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Home > Symptom > Hypothyroidism Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Hypothyroidism Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Hypothyroidism Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Overview of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not generate and release enough thyroid hormone into the bloodstream. Your metabolism becomes slower as a result. Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, can make you feel exhausted, put on weight, and have trouble handling cold weather. Hormone replacement therapy is the primary method of treatment for hypothyroidism.

What is hypothyroidism

When your body doesn't create enough thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism develops. The thyroid is a little gland with a butterfly form that is located in front of the windpipe. Hormones that aid in energy regulation and use are released.

The actions of your digestive system and your heartbeat are among the processes that thyroid hormones assist regulate. The natural processes of your body slow down if you don't have enough thyroid hormones.

Hypothyroidism, often known as an underactive thyroid, typically affects adults over 60 and is more prevalent in women than in males. After symptoms appear or during a regular blood test, it might be identified.

An early, mild version of the illness is called subclinical hypothyroidism.

If you were just diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it's crucial to understand

What’s the difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?

The thyroid produces insufficient thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism.

Quantity is the main distinction between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Very little thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid in hypothyroidism. Conversely, a person with hyperthyroidism has a thyroid that produces excessive thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone levels are elevated in hyperthyroidism, which causes your metabolism to accelerate. Hypothyroidism causes a slowdown in metabolism.

There are several differences between these two situations. You could find it challenging to fight off the cold if you have hypothyroidism. The heat can be too much for you if you have hyperthyroidism. They represent the thyroid's two extremes. You ought to ideally be in the middle. The goal of each of these illnesses' treatments is to restore your thyroid function as closely as possible to the ideal level.

What Causes Hypothyroidism in Pregnancy?

Women who experience hypothyroidism while pregnant typically have Hashimoto's disease. The thyroid is attacked by this autoimmune illness, which causes thyroid destruction. When that occurs, the thyroid is unable to create and release sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, which has an effect on the entire body. Pregnant women with hypothyroidism may have cramps, intense exhaustion, and a hard time handling cold temperatures.

The development of the foetus depends on thyroid hormones. These hormones aid in the brain and nervous system's development. It's critical to manage your thyroid levels throughout pregnancy if you have hypothyroidism. The brain may not grow properly and there may be problems later if the foetus doesn't receive enough thyroid hormone throughout development. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can cause issues including miscarriage or preterm labour if untreated or not adequately addressed.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most frequent cause of hypothyroidism. The term "thyroiditis" refers to thyroid gland inflammation. An autoimmune condition is Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Your body creates antibodies during Hashimoto's disease that assault and kill the thyroid gland. A viral infection might also lead to thyroiditis.

Other causes of hypothyroidism include:

Radiation therapy to the neck area: Radiation to the neck is necessary to treat several malignancies, including lymphoma. The thyroid's cells are harmed by radiation. The gland finds it more challenging to manufacture hormones as a result.

  • Radioactive iodine treatment: People with hyperthyroidism, a disorder marked by an overactive thyroid gland, frequently receive this treatment. Radiation, however, kills the thyroid gland's cells. Hypothyroidism typically results from this.
  • Use of certain medications: Sometimes, some drugs used to treat cancer, psychological disorders, and cardiac issues can interfere with the thyroid's ability to produce hormones. Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), interferon alpha, and interleukin-2 are a few of these.
  • Thyroid surgery: Hypothyroidism will result from thyroid surgery. The thyroid gland may still be able to produce enough hormone to meet the body's needs if only a portion of it is removed.
  • Too little iodine in the diet: Iodine is necessary for the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. Iodine must be obtained from your diet because your body cannot produce it. Iodine is abundant in iodized table salt. Iodine can also be found in shellfish, saltwater fish, eggs, dairy products, seaweed, and other foods.
  • Pregnancy: Thyroid inflammation can sometimes happen after pregnancy for unknown reasons. This condition is known as postpartum thyroiditis. When a woman has this illness, her thyroid hormone levels typically rise dramatically, followed by a sudden decline in thyroid hormone production. Most postpartum thyroiditis sufferers will recover their regular thyroid function.
  • Problems with the thyroid at birth: Some infants could be born with a thyroid gland that did not function or developed improperly. Congenital hypothyroidism is the name given to this kind of hypothyroidism.
  • Pituitary gland damage or disorder: Rarely, a pituitary gland issue can prevent the thyroid hormone from being produced. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland, instructs your thyroid as to how much hormone it should produce and release.
  • Disorder of the hypothalamus: If the brain's hypothalamus does not create enough of the hormone TRH, which is incredibly unusual to produce, hypothyroidism can develop. The secretion of TSH by the pituitary gland is impacted by TRH.

An issue with the thyroid gland itself is what causes primary hypothyroidism.

Secondary hypothyroidism develops when the thyroid's capacity to generate hormones is compromised by another condition. For instance, hormones produced by the pituitary or hypothalamus cause the release of thyroid hormone. Your thyroid may become underactive if one of these glands is malfunctioning.

Tertiary hypothyroidism is the term used occasionally to describe an underactive thyroid caused by an issue with the hypothalamus.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

The effects of thyroid hormones on many organ systems result in a wide variety of hypothyroidism symptoms.

Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine are the two thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid (T4). These control metabolism and have an impact on the following processes:

  • brain development
  • breathing
  • heart and nervous system functions
  • body temperature
  • muscle strength
  • skin dryness
  • Abnormal Menstruation
  • weight
  • cholesterol levels

Hypothyroidism symptoms can also include, but are not limited to:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • cold intolerance
  • slowed heart rate, movements, and speech
  • joint pain and muscle pain, cramps, and weakness
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • thin, brittle hair or fingernails
  • decreased sweating
  • pins and needles
  • heavy periods, or menorrhagia
  • weakness
  • high cholesterol
  • puffy face, feet, and hands
  • insomnia
  • balance and co-ordination issues
  • loss of libido
  • recurrent urinary and respiratory tract infections
  • anemia
  • depression

If left untreated, the following symptoms can manifest:

  • hoarseness
  • puffiness in the face
  • thinned or missing eyebrows
  • slow heart rate
  • hearing loss

The indications and symptoms are typically the same in children and teenagers as in adults if it develops in these age groups.

However, they may also experience:

  • poor growth
  • delayed development of teeth
  • poor mental development
  • delayed puberty

Hypothyroidism takes time to manifest. Long-lasting symptoms that are nebulous and nonspecific may go ignored.

The symptoms of many illnesses are similar and vary greatly from person to person. The only way to make a reliable diagnosis is through a blood test.

Common Hypothyroidism symptoms in women

For some time, a person might just feel as though something is "wrong" with their body. Symptoms become increasingly obvious over time. The following are typical signs of hypothyroidism:

  • Feeling tired

  • Weight gain

  • Irregular menstrual cycles: cycles that are long or absent

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • A higher sensitivity to cold

  • Swelling and edema

  • Dry skin and hair

  • Thinning hair on the head

  • Constipation

  • Trouble becoming or staying pregnant

  • Goiter (abnormal growth/enlargement of the thyroid)

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Children

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Newborns

Any age can develop hypothyroidism, although youngsters experience different symptoms. The first few weeks or months following birth are when babies initially experience symptoms. Parents and medical professionals may miss the symptoms because they are modest. These signs include:

  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes

  • constipation

  • poor feeding

  • cold skin

  • decreased crying

  • loud breathing

  • sleeping more often/decreased activity

  • larger soft spot on the head

  • a large tongue

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Toddlers and Gradeschoolers

Depending on the child's age, hypothyroidism has a variety of difficulties that start in early childhood. Symptoms of thyroid disease in young children include:

  • shorter than average height

  • shorter than average limbs

  • permanent teeth that develop later

  • puberty that starts later

  • slowed mental development

  • heart rate that is slower than average

  • hair may be brittle

  • facial features may be puffy

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Teens

Teenage girls are more likely than teenage boys to have hypothyroidism, which is typically brought on by the autoimmune condition Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Teenagers who have a family history of autoimmune conditions such type 1 diabetes, Graves' disease, or Hashimoto's thyroiditis are more likely to acquire thyroid disease. Thyroid disease is more likely to affect children who have genetic problems like Down syndrome.

Teenage symptoms are similar to adult symptoms. However, the signs may be hazy and challenging to identify. The following physical signs and symptoms are frequently present in teenagers with hypothyroidism:

  • weight gain

  • slowed growth

  • being shorter in height

  • looking younger than age

  • slowed breast development

  • later start to period

  • heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding

  • increased testicular size in boys

  • delayed puberty

  • dry skin

  • brittle hair and nails

  • constipation

  • puffiness in face, hoarse voice, larger thyroid

  • gland

  • muscle and joint pain and stiffness

Teenagers with hypothyroidism may also experience less noticeable behavioural changes. These signs incorporate:

  • tiredness

  • forgetfulness

  • mood or behavior problems

  • difficulties with school performance

  • depressed mood

  • trouble concentrating

How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

Thyroid Profile Test, which assess the quantity of thyroid hormone in your blood and are often referred to as thyroid test, are frequently used to detect hypothyroidism. However, in some cases, the diagnosis is more complex and requires more thorough testing.

Two important thyroid hormones, T4 (thyroxine) and thyroid stimulating hormone, are measured as part of the thyroid function test (TSH). Based on measurements from tens of thousands of individuals, "normal" ranges have been established for each of these hormones. If your thyroid hormone levels are higher or lower than they should be, you may have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

The blood level of T4 will be low but the TSH level will be high in the normal and most prevalent form of hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland itself is underperforming. This indicates that the thyroid is not producing enough hormone, and the pituitary gland is responding by secreting more TSH in an effort to stimulate the thyroid to produce more hormone.

TSH levels will also be low, which is a more uncommon occurrence in hypothyroidism caused by pituitary failure. T4 levels will also be low in this situation. Due to the fact that the thyroid can only produce hormone in response to TSH from the pituitary gland, it is acting "appropriately" in these circumstances. The thyroid gland won't produce enough T4 since the pituitary isn't producing enough TSH in this situation.

Millions of people have mild to moderate types of hypothyroidism, which are more challenging to diagnose, despite the fact that many cases of hypothyroidism may be quickly diagnosed with these straightforward blood tests. This is one of the reasons why it's frequently vital to have a relationship with an excellent endocrinologist who has much of experience diagnosing and treating the many types of hypothyroidism.

In addition, not all individuals with hypothyroidism exhibit the same symptoms; some individuals with what would be regarded as moderate variations in their thyroid laboratory test results would feel perfectly fine, whereas others will exhibit problematic symptoms. The severity of symptoms frequently, but not always, coincides with the severity of thyroid hormone abnormalities. Even if you fall within the "average" range for the population as a whole, this may not be your usual level.

These unique variances should be kept in mind by both you and your doctor(s), as the main objective is for you to feel better, not necessarily for your test results to return to normal.

Lab Test for Diagnosing Hypothyroidism

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) Test: Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone that regulates the thyroid gland. TSH levels can be affected by many factors, including stress, diet, and certain medications. If the TSH level is high, it may be due to an overactive thyroid or Graves' disease. If the TSH level is low, it may be due to an underactive thyroid or Hashimoto's disease. A TSH test can help diagnose these conditions.

Total T4 Test: The Total T4 Test is a blood test that measures the level of thyroxine in your blood. The results of the Total T4 Test can help your doctor diagnose or rule out hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroxine.

Free T4 Test: The Free T4 Test is a blood test used to measure the levels of free T4, the main thyroid hormone. This test is used to help diagnose hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

Total T3 Test: The total t3 test is a blood test that measures the level of the hormone thyroxine in your body. Thyroxine is responsible for regulating metabolism and energy production in the body.

Free T3 Test: A Free T3 test measures the level of triiodothyronine in your blood. Triiodothyronine is a thyroid hormone that helps regulate your metabolism. The test is used to diagnose hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid.

Anti Thyroid Peroxidase AntiBody (Anti TPO) Test: An anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody test is used to help diagnose autoimmune thyroiditis, which is a condition in which the body produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. The test measures the level of these antibodies in the blood.

Treatment of Hypothyroidism

Your doctor will prescribe the synthetic (human-made) thyroid hormone T4 if you have hypothyroidism. You consume this medication daily. The way your body absorbs synthetic thyroid hormone may be affected by certain other drugs. Make sure your doctor is aware of every medication, herbal remedy, and dietary supplement you use, including over-the-counter items.

To monitor the levels of your thyroid hormones, you will require routine blood tests. Your medicine dosage may occasionally need to be changed by your doctor.

Determining the precise thyroid hormone dosage you require may take some time. Six to eight weeks after you begin using synthetic hormones and then once every six months after that, your doctor will do a blood test to measure your TSH levels.

The following negative effects could occur if your dosage is too high and you receive an excessive amount of hormone:

  • Appetite increases
  • Can’t sleep
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shakiness

People who have severe hypothyroidism or heart disease may begin taking synthetic hormones at modest doses and then gradually raise them so that their hearts can get used to them.

Once you've received the proper amount, your hormones shouldn't have any adverse effects. But keep taking your medication; skipping doses could make your hypothyroidism symptoms worse.

Get your TSH levels evaluated again to determine whether your hormone dosage has to be altered if you gain or lose even 10 pounds of body weight.

Complications of Hypothyroidism

  • issues with balance:  If their thyroid hormone levels are too low, older women are more susceptible to balance issues.
  • Goiter: The gland might expand and alter the shape of your neck if your thyroid is continuously striving to generate additional hormones. Additionally, swallowing issues could arise.
  • Heart conditions: Your risk of heart disease is increased by hypothyroidism, which can also cause your levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol, to rise.
  • Infertility: Ovulation disruption caused by insufficient thyroid hormone can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
  • Joint Pina: joint discomfort Tendonitis, joint and muscle pain, and low thyroid hormone levels can all affect your quality of life.
  • Mental Health issues: mental health problems Low thyroid hormone levels might result in memory or attention problems, as well as a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. Consult your doctor if you observe these changes because they can possibly be the result of depression unrelated to your thyroid.
  • Obesity: Although hypothyroidism may decrease your appetite, you still run the risk of
  • Peripheral neuropathy: Over time, low thyroid hormones can damage your peripheral nerves. Your limbs could feel painful, tingly, or numb.

Prevention of Hypothyroidism

There are a few things that can be done to prevent hypothyroidism, or at least reduce the risk of developing the condition.

  • First, it’s important to get enough iodine in your diet. This can be accomplished by eating iodine-rich foods like seafood, eggs, and dairy. You can also take a supplement if necessary.
  • Second, you should avoid exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible. This includes things like mercury, pesticides, and other chemicals. If you must be around these substances, be sure to wear protective clothing and take steps to limit your exposure.
  • Third, if you have any underlying medical conditions that could increase your risk for hypothyroidism (such as diabetes or an autoimmune disorder), be sure to monitor your condition closely and managed it effectively.
  • fourth, some studies suggest that taking selenium supplements may help reduce the risk of developing hypothyroidism. Selenium is a mineral that is found in Brazil nuts, tuna, whole grains, and eggs. If you decide to take selenium supplements, be sure to talk to your doctor first to make sure they are safe for you.
     

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