Hypothyroidism occurs when inadequate levels of thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland. This condition has affected many people throughout the world and some of them are unconscious about the situation.
The thyroid gland is located in the neck, below the thyroid cartilage. It is responsible for producing thyroid hormones essential to the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and food conversion to energy. Hypothyroidism is common among women especially those who are pregnant.
In order to diagnose the presence of hypothyroidism, blood test is recommended that will measure the levels of the body’s thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), T3, and T4. The cause can only be determined from antibody screening tests and thyroid examinations.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism may vary. It includes allergies, heart palpitations, stinging feeling of breasts, nausea, digestive problems, hair loss, fatigue, depression, weight gain, menstrual problems, emotional instability and many more.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
- Hashimoto’s disease – This condition involves the destruction of the thyroid gland by the immune system cells. Inflammation of the gland causes hypothyroidism.
- Thyroiditis – This is the swelling of the thyroid gland. Thyroid cells are destroyed causing inability of the gland to produce enough hormones.
- Treatment for hyperthyroidism – Too much treatment of radioactive iodine and anti-thyroid medications can be excessive causing hypothyroidism.
- Surgery of the thyroid gland – Removing a big part of the thyroid gland can affect the hormones produced by it; thus, diminishing the levels of thyroid hormones.
- Pituitary disease – This is a disorder of the pituitary gland. This gland might fail to produce thyroid stimulating hormone controlling the production of T3 and T4 hormones from the thyroid gland.
- Deficiency in Iodine – Minimal amount of Iodine in the body can lessen the hormone production of the thyroid gland. Intake of sea foods, seaweeds, and iodized salt is suggested to have an adequate amount of Iodine in the body.
- Radiation therapy – Cancer patients has a greater risk of having hypothyroidism because of radiation treatments in the upper area of the body that can affect the thyroid gland.
- Intake of medications – Some medications can lower the levels of thyroid hormones especially with the consumption of Lithium, mostly used in psychiatric patients.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism
Treatment depends on the person’s condition. The most common method is taking a synthetic thyroid hormone medicine. TSH levels in the body are checked before treatment takes place. The right dosage is appropriate to eliminate side effects like heart palpitations and insomnia. Monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and TSH is done every six weeks.
Natural medications are also available for a person who doesn’t want to experience side effects from taking prescription drugs.
Educating yourself about the condition contributes a lot on how you can regain a healthy lifestyle. Support systems like your family, friends, doctor, and therapist is essential in helping you manage your condition. Eat a balanced diet that includes fish and iodine rich food. Some vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, spinach, turnip, and cauliflower blocks thyroid hormones. Prevent eating them as much as possible. Take regular exercises and medications regularly. Massaging your thyroid gland is also beneficial to increase thyroid function. Lastly, don’t forget to monitor your thyroid hormone level and visit your doctor frequently.