Underactive thyroid disease: causes, symptoms and treatment

When the thyroid secretes low thyroid hormone is called as under active thyroid or hypothyroidism . Thyroid is one of the important endocrine gland situated in the neck region  in front of the trachea joins to larynx. Thyroid measures 4cm height and 3 cm width. Thyroid secretes the hormones called T4- thyroxine and T3 – triiodothyronine. These thyroid hormones have very important vital functions in the body. Low thyroid levels should be treated to prevent metabolic disorders.

Control of body metabolism is the main function of thyroid gland. The thyroid hormones are less secreted when thyroid becomes under active and is a thyroid disease. Under active thyroid leads to hypothyroidism. Body metabolism is altered with under active thyroid gland. Thyroid function is to regulate body metabolism, and the change in body metabolism causes altered vital signs. Thyroid weight gain is common with under active thyroid or hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) : Controls the production of thyroid hormone. Pituitary gland secretes and controls the release of thyroid stimulating hormone.

Causes of under active thyroid:-

Iodine insufficiency : Iodine is the major element needed to secrete thyroid hormone in the body. Iodine deficiency in diet causes under active thyroid. Iodine supplementation with Salt helps in preventing Iodine deficiency.

Autoimmune thyroiditis : Autoimmune disorder destroys the thyroid and leads to less secretion of thyroid hormones.

* Anti thyroid drugs and radio iodide therapy causes under active thyroid.
* Congenital hypothyroidism, babies have at the time of birth.
* Older people are more prone to have under active thyroid.
* Women are more affected than males.
* thyroid tumor, or thyroid cancer,
* Autoimmune disorder also causes Hypothyroidism.
* Certain medications such as  lithium carbonate and amiodarone causes under active thyroid.

Symptoms of Under active thyroid:-

Symptoms of under active thyroid develops gradually and may vary from mild to severe.

* Tiredness and feeling sleepy,
* Cold body temperature,
* Dry and pale skin,
* Thin and coarse hair and brittle nails,
* Mental depression,
* Weight gaining,
* Muscle weakness and reduced movements,
* Hoarse and croaky voice,
* Decreased memory power,
* Constipation is associated with under active thyroid,
* Problems related to fertility,
* Irregular menstrual periods, and
* Slow heart rate

Treatment of Under active thyroid or Hypothyroidism:-

Thyroxine replacement  and levothyroxine in tablet form is the main treatment for Hypothyroidism. Lower dose is started first and dose of medication is gradually increased later. Blood test have very significant value in fixing the dose for an individual with under active thyroid or Hypothyroidism. Side-effects are less with levothyroxine and symptoms such as anxiety and weight loss are seen on prolonged replacement of levothyroxine hormone. Periodical medical check up is suggested for patients with under active thyroid or Hypothyroidism. Normal thyroid levels are shown in the healthy individual.

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