Hypothyroidism

Thyroid symptoms treatment

Last Updated April 10th, 2018

Overview of hypothyroidism

Endocrinal disorders are very common in all age groups and ethnic groups throughout the world. The most common form of endocrinal disorder is thyroid disorder. According to the recent statistics documented by American Thyroid Association, around 200 million people worldwide are suffering from some form of thyroid disorder.

Hypothyroidism is the most alarming type of thyroid disorder and is affecting about 4.6% of the population above 12 years of age in the United States alone . All of these arise from structural or functional anomalies of the thyroid gland, which is responsible for generation of hormones that regulate metabolism, body temperature and perform other critical functions. Hypothyroidism or thyroid disorder of any form may lead to thyroid cancers when left undiagnosed for a long time. As per recent epidemiological survey by the American Cancer Society, nearly 62,450 new cases of Thyroid Cancer have been documented in the recent years. Thus hypothyroidism needs urgent attention from health organizations worldwide.

 

Definition of hypothyroidism

hypothyroidismHypothyroidism is the pathological condition in which the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones (TH) insufficient to fulfill the metabolic requirement of the body.

This results from underactivity of the thyroid gland.

Patients suffering from various autoimmune diseases or undergoing radiation therapies are at greater risks of different thyroid diseases.

It may also result from surgical removal of the thyroid gland in case of malignancies. Mainly two types of thyroid hormones are released by the thyroid gland namely- triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4).

These two hormones assist in diverse functions like metabolism, respiration, brain growth, cardiovascular and neurological functions, body temperature regulation, cholesterol management and muscular activities. Due to a shortage of any of the two thyroid hormones, many of the physiological mechanisms of the body are disrupted. Abnormalities in the production of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) precipitate hypothyroidism in most of the cases.

 

Causes of hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is an outcome of abnormally reduced production of the thyroid hormones. This is again precipitated by various factors. The commonly studied causes of the disease are described below-

  • Autoimmune diseases: Under few pathological conditions, the immune system of the body may attack the thyroid gland cells and associated enzymes. The remaining thyroid cells and enzymes are inadequate to produce the required amount of thyroid hormones. This may lead to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or atrophic thyroiditis.
  • Surgery: In few cancer patients, surgical removal of a part or the entire thyroid gland is carried out in order to prevent the spread of cancerous cells. In such cases, the thyroid gland is incapacitated and cannot produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the body’s requirements.
  • Radiotherapy: Patients of Grave’s disease, Thyroid cancer or Nodular Goitre often receive radioactive iodine treatment (I-131). Again, patients suffering from cancers of head and neck region, Hodgkin’s disease or Lymphoma also undergo radiation therapy. These radiations can cause loss of thyroid gland functions.
  • Congenital defect: Some infants have malformed or partially formed thyroid glands from birth. Thyroid glands may be absent at birth or positioned in the wrong place (ectopic thyroid) in few cases. In some other cases, the thyroid cells or enzymes do not function normally. All of these factors may equally contribute to thyroid diseases.
  • Thyroiditis:In this condition, inflammation of the thyroid gland occurs due to autoimmune diseases or viral infections. This causes a burst of the thyroid hormones into the bloodstream all at once, causing a short period of hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism.
  • Medications: A few over-the-counter drugs like interleukin-2, amiodarone, lithium, interferon alpha can disturb the normal mechanism of thyroid hormone production. People having a familial history of hypothyroidism or autoimmune diseases are predisposed to such conditions.
  • Iodine imbalance: Imbalance of iodine in the body (consumed via regular diet) can cause impaired activities of the thyroid gland and trigger overstimulation of the thyroid gland.
  • Pituitary gland dysfunctions: The pituitary gland regulates the hormone production mechanism of the thyroid gland. Dysfunctions of the pituitary gland may be caused by radiotherapies, malignant tumors or surgeries that may induce hypothyroidism.
  • Existing diseases: Certain pre-existing diseases like amyloidosis (protein deposition), sarcoidosis (granuloma) or hemochromatosis (iron deposition) can disrupt thyroid gland functions and cause hypothyroidism.
  • Heredity

Ancestral history of thyroid diseases or any other endocrinal disorder can increase risks of hypothyroidism in the future generations.

 

What are the main warning signs? 

thyroid malfunctionHypothyroidism is marked by a significant slow-down of the normal mechanisms of the body. The visible symptoms are elaborated below-

  • Increased cold sensitivity
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dried up skin with constant itching
  • Forgetfulness and depression
  • Mental instability and frequent mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Dry hair and brittle nails (due degeneration of keratin cells)
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Swollen face
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal weight gain (due to fluid accumulation)
  • Heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Miscarriage
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Joint pain
  • Elevated blood pressure and cholesterol level
  • Impaired growth in children
  • Unusual hoarseness of voice

 

Types of hypothyroidism

Based on the production of thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism can be broadly classified into two categories-

Type 1: In this case, the thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones due to abnormal functioning of TSH hormone.

Type 2: In this condition, the thyroid gland produces required quantities of hormones which cannot be effectively utilized by the body due to some pre-existing diseases.

Another classification of hypothyroidism is discussed below-

Subacute hypothyroidism: It is characterized by inflammation and pain of the thyroid gland due to bacterial or viral infections.

Postpartum hypothyroidism: It is observed after childbirth, though the exact etiology is unknown.

Silent hypothyroidism: It is characterized by an enlarged thyroid gland and is usually not painful. It may develop into permanent hypothyroidism in future.

 

What are diagnostic tests necessary? 

The following diagnostic tests are recommended by endocrinologists-

  • Blood tests (T4 and TSH tests)
  • Thyroid antibody test
  • Ultrasound of thyroid gland
  • Radioiodine scan
  • Thyroid fine needle biopsy

 

Treatment

thyroid symptomsA chronic lack of iodine in the diet or presence of an autoimmune disease might be responsible for the onset of this condition.

The most widespread and effective treatment methodology includes taking hormonal replacement drugs such as synthetic form of T4.

These are in the form of pills, taken daily by the patient, the dosage of which is adjusted according to the needs of each individual patient.

 

Doctors believe that following a thyroid-healthy diet can prove to be quite beneficial in improving thyroid function. In extreme cases, surgical removal of thyroid might be required.

Hypothyroid patients should prefer a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables such as grapefruits, lemons, oranges. Vegetable juices, sprouts, beef liver and kidney are great for keeping your thyroid in check naturally. Include more mushrooms, garlic, onions, and iodine-rich foods such as seafood, eggs, shellfish, and yogurt. While there are no specific preventive measures against hypothyroidism, not smoking and protection from harmful radiations might help in keeping your thyroid gland happy.

The global statistics presented by World Health Organization show that out of 27 million people suffering from thyroid disorders worldwide, the maximum percentage have hypothyroidism. Doctors are recommending healthy lifestyle and dietary habits to prevent possibilities of hypothyroidism or any kind of thyroid problems in future.

 

Facts

  • Women are 10 times more prone to hypothyroidism than men (in iodine-deficient zones).
  • 1 out of every 500 pregnancies is linked with this condition.

Facts

  • Thyroid malfunctioning affects more than 200 million people worldwide.
  • Hypothyroidism is 5-8 times more common than hyperthyroidism.

Facts

  • This condition is largely acquired genetically.
  • Hypothyroidism related with old age generally surfaces after the age of 60.
  • During the 1800s, to treat people with hypothyroidism they were fed with sheep thyroids or its extract.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Hypothyroidism is often a life-long condition. Have your medications on-time and keep getting your thyroid-levels checked regularly.
  • Consume foods which are healthy for your thyroid such as liver, crab, shellfish, almonds, sesame, anti-oxidant rich fruits, and plenty of vegetables.
Don'ts
  •  Consume tobacco and alcohol, as they suppress the working of the thyroid gland.
  • skip on macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats).A low-carb and non-fat diet might be counter-productive to the healthy functioning of your thyroid gland.
  • Consume foods that contain trans-fats.
  • Adjust your thyroid medication dosage by yourself. Always refer to the doctor before starting any medication routine.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing sexual act. Learn…
Clitoris: Why is it called the gateway to toe-curling female orgasms? The word clitoris comes from the Greek word kleitoris or “little hill.”  Many compare the female clitoris to…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How is it linked…
Find the G spot: The top sex positions that guarantee an orgasm There has been a long debate as to whether the G-spot actually exists as a separate organ.  Can…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis pump. It is…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Organic Foods: Is the popularity of pesticide-free food justified? What does the term "organic" really means? And why are organic foods credited as being healthier than normal…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
CBC blood test
CBC blood test CBC blood test refers to the complete blood count test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss. How much should…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Female Masturbation: Tips on how to turn up the heat during a solo mission As a female, do you find yourself constantly wondering as to what is the best way to please…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
Stye : The best natural home remedies to ease the pain Styes developing inside the eyelid tend to be more painful whereas external styes are less painful and ooze…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
Vitamin K2: 8 reasons why you need this bone-building & cancer-fighting nutrient Vitamin K2 is claimed to be essential for your bone health, for reducing the risk of cancer, and…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something as slimy as…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
erectile dysfunction treatment
Erectile Dysfunction: Effective tips to help you get back on charge Erectile dysfunction is a common male sexual dysfunction. Don't stress out. Just follow these amazing tips to get…
Silicon Dioxide: How can a component of sand be essential to your wellbeing? Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the nature. Find out how silicon dioxide can prove…
Trisodium Phosphate: How a paint thinner made its way into your breakfast Ever thought how toxic chemicals find their way into our foods? How can they harm our body? And…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
Spirulina: Battle diabetes and cholesterol with this blue-green algae Spirulina, a species of salt water algae, has now become a billion dollar industry. How you can use…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
Electric toothbrush vs manual toothbrush: Who wins the dental war? Manual brushes are ideal for kids as it is important to start slowly unlike the electric brushes which…
MANUKA HONEY child
Manuka Honey Manuka honey is a specific type of honey produced by honey bees that collect nectar from the flowers…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
How do neutrophils protect you from fatal bacterial attacks? During an infection, certain enzymes alert the mature neutrophils.  Neutrophils then travel through the bloodstream to the affected…
RHABDOMYOLYSIS muscle cramps
The hidden dangers of magnesium deficiency and how you can prevent it Magnesium is an essential mineral for the body.Its deficiency can cause harm to your vital organs. Find out…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
tips for perfect sleep
Stop hitting the snooze button: 8 proven steps to perfect sleep Are you tired of not getting enough sleep? All your efforts for a sound sleep going in vain?…
Amaranth: Why is this native Peruvian grain called the “crop of the future”? Full of healthy high proteins and gluten-free, the grain, Amaranth, the tasty and ancient pseudo cereal from Peru,…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
Aphrodisiacs
Aphrodisiacs: These are the best foods to get you in the right mood While wine and chocolates have forever been associated with romance, there are several other aphrodisiac foods that can…
What is the eustachian tube and how does it help you maintain body balance? Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the three important functions…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in professional circles. But…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Orgasms: How to perfect the art of achieving intense bursts of pleasure (every time!) Orgasms are dependent not just on the sexual activity but on your partner as well. What you must…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
lgbtqia
LGTBQIA : Important pointers for a safe and healthy sex life In the USA alone, the LGBTQIA community accounts for 11 million people. Let us understand what does this…
10 reasons why you should up your selenium intake Selenium, though a trace mineral, is very much integral to your health. Find out how much selenium intake…
What is the average penis size and why should you care? Scientifically speaking, the average size of the penis depends on numerous factors such as genes, environmental circumstances, etc.
V for Vagina: How well do you know this extraordinary part of the female anatomy? Vagina - a simple part of the human anatomy that has often created a feeling of either digust…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and mind.Can a stroll…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You will never believe…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However, how much fluoride…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
Magnesium depression
Citrate or Oxide: Which magnesium supplement is best for your body? Magnesium : Does your DNA require some repair works? Or bones and muscles need some strengthening? Look no…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
Essential oils: Choose the right one based on your need Essential oils can effectively treat the triggers causing migraines and address the root cause of migraines instead of…
PiYo (Pilates + Yoga): Bringing you the best of both the worlds PiYo exercise routine was formulated for people who find it tedious and grueling exercise regimens such as extensive…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…