Thyroid [rate]

Excess thyroid stimulating hormone, which is released by the pituitary gland, can cause low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism.  This happens when your thyroid is weak and needs extra thyroid stimulating hormone to get it working properly.  If this is the case with your thyroid, chances are that your thyroid is working below average in releasing its own hormone, thyroxine. And, when you are under a lot of stress, your thyroxine may be used up on its way to your cells. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland becomes inactive and produces less than sufficient amount of these hormones.



This disorder is more likely to affect women above 60.  Symptoms may not be evident in the early stages. But as the disease progresses, it can increase the risk of infertility, obesity, joint pain and heart diseases if left untreated.  The metabolism continues to slow down, worsening the symptoms.  The disease may develop over a few years. Symptoms depends on severity of the disease.  Some of the symptoms are as follows:-

Fatigue and weakness, weight gain, Joint pain, thinning of hair, dry skin, constipation, muscle weakness, increased sensitivity to cold, irregular menstrual periods, puffy face, hoarseness, depression and impaired memory

If left untreated, these symptoms may get aggravated.  The possibility of developing goiter or advanced hypothyroidism known as myxedema may also increase.  It is a more severe condition in which possibility of death is higher.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient amount of thyroxin hormone.  Some of the causes are as follows:

  1. Autoimmune Disease.  Autoimmune diseases are caused by a malfunctioning immune system which starts working against body’s own tissues.  One prominent example is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which causes inflammation of thyroid gland.  Environmental factors and genetic flaws are believed to trigger this condition. More than one factor can be responsible for this disease and hamper with gland’s ability to produce hormones.
  2. Hyperthyroidism Treatment.  Anti-thyroid medications or radioactive iodine treatment which is used to treat patients of hyperthyroidism can cause hypothyroidism in some patients.  These treatments which are intended to reduce and normalize thyroid secretion may manifest adverse effects in form of severely decreased secretion of hormones. In some cases, if the thyroid gland is partially removed, this disorder can occur, leading the patient to be dependent on hormone supplement all over the life. Radiation treatment may also produce similar kinds of effects.
  3. Certain Medications.  Certain medications like Lithium which are used to treat some psychotic disorders may contribute to this disease.

In some cases, hypothyroidism can be triggered by the following. These are less common causes.

  1. Congenital Diseases.  Defective or malfunctioning thyroid gland can be inherited. In some cases, it is not developed properly. These children may appear normal at birth. Screening after birth may help to detect the abnormality.
  2. Pregnancy.  Hypothyroidism during or after the pregnancy (postpartum hypothyroidism) is common among some women.  If left untreated, it may increase the risk of preterm delivery and miscarriage.  It may also lead to pre-eclampsia where increased blood pressure may also affect the developing fetus.
  3. Iodine Deficiency.  Iodine is an essential micro nutrient for sufficient production of thyroxin.  In hilly region, iodine is not easily available through water or food.  However, taking too much iodine can also cause the risk of developing the disease.
  4. Pituitary Malfunctioning.  A tumor of the pituitary gland can hamper with its ability to produce sufficient amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). It may lead to onset of this disorder.