Hypothyroidism Symptoms: What is hypothyroidism? Know the symptoms, causes, and treatment procedure |

Hypothyroidism Symptoms: What is hypothyroidism? Know the symptoms, causes, and treatment procedure |


Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces less of the thyroid hormones. We all have a gland, which is located in front of the neck, and it’s shaped like a butterfly it is present in the neck, just wrapped around the windpipe, which is known as the trachea. This thyroid gland produces three important hormones called T4 T3 and calcitonin.When the thyroid gland is not doing its job well, which means it is not producing enough of T4 and T3. This is known as hypothyroidism which means the thyroid is functioning sub-optimally. How do we diagnose this we do a test called TSH and 3T four level.

The thyroid-stimulating hormone

The TSH is a hormone called Thyroid stimulating hormone which is produced by a gland called the pituitary gland in the brain. Now TSH controls the production of thyroid hormone. It tells the thyroid how much T3 and T4 to make. So if TSH levels are high, this means the thyroid is not functioning well and in response to that, the pituitary gland now produces more TSH. So in a typical condition where someone has hypothyroidism, TSH levels are high and T4 levels are less.

Symptoms to know

Hypothyroidism many times actually may not have any symptoms in the beginning. We must do an annual checkup and check for thyroid and more so when a woman is pregnant, thyroid testing is mandatory, but hypothyroidism typically can cause tiredness, feeling weak, fatigue, Constipation, sometimes dry skin, depression, thinning hair, brittle nails. The person feels very cold and she may have muscle cramps, joint pains, and many times unexplained weight gain. Hypothyroidism in women typically disturbs the period it can cause, irregular periods, can cause heavy periods, sometimes even, longer periods, and it can also cause early puberty in young children.

What are the causes?

In most cases, hypothyroidism is autoimmune which means that the body’s immune cells attack the thyroid gland and they prevent it from doing its job well. The most common example is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Iodine is something that is required by our thyroid gland to produce these hormones. Many times it causes iodine deficiency that may also cause hypothyroidism and of course genetics, family history, environmental toxins, supposing somebody has undergone some surgery or radiation treatment for the thyroid, you know cancer of the thyroid, certain medications also can affect the thyroid. It’s important if somebody is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, they must consult a specialist so that we can identify the cause of the hypothyroidism.

Prevention tips

The most important part of prevention is regular testing for the thyroid and treating it. So before we talk about prevention, if somebody is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, they have to treat it by taking a medicine called thyroxine. Remember there is no cure for hypothyroidism, but when we give a medicine, it restores the hormone levels and allows the person to live a normal life and this medicine is levothyroxine. Avoid a diet that has refined sugars, alcohol, trans fats, and processed foods. Avoid taking a lot of goitrogens. Goitrogens are compounds that block the uptake of Iodine in your thyroid gland. So common examples are soya, cruciferous vegetables just as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, you know, turnip, and kale.

They block the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine. I don’t mean to say you should not be eating them. In case you have a family history of thyroid or in case the doctor is saying that you tend to go through a thyroid problem, it is important to avoid all this and you can also, you know, soak these vegetables, boil or steam these vegetables before taking make sure that you reduce gluten in your diet. Make sure that you take enough of supplements like B12, iron, zinc, and Iodine. Make sure that you lose weight. People who are on a higher-weight side have a higher chance of going in for a thyroid problem. Avoid stress exercises and also make sure that you’re sleeping well.
(Author: Dr. Anjali Kumar, Director – Obstetrics and Gynecology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram)

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