One of the most important glands in the human body is called the thyroid gland. Shaped like a butterfly and located right under the Adam’s apple on the neck, this gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormones. When this gland fails to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone needed by the body, a condition called hypothyroidism occurs.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a common disorder affecting the thyroid gland. This is a health condition where the thyroid gland produces an abnormally low amount of thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones are essential for the normal functioning of the body. They play a vital role in many body processes, including growth and development, metabolism, mental development, and many other cellular processes. Once the required amount of thyroid hormones are not produced by the thyroid gland, a number of unpleasant consequences may take effect in the body.
What are the Possible Results or Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism may result to a number of abnormality in the body processes. If left untreated, it may result to a number of health problems. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism that may be noticeable in individuals having this disorder include the following:
- loss of appetite
- thinning hair
- slight weight gain. Although the disorder may cause weight gain, this may not be a cause of obesity in many people.
- difficulty in losing weight
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- fluid retention which may lead to swelling or puffiness of the face, eyes, hands, limbs, feet, and ankles
- worse menstrual cramps
- slow heart rate
- declining memory
- cold intolerance
- coarse and brittle hair
- drier skin
- lack of energy and/or fatigue
- hoarse voice
- loss of hearing
- increased levels of cholesterol
These are only some of the many problems that may be experienced by people suffering from hypothyroidism. There are still quite a number of health conditions that may result from the disorder. These symptoms, though, may also be signs of other forms of diseases. Therefore, it is proper to seek the help of a specialist once any of these symptoms are noticed. The physician will make proper examinations and diagnosis on whether the symptoms noticed are signs of hypothyroidism or not.
What Are the Causes of Hypothyroidism?
There are a number of factors that may be responsible for the occurrence of hypothyroidism in people. The most common cause of this disease is attributable to problems occurring in the thyroid gland. Other factors that may lead to this disorder include the following:
- problem in the brain and/or pituitary gland or hypothalamic disease
- pituitary damage or injury
- autoimmune diseases
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- subacute thyroiditis
- surgical treatment of thyroid tumors
- postpartum thyroiditis
- certain types of medicines
- not enough or too much iodine
- disorders affecting the thyroid gland
- lymphocytic thyroiditis
- congenital problems concerning the placement of the thyroid in newborn babies
Who Is At Risk of Hypothyroidism?
All people are at risk of hypothyroidism. This disorder can affect people regardless of age, gender, and walk of life. It affects people from around the world. Women, though, may be more prone to having this disease than men. Asians and people from the white races also have higher risks of contracting this disorder.
Factors that may likely put people more at risk of this disorder include the following:
- heredity: Hypothyroidism may be in the genes of some people.
- old age. Older people have higher chances of getting this disorder.
- automimmune disorder
- bipolar disease
- Turner’s syndrome or Down’s syndrome
- giving birth
People who suspect they have thyroidism must consult their doctors as soon as possible before the disorder has reached to a higher level. Early detection and treatment of this disease may prevent people from suffering any of the symptoms and complications of this illness.