Hypothyroidism symptoms include weakness, tiredness, and sensitivity to cold, poor, short-term memory, poor concentration, poor appetite, and lifeless hair.
But before knowing the symptoms of hypothyroidism, it is important to know what the disorder is all about. Hypothyroidism is any condition that refers to having an underactive thyroid gland. This is a state of the thyroid gland where it cannot produce normal amounts thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone is important in controlling and regulating the metabolism of the body. There are two types of thyroid hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
When the person has hypothyroidism, the problem may be due to an insufficiency of triiodothyronine, thyroxine, or both.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Because of deficiency of thyroid hormones in the body, the body’s metabolism slows down. The individual experiences a slow pulse rate, husky voice, and cool, dry skin. The person may also experience Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Deafness and joint pains are also Thyroid symptoms.
Early clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism in females include heavy and irregular menstrual periods. When the condition progresses and remains untreated, a possible absence of the menstrual cycle may occur.
If the child has hypothyroidism, his growth and development may be delayed. Mental retardation may also occur.
In the elderly, psychiatric disorders such as depression and memory problems may be manifested. In the worst-case scenarios, this may lead to coma and death.
Other signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include puffiness of the face because of edema, slow movements, and alopecia.
Even when the signs and symptoms are combined together, no specific clinical manifestations point to the diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
As an individual age, acquiring hypothyroidism also increases. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system of the host attacks and kills thyroid cells.
Another cause may be because of surgical removal of a part of the thyroid gland. The removal of the glands may be due to tumors or cancer.
In rare cases, some persons are born without the thyroid glands.
Certain medicines, such as lithium and Amiodarone, have the ability to inhibit the thyroid cells in producing hormones.
Moreover, before the thyroid gland can manufacture thyroid hormones, iodine should be present. A lack of iodine intake in the diet may not only lead to acquiring goiter but may also lead to hypothyroidism.
Lastly, any damage to the pituitary gland may lead to hypothyroidism. The pituitary gland is the main gland that controls the thyroid gland. It is the one giving the signal on what amount of thyroid hormonesshould the thyroid gland release.
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism
Diagnosing the disease doesn’t only lie in the presence or absence of signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. Evaluating medical and family history is also vital. Undergoing physical and laboratory examinations are also fundamentals for the diagnosis.
As to what has been previously mentioned, there are exact signs and symptoms that are specific for this disease. Some of the signs may be manifested and some may be not. Many hypothyroidism symptoms may manifest in people with other illnesses.
Medical and family history should also be assessed. Any changes experienced should be reported to the health care provider. These changes include any symptoms of hypothyroidism. A history of thyroid surgery should also be stated. Inform the medical practitioner of any medications taken because these may have an effect on the thyroid gland.
Physical examinations include palpating the neck to assess if any problems exist in the glands. Moreover, the health care provider also assesses the presence of other signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Laboratory examinations including a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) exam and thyroxine test are done. A high TSH indicates that the individual has hypothyroidism.
With careful analysis of the things mentioned above, an accurate diagnosis of this disease can be made.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition that cannot be cured. The only option for treatment is by taking thyroid hormone replacement.
In this treatment procedure, the person takes thyroxine hormone replacement. This makes the thyroid hormone levels in the body become normal. This eventually restores normal body functions.
The common form of thyroxine hormone replacement is a pill or a tablet. The only problem when taking this is either too much or too little intake of thyroxine. If taken in small amounts, the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism may be experienced. If taken in large amounts, hyperthyroidism may occur.
This is the reason why TSH levels should be reexamined after six to ten weeks after dosage change. TSH exams should also be reexamined more frequently in pregnant women.
A thyroid stimulating hormone examination may be done once a year if the responses of the body to the dosage of the thyroxine hormone replacement pill are positive. However, when the patient experiences a worsening of hypothyroid symptoms, he should immediately consult the doctor for advice.
Finally, all patients are not hospitalized except for severe cases. Having severe myxedema as one of the Hypothyroidism Symptoms makes the case severe. Careful handling of the case should be done.