Thyroid Disorders are caused by:- Deficiency (OR)Over production-of “Thyroxine” secreted by the Thyroid Glands. The main function of these hormones is to regulate metabolism.
The deficiency of “Thyroxine” hormones is the most common disease condition, which is prevalent mostly in women. Hypothyroidism progresses slowly and the early thyroid symptoms are vague and minor that they will be ignored in the diagnosis in the initial stages. Normally this will be an unsuspected Disease.
In some cases psychological disturbances will be there where:-
* Clarity of thought and intelligence deteriorates along with
* Organic psychosis
* Memory loss
* Retardation of faculties
And as a result, the patients will be directed to some Psychiatrist.
Hypothyroidism is mostly caused by the thyroid gland inflammation, which makes it incompetent in secreting adequate hormones. Thyroid gland failure is caused by autoimmune thyroiditis, which is caused by the body’s own immune system of the patient.
Another cause is the radiation treatments against cancer or acne or exposure to radiation. If the thyroid cells fall short in meeting the hormone requirements of the body, hypothyroidism will be the result. Many thyroid conditions such as ‘goiter’ can be effectively treated with radioactive iodine therapy, where a part of the gland is destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease and to avoid the risk of over production of hormones. However in many cases this treatment would leave the gland useless and there is a risk of most of the cells getting damaged during therapy.
Some of the low thyroid symptoms include the following:-
* Head aches
* Dry skin
* Heat or cold intolerance
* Fluid retention
* Unhealthy nails
* Undue Weight gain
* Irritable Bowel Syndrome
* Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
* Decreased Memory
* Muscle/Joint pain
* Heart Palpitations
* Difficulty in Swallowing
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism:-
In the case of patient with the symptoms such as fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, and dry/ flaky skin a blood test will be done to confirm Hypothyroidism. If Hypothyroidism is present, the blood levels of thyroid hormones will be measured directly which will be normally less. In early stage of hypothyroidism, the level of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) will be normal. So, the main method of detection of hyperthyroidism is the measurement of the “TSH/ Thyroid Stimulating Hormone”. TSH is secreted by the pituitary gland and if a decrease of thyroid hormone occurs, the pituitary gland will react by producing more TSH and the blood TSH level will increase.
This increase in TSH can actually precede the fall in thyroid hormones by months or years The measurement of TSH will be elevated in cases of hypothyroidism. There is one exception when the decrease in thyroid hormone is actually due to a defect of the pituitary or hypothalamus, then the levels of TSH will be abnormally low. This kind of thyroid disease is known as “secondary” or “tertiary” hypothyroidism. A special test, known as the TRH test, will help to distinguish if the disease is caused by a defect in the pituitary or the hypothalamus. This test requires an injection of the TRH hormone and is performed by an Endocrinologist/ Hormone Specialist.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism:-
The treatment for hypothyroidism normally requires life-long therapy. Before synthetic levothyroxine (T4) was available, desiccated thyroid tablets were used. Desiccated thyroid was obtained from animal thyroid glands, which lacked consistency of potency from batch to batch. Nowadays, a pure, synthetic T4 is widely available.
The most active thyroid hormone is T3/ liothyronine sodium/ Cytomel is available. However, for the majority of patients, a form of T4/levothyroxine sodium /Levoxyl, Synthroid is the preferred treatment. This is a more stable form of thyroid hormone and requires once a day dosing, whereas T3 is much shorter-acting and needs to be taken many times a day. In the majority of patients, synthetic T4 is readily and steadily converted to T3 naturally in the bloodstream, and this conversion is appropriately regulated by the body’s tissues.
The average dose of T4 replacement in adults is approximately 1.6 micrograms per kilogram per day. This translates into approximately 100 to 150 micrograms per day.