About secondary hypothyroidism: The thyroid gland is one of the important glands of the endocrine system that is responsible for the production of several hormones like the thyroxin, triiodothyronine and calcitonin. All these hormones perform vital function that controls the body metabolism and also regulates the calcium balance within the body. Hypothyroidism is a disease in humans and even animals which is caused by insufficient production of the thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. The disease is found mostly in cases of elderly people but at present children and women are also equally affected. Secondary hypothyroidism is a specific branch of hypothyroidism that takes place where the activity of the thyroid gland is decreased to the minimum due to complete failure of the pituitary gland.
Causes, signs and symptoms:
The secretion of the thyroxin, triiodothyronine hormones by the thyroid gland is controlled by the system comprising of hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. When the levels of these thyroid hormones is lowered the levels of the hypothalamic and pituitary hormones increases naturally and vice versa. Thus the hormonal balance is maintained and regulated. The thyroid disorders and defects may not only arise from the thyroid itself but also defects in pituitary or the hypothalamus. In general the primary factors that contribute to secondary hypothyroidism are the failure of the pituitary gland to release the thyroid stimulating hormone which is usually caused by a tumor in that region. In rare cases infiltration of the pituitary gland by inflammatory cells from the immune system or due to some foreign substances such as iron may also be the cause of secondary hypothyroidism. Some of the commonest symptoms of secondary hypothyroidism include weakness, fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, weight gain, depression, joint and muscle pain and brittle fingernails.
Treatment for the secondary hypothyroidism is objected to replace the deficiency of the thyroid hormones and to maintain the balance. Common medications used for the treatment of secondary hypothyroidism are Levothyroxine. In the initial stages of the treatment the lowest possible dosage is administered. Many a times life long therapy is necessary and medications are to be continued even when the symptoms totally disappears. In some cases dietary changes is also found to be very effective in balancing the deficiency. A diet rich in fiber and low in calories is the best for increasing the thyroid activity.