Hypothyroidism is basically an underactive thyroid gland. It refers to a situation where thyroid gland can’t make sufficient thyroid hormone which helps the body in functioning normally. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism have a decreased level of thyroid hormone in blood. Some of the common causes of hypothyroidism are autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, surgical removal of the thyroid, as well as radiation treatment.
There are several symptoms which sign towards the deficiency of the thyroid hormone in the body. Some of these are listed below:
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Hair loss
- Memory loss
- Dry and rough skin
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Unexplained weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches and pain
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than usual or irregular menstrual periods
- Slower heart rate
Apart from these symptoms, there are some other conditions as well which might indicate the dysfunction of thyroid hormone. These include infertility or frequent miscarriage, acne, high cholesterol, irregular periods, low libido, fluid retention, difficulty swallowing, respiratory difficulties, iron-deficiency, glaucoma, frequent headaches and many more.
There are several reasons behind the decreased production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. Some of the major causes of this disorder are listed below:
- Autoimmune disease: The immune system shields the body and destroys the foreign antibodies, but in this condition the system mistakenly identifies the thyroid gland cells as well as its hormones as the invader cells and begins to attack them. Hence, decreasing the number of thyroid cells which can produce the thyroid hormone in the human body. This is commonly found in women compared to men. It might begin suddenly or develop gradually over the years. The most common ones are Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and atrophic thyroiditis.
- Surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland: Patients who suffer from diseases like thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, or Graves’ disease have to undergo surgery for the removal of all or a part of the thyroid gland. When the entire gland is removed people generally become hypothyroid. And in case only a part of it is removed, then the thyroid might be able to produce as much hormone as required for maintaining the normal level in the blood stream.
- Radiation treatment: People suffering from diseases like Graves’ disease, nodular goiter, or thyroid cancer undergo a treatment of radioactive iodine (I-131) meant to destroy the thyroid gland. Also, the patients suffering from Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, or cancers of the head or neck etc. are given the radiation therapy. Such patients, be it due to radioactive iodine (I-131) treatment or radiation therapy, lose a part or all of the thyroid function.
- Medication: Some medicines have inhibitory effect on the production of thyroid hormone. These include amiodarone, lithium, interferon alpha, and interleukin-2.
There are several other causes which lead to hypothyroidism in many people. Hypothyroidism can be cured in most of the cases; it includes treatments like thyroxine (t4) replacement. There are several natural thyroid treatments available which can be helpful and come with less side-effect. The hypothyroidism natural treatment includes some easy changes in the lifestyle which can be adapted gradually.