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Hypothyroidism - A Major Concern!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Gulneer Puri 90% (58 ratings)
Bsc - Foods, Msc - Food Technology, Msc - Food & Nutrition, Doctorate, MBA in Business Management
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Amritsar  •  19 years experience
Hypothyroidism - A Major Concern!

Hypothyroidism is a condition of the thyroid which is a butterfly shaped gland located at the middle portion of the lower neck. This gland produces tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) – the two primary hormones that regulates how the body cells utilize energy. The thyroid gland adjusts this metabolism through the release of these hormones.

Hypothyroidism is the condition when the thyroid gland becomes underactive and produces less amount of hormone thyroxin i.e T3, T4 or both.

Causes of Hypothyroidism-
There are various reasons, which cause Hypothyroidism, one of them being the Hashimoto’s Disease, or chronic lymphocytic thyroditis, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland or its cell by causing- chronic thyroid inflammation- and reduces the proper functioning of the thyroid glands. Often with a genetic link, this disease occurs more among women than men.

Other causes include-

  1. Deficiency of iodine in the body
  2. Inflammation of the thyroid
  3. Some babies are born with defective thyroid gland or no gland at all and have congenial hypothyroidism at birth
  4. The failure of the pituitary gland to secrete enough Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Hypo-metabolic rate caused due to lower amounts of T3, T4 in the body increases the severity of the condition, with symptoms that vary from person to person. Often these symptoms are difficult to identify. These include weight gain and fatigue. Other symptoms include-

  1. Constipation
  2. Sensitive to cold
  3. Dry skin conditions
  4. Muscle weakness
  5. High heat tolerance
  6. High blood cholesterol levels
  7. Thinning of hair
  8. Slow heart rate
  9. Stiffness of joints, muscles and aches
  10. Impaired memory
  11. Changes in the menstrual cycle and infertility
  12. Hoarseness
  13. Puffy face and sensitive skin

Hypothyroidism – a disease of growing concern
Did you know that thyroid disorders can manifest into depression and anxiety? An underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism can cause fatigue and loss of concentration, leading to depression and other abnormalities. Imbalance in thyroid stimulating hormones cause frequent mood swings related to emotion and cognition. It also affects the menstrual cycle such as premenstrual syndrome or PMS, perimenopause and menopause. 1 in every 4 patients who suffer from hypothyroidism are known to have depression.

Today an estimated 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid disorder and about 60% are unaware of their condition.

Complications of Hypothyroidism-

  1. Hypothyroidism can lead to accelerated risks of heart disease, because of high levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which results in underactive thyroid. This can lead to a premature death from a sudden cardiac arrest.
  2. Long term untreated hypothyroidism causes peripheral neuropathy or damage to the peripheral nerves in which you slowly lose muscle control and suffer from numbness, tingling and pain.
  3. Undiagnosed hypothyroidism also causes a life threatening disease called myxedema. Sometimes you go into a coma when you need emergency treatment.
  4. A low thyroid level in the body interferes with ovulation and weakens the chances of fertility. It also causes defects during childbirth.
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