Here’s everything you need to know about hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can easily trick you, because its symptoms look very simple. Read on to know all about it.
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What you eat can affect your thyroid gland as well as your body’s ability to use the thyroid hormone. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 16:13 pm IST
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Have you ever heard of this term called hypothyroidism? If not, then it’s high time you do, because this hormonal problem has the capacity to jolt your life and pin you down.

Have you recently observed your body? Is it reacting fine or you find something weird? For example, if you are suddenly feeling way too tired or have just put on weight in a very short span. If yes, then ladies don’t make the blunder of ignoring these signs,  because you could be suffering from hypothyroidism. 

There are many cues that this disease shoots at you, but the problem is that they seem so normal that you get deceived. That’s why, we want you to have full knowledge about it. So, before wasting any time, let’s know everything about this problem ASAP, with the help of an expert.

What is hypothyroidism?

According to Dr Pradeep Mahajan, who is a regenerative medicine researcher, there are several hormones in the body that regulate various functions. Consider these as chemical messengers that are directly secreted into the blood. From here, they travel to different organs and exert their functions. 

A diet rich in these nutrients can go a long way in managing hypothyroidism. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The thyroid is one such gland that secretes these three hormones: 

  • Triiodothyronine (T3)
  • Thyroxine (T4)
  • Calcitonin. 

“These hormones, especially T3 and T4, influence the metabolism rate and protein production in the body, thereby contributing to growth and development. Moreover, calcitonin is associated with maintenance of calcium balance in the body,” explains Dr Mahajan.

Therefore, under or over activity of the thyroid gland, could cause several health issues associated with the above-mentioned functions. 

“Hypothyroidism is one such condition in which the gland does not produce sufficient amounts of the hormones,” says Dr Mahajan. 

Now it’s time to know what causes hypothyroidism

It is a little technical to understand, but we will make it simpler for you. The brain produces the thyroid-stimulating (TSH) and thyroid-releasing hormones (TRH). Under stimulation of TSH or inadequate release of TRH from the brain, or improper functioning of the thyroid gland itself leads to hypothyroidism. 

“Iodine deficiency has also been considered as one of the chief causes of hypothyroidism. Other than these, an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis—in which the immune system considers its own thyroid gland/cells as foreign and destroys them—can also cause hypothyroidism,” he explains.

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He continues, “Basically, genetic and environmental factors, as well as certain cases of thyroid surgery (as in for cancer and other conditions) or medications cause improper functioning of the gland, and subsequent release of hormones.”

Here are some problems that come with hypothyroidism

The biggest of them all is that you can’t understand the symptoms immediately. Therefore, untreated hypothyroidism may lead to other health problems such as obesity, infertility, and heart disease. 

Do you know, hypothyroidism can lead to dementia? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Some cases of extreme hypothyroidism cause myxedema coma, which is a rare but extremely life-threatening condition. The symptoms of this complication are low body temperature, confusion, slow heart rate, reduced breathing effort, etc.” says Dr Mahajan. 

Pregnant women with untreated hypothyroidism could give birth to children with defects as well as intellectual and developmental issues. Infants and children can also develop hypothyroidism, which can prove fatal, if not diagnosed and treated immediately.

Here are some common symptoms of hypothyroidism:
  • Fatigue
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Puffy face
  • Muscle aches, pain and stiffness in joints
  • Thinning hair
  • Irregular menstrual cycles, among others.

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The symptoms that are related to the thyroid gland include not being able to maintain metabolic and homeostatic functions of the body. These symptoms may not be seen in infants/children or adults with mild disease. You may then need to look for signs such as a large tongue, umbilical hernia, jaundice, poor muscle tone, short stature, and delayed development of teeth, etc.

The last word

If you talk about the treatment of hypothyroidism, then there is a proper course of medication that is needed, and therefore consulting with the doctor is the only option you have. 

That’s why going for a regular check-up is a must. It is the best way to find out if you are dealing with some illness or not.

“Your body is your temple, and it is therefore your duty not to take it for granted. Don’t wait for the problem to increase. In fact, whenever you find something unusual happening with your body, just feel free to consult and save yourself the problem,” concludes Dr Mahajan.

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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