Information on Hypothyroidism
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce
enough thyroid hormone.
What are the causes of hypothyroidism?
Some common causes of hypothyroidism are the failure of the pituitary gland
to secrete a hormone called TSH, to stimulate the thyroid gland, congenital birth
defects, surgical removal of the thyroid gland or inflammatory conditions, and iodine
deficiency. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is called Hashimoto’s
thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune disease which develops antibodies against its own
thyroid gland cells. Some other factors that contribute to hypothyroidism includes
female gender, obesity, thyroid surgery, and exposure of the neck to X-ray or radiation.
How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
Hypothyroidism can be detected through a simple blood test. In this blood test,
the doctor will compare your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) level. A low T4 and a
high TSH level indicates hypothyroidism. This is the best and most reliable way .
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
The symptoms of hypothyroidism are: low energy, constant tiredness, depression,
dizziness, weight gain, despite loss of appetite, ankle swelling, anemia, and goiter
(enlarged thyroid). Symptoms of hypothyroidism can range from mild to severe.
Some symptoms may go unnoticed or dismissed for more simpler conditions.
What are the complications from hypothyroidism?
People with hypothyroidism may not have any symptoms at all. In some people,
hypothyroidism can lead to heart disease, increased risk of infection, infertility, and
miscarriage. The most severe complication is myxedema coma, which is a medical
emergency that occurs when the body’s level of thyroid hormones become extremely
low. If not treated with intravenous thyroid hormones and steroid therapy, it can be fatal.
How is hypothyroidism treated?
The most effective treatment for hypothyroidism is thyroid hormone
supplementation. Levothyroxine is the most commonly used medication. Based on a
person’s TSH level, proper dosage is given in the form of a tablet. This medication is
taken throughout a person’s life. Thyroid hormone levels should be checked yearly to
make sure the dosage is the correct amount.
Can hypothyroidism be prevented?
There is no prevention for hypothyroidism; however, screening tests in newborns
can detect congential hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism. ( 2008). Retrieved January 8, 2008, from Endocrine Website:
Hypothyroidism. (2008). Retrieved January 29, 2008, from Health Encyclopedia:
Hypothyroidism.(2008). Retrieved January 30, 2008, from Mayo Clinic website:
Hypothyroidism.(2008) Retrieved January 30, 2008 from Medline Plus website:
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