WHAT IS HYPOTHYROIDISM?
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which thyroid gland is under active and does not produce required amount of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland which lies in front of the neck. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland are T3 & T4 which have impact on the metabolism as they control vital functions of the body such as temperature and heart rate. The hormones produced by thyroid gland are responsible for providing energy to almost every organ in the body and controls functions like heart beat, digestion etc. Thus when thyroid gland stops working on optimum level then functions of the body begin to slow down.
- AGE: hypothyroidism usually occurs with growing age.
- GENDER: females are more prone to development of hypothyroidism.
- FAMILY HISTORY: if you have family history of hypothyroidism then there are more chances of development of hypothyroidism.
- OTHER AUTOIMMUNE DISORDER: if you have any autoimmune disease then you are more prone to development of another autoimmune disease also.
- CERTAIN MEDICATION: like antithyroid medicines can cause underactive thyroid.
- PREGNANCY: during pregnancy you can develop hypothyroidism.
- SURGERY: partial removal of a part of thyroid gland due to certain cause can cause development of hypothyroidism.
- GOITER: goiter is a condition in which the size of the thyroid gland increases more than normal size. This occurs due to constant stimulation of thyroid gland to release more hormones as the thyroid is underactive.
- DEPRESSION: due to lack of hormones depression may occur which increases over time.
- HEART PROBLEMS: there is increased risk of development of heart diseases as thyroid hormones regulate functions of heart.
- INFERTILITY: due to low levels of thyroid hormone, there is interference with release of egg.
- MYXEDEMA: is a condition which can be life threatening if hypothyroidism stays undiagnosed for long time. Myxedema have symptoms of intense cold intolerance, drowsiness, lethargy and sometimes unconsciousness.
- PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY: uncontrolled hypothyroidism damage nerves of arms and legs which causes pain, numbness and tingling.
- BIRTH DEFECTS: if mothers have uncontrolled hypothyroidism then foetus can develop birth defects.
SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism depends on the level of deficiency of the hormones. Symptoms often take time to develop, often over a number of years.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM INCLUDE:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dryness of the skin
- Weight gain
- Puffiness of face
- Hoarseness of voice
- Muscular weakness, aches and stiffness
- Pain and stiffness of joints, swelling may also be seen
- Irregular menstrual cycle or heavy bleeding
- High cholesterol
- Thinning of hair
- Weakness of memory
- Enlarged thyroid gland
Hypothyroidism may be caused due to number of factors:
- AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder in which the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system and antibodies are produced against the thyroid tissues.
- HYPERTHYROIDISM TREATMENT: when the treatment for hyperthyroidism is over done then hypothyroidism may occur.
- THYROID SURGERY: removing a part of thyroid can diminish its hormone production.
- RADIATION THERAPY: used for treating cancers in head and neck can affect the thyroid gland as well and can lead to hypothyroidism
- CERTAIN MEDICINES: such as lithium can cause hypothyroidism
- CONGENITAL DISEASES: sometimes babies are born with defective thyroid gland or sometimes no thyroid gland.
- IODINE DEFICIENCY: iodine is essential for production of thyroid hormones. So due to deficiency of iodine leads to hypothyroidism.
- PREGNANCY: some women develop hypothyroidism during or after pregnancy.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Based on symptoms blood test for analysing levels of TSH hormone is enough for diagnosis.
Treatment of hypothyroidism include oral administration of synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine.
Management of hypothyroidism include advice on regular exercise, healthy diet, meditation to release stress is given along with hormone supplementation.
Homeopathy is a good alternative option to synthetic thyroid hormone.
Homeopathic medicines would help the body to remove the cause and start preparing the thyroid hormone itself. There are many medicines like sepia, sulphur, pulsatilla, tuberculinum, calcarea carb etc which are useful is treatment of hypothyroidism permanently. But these medicines are constitution based and should be taken after the advice of homeopathic doctor only.
DO’S & DON’TS
- Do regular physical exercise.
- Eat healthy diet.
- Take plenty of water.
- Do meditation
- Don’t ignore the condition
- Don’t smoke.