Hypothyroidism: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Hypothyroidism symptoms

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located at the back of the neck to release metabolism-regulating hormones that affect how to body will function and how the energy must be used. Due to certain underlying health conditions and autoimmune diseases, the thyroid glands cannot produce enough hormones and it leads to a condition called hypothyroidism. But even if you have been diagnosed with the condition recently, there is nothing to worry about because supplements and medications can easily bring your body’s function back to normal. The hormonal medicines will replace what your body is not producing naturally and will regularize your bodily functions.

Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism

There are many signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism that patients complain about and it is not the same for everyone. The severity of the signs of hypothyroidism depends if you have a mild or moderate condition. With no treatment, the symptoms start developing gradually over the years. Since the symptoms are very vague, you will hardly know that you have hypothyroidism. Here are some obvious signs and symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Brittle nails
  • Pale and dry skin
  • Puffy and sensitive skin
  • Thinning hair
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Weakness/pain in muscles and joints
  • Slow heart rate
  • Weight gain
  • Weakened memory
  • Fertility issues
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle

Hypothyroidism in infants’, children and teens

Affecting the middle-aged and older women, hypothyroidism is often called a disease of the elderly. But infants can have hypothyroidism too. Some babies are born without a thyroid gland or have an underdeveloped thyroid gland that does not function properly. This is when newborns are diagnosed with hypothyroidism and have the following symptoms like –

  • Jaundice
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Protruding tongue
  • Crying with a hoarse voice
  • An umbilical hernia

As they grow with age, the disease progression leads to stunted growth, poor brain development, constipation, and excessive sleepiness. If hypothyroidism in babies is not treated at the right age, it can lead to physical and mental retardation.

Hypothyroidism can also affect children and teenagers and they have the same symptoms as adults do except that they also experience:

  • Delayed development of permanent teeth
  • Poor growth and mental development
  • Delayed puberty

Causes of hypothyroidism

If the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough thyroid glands, it leads to hypothyroidism but there are many factors that lead to this:

  • Auto-immune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Hyperthyroidism treatment that permanently leads to hypothyroidism
  • Thyroid Surgery that diminishes hormone production
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medications to treat psychiatric disorders
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Pituitary gland disorder
  • Congenital hypothyroidism where newborn inherit this disorder from their mother

Risk factors of hypothyroidism

Anyone can develop hypothyroidism but you are at risk if:

  • You are a woman above 60 years
  • You have a family history of thyroid disease
  • You have auto-immune diseases like celiac disease or type 1 diabetes
  • You have received radiation to treat cancer of the neck or upper chest
  • You had thyroid surgery
  • You have been pregnant or delivered a baby in the past six months

Treatment of hypothyroidism

Medical evaluations and blood tests are a reliable way to diagnose hypothyroidism. There are hormonal medications to treat the symptoms of hypothyroidism and make you feel better.

Besides medications, natural treatments like yoga, meditation, vitamins, and special diet also help. Talk to a doctor if you notice any symptoms and get treated for a better quality of life.

Also, Read:

Common signs and symptoms of Menopause


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