Hypothyroidism is a metabolic condition that involves the under activity of the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is responsible for synthesizing thyroid hormone used for metabolism. These hormones include triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). With hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not make much of these thyroid hormones leading to slowed metabolism.
Hypothyroidism has several types including:
- Primary Hypothyroidism
Primary hypothyroidism originates from the thyroid gland itself. This results when the thyroid gland fails to produce thyroid hormones due to various causes.
- Secondary Hypothyroidism
Secondary hypothyroidism results from problems in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is responsible for the production of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is responsible for stimulating the thyroid glands to produce hormones. When there is pituitary damage or pituitary insufficiency, the thyroid gland is affected.
- Tertiary Hypothyroidism
This type of hypothyroidism results from problems in the hypothalamic function. Before the pituitary gland stimulates the thyroid glands in providing thyroid hormones through TSH, the hypothalamus first signals the pituitary gland to produce TSH through the Thyrotropin-releasing Hornone; which is produced by the hypothalamus. Hypothalamic hypothyroidism accounts for less than 5% of cases of hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
There are a lot of causes of hypothyroidism, which include:
- Iodine deficiency
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Iodine is an important mineral used for the production of thyroid hormone. When iodine is deficient in the diet, the thyroid gland may not be able to synthesize normal amounts of hormones even if the glands are normal.
- Side effect of hyperthyroidism treatments
Hypothyroidism may sometimes result after a treatment of hyperthyroidism or the over activity of the thyroid gland. Removal of the thyroid glad may also lead to a reduction of thyroid hormone synthesis. Intake of radioactive substances to inhibit thyroid function may also lead to hypothyroidism.
Stress is another reason for hypothyroidism and may result in disruption of an important axis that causes down regulation in the thyroid function.
- Illness affecting the thyroid gland
Various illnesses such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, post-partum thyroiditis, congenital hypothyroidism and others may result in hypothyroidism because of disruption in the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
When the thyroid hormones are insufficient, the body undergoes a slowed metabolism or body processes. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Cold intolerance due to reduced production of heat
- Weight gain
- Weight retention
- Decreased Sweating
- Brittle fingernails and hair
- Dry skin
- Loss of muscle tone
- Elevated cholesterol levels because of poor metabolism of fats
Long-term hypometabolic state may lead to more serious symptoms such as:
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Impaired memory
- Hair loss
- Myxedema coma
- Shortness of breath
Treatment of Hypothyroidism
The main goal of hypothyroidism treatment is to elevate the levels of thyroid hormones that are needed by the body for various processes.
- Thyroid hormone therapy
Thyroid hormone administration is the single, most effective means of managing hypothyroidism. Synthroid is an example of a drug that provides the body with thyroid hormones such as T3 and T4. Thyroid hormone therapy may in the form of T4 only or a combination of T3 and T4. Thyroid hormone therapy is also taken for lifetime because, unless minor causes such as iodine deficiency are reversed.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mohr, your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor, to discuss your various symptoms to see if chiropractic care is right for you.