What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a term used to describe the underactive thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism is a common disorder that occurs in individuals when their thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone.
Located in the lower part of the neck, the thyroid gland secretes a hormone which travels through the bloodstream and influences protein synthesis and the metabolic rate. These hormones also play a major role in the development of an individual.
What Causes Hypothyroidism?
As per thyroid specialists in Delhi NCR, although hypothyroidism happens due to the inadequate functioning of the thyroid gland, there are various underlying causes leading to it. Included among these are –
Autoimmune diseases – Autoimmune diseases are ailments that occur due to an abnormal immune response, wherein the antibodies produced by the immune system begin attacking the body cells and tissues. Hypothyroidism is a common occurrence in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a chronic autoimmune ailment. The reason behind this disease is regarded to be a combination of environmental and genetic factors. The thyroid gland in this disease becomes large, lobulated, and firm.
Thyroid surgery – The removal of a big part of the thyroid gland or the complete gland itself messes up with the production of thyroid hormone, leading to hypothyroidism. Patients undergoing such a surgery may require taking thyroid hormones their entire lives.
Hyperthyroidism treatment – Patients of hyperthyroidism (wherein the thyroid gland produces excessive thyroid hormone) resort to treatment options such as anti-thyroid medicines or radioactive iodine to minimize or standardize the functioning of their thyroid glands. In certain cases, the treatment for hyperthyroidism can lead to a permanent case of hypothyroidism.
Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy is used to treat chronic ailments such as lymphoma and cancers. However, this treatment method affects the thyroid gland and damages the cells in it, oftentimes leading to a case of hypothyroidism.
Medications – Certain medications, such as those used for treating psychiatric issues, heart problems, and cancers, also contribute to hypothyroidism. Included among these medications are lithium, amiodarone, interferon alpha, etc.
Pituitary disorders – The output of the thyroid hormone is regulated by the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which is secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. So, a disorder that can disrupt the normal functioning and production of this hormone is also a cause for hypothyroidism.
Postpartum thyroiditis – This term refers to an inflamed thyroid in women post pregnancy. Women suffering from this ailment face a sudden increase in the level of thyroid hormones produced in their bodies followed by a certain fall. The reasons behind the occurrence of this issue are not clear and most women regain their normal thyroid functions soon.
Congenital disease – An improperly developed or improperly functioning thyroid gland, since birth, is also one of the reasons behind hypothyroidism. These children, despite their thyroid gland disorder, appear normal at birth. Hence, it is important to get a child screened for thyroid disorders at the time of birth for better addressing the issue.
Iodine deficiency – Iodine is a mineral that is essential for the production of the thyroid hormone. Found majorly in seafood, dairy products, eggs, and plants nurtured in iodine-rich soil, iodine is not produced by the human body, which is why it needs to be consumed externally. A deficiency of iodine in the body is one of the common causes of hypothyroidism too.
Who Are At Risk?
As per thyroid doctors in Delhi, hypothyroidism is a condition that can affect anyone. However, there are certain individuals who are more likely to suffer from this thyroid disorder than others. Among these individuals are –
Signs And Symptoms
Experts offering thyroid treatments in Delhi point out that the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary from patient to patient, depending mostly on the severity of the deficiency of the hormone. Initially, these symptoms are not very noticeable and are generally attributed to increasing age. It is when the metabolism gets slower that various symptoms become more obvious.
Among these signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are –
Thyroid doctors in Delhi bring to note that lack of proper treatment and care can worsen the signs and symptoms of this disease.
Complications Of Hypothyroidism
Experts further disclose some common complications of hypothyroidism as seen in patients coming for thyroid treatments in Delhi. A few of these include –
Goitre – This is a condition that develops in hypothyroidism patients because of constant stimulation of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is said to be a common cause behind this ailment.
Mental health issues – Slackening thought process, forgetfulness, and depression are certain mental problems that can be seen in hypothyroidism patients. These issues get more intense when hypothyroidism is left untreated.
Heart problems – Hypothyroidism is often associated with heart diseases. Patients suffering from the prior get exposed to risks of heart diseases.
Thyroid doctors in Delhi explain that an underactive thyroid often leads to high levels of bad cholesterol or lipoprotein cholesterol in the body.
Birth Defects – Babies born to women suffering from hypothyroidism run the risk of developing birth defects. Chronic issues related to intellectual and developmental growth is a major among these defects. However, if diagnosed within the first few months of birth, these defects can also be successfully treated.
Myxedema is a term used to explain an advanced form of hypothyroidism. Patients contract this ailment when their hypothyroidism is left untreated for a long time. Drowsiness, intense intolerance towards cold, lethargy, etc. are a few symptoms of this ailment. Myxedema, although rare in occurrence, can be fatal.
It is, therefore, important that people who show signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism seek expert help and get themselves treated for this disease in time.