactive.

What Are Hypothyroidism Symptoms?

hypothyroidism weight loss

An exhausted person, Credit: Pixabay

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism consists of the following:

  1. Exhaustion

  2. Constipation

  3. Dry skin

  4. Hoarse voice

  5. Increased cholesterol levels

  6. Mood swings and depression

  7. Unexpected weight gain

  8. Brittle hair

  9. Memory problems

  10. Weakness in muscles and joints

What Is the Treatment for Hypothyroidism?

The most common treatment of this condition involves oral administration of the hypothyroidism medication. Synthetic thyroid hormone called Levothyroxine is given to enable the thyroid gland to restore the normal thyroxine levels in the body. After taking this medication, you should go for regular checkups to ensure that your thyroid gland is working properly.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Hypothyroidism?

hypothyroidism diet

Fruits and vegetables illustration, Credit: Pixabay

You can prevent yourself from developing this condition through the following measures:

  1. Consume nutritious food. Hypothyroidism diet involves maintaining adequate iodine levels in your diet. Use iodised salt and ensure that your diet is filled with all the crucial vitamins and minerals.

  2. A gluten free diet may help prevent autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. You should eat a gluten free diet only after consulting with your doctor. Addition of lots of fruits and vegetables will also aid in your optimal health.

  3. Maintain a proper body weight. Don’t consume too many calories. This condition slows down your body’s metabolism. Hypothyroidism weight loss involves consuming a diet which gives you fewer calories than you burn.

Don’t overlook the symptoms of hypothyroidism as it is becoming prevalent at an alarming rate. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and seek the help of a doctor if you experience any complication.

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