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Hypothyroidism

21:56 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Hypothyroidism?

It is a common condition that consists of a thyroid gland dysfunction, where it does not produce enough hormones responsible for regulating metabolic, neural, cardiac, circulatory, and digestive functions, among others. 

It usually affects middle-aged and older women, but people of any age can get it, including children and babies.

The causes of its appearance are variable, but the most frequent is chronic thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease, which is a permanent inflammation of the thyroid gland caused by an abnormal defense reaction of the immune system. However, there are other factors that can trigger it, such as autoimmune diseases, radiotherapy for cancer, radioactive treatment for hyperthyroidism, partial or total removal of the thyroid, some drugs, deficiency or excess of iodine in the diet, pregnancy, and pituitary or hypophysis gland disorders.

This disease is classified in three types:

Primary hypothyroidism: it is the most common. In it, the gland does not function correctly and can cause goiter, where the thyroid increases significantly in size. 

Secondary hypothyroidism: the thyroid is not affected, but the pituitary gland is, so it does not produce the thyroid-stimulating hormone called thyrotropin and since it does not reach the thyroid, it does not generate the corresponding hormones.

Tertiary hypothyroidism: affects the hypothalamus, which is responsible for secreting the hormone that stimulates the pituitary gland to release thyrotropin, which in turn is responsible for stimulating the thyroid. This creates a chain reaction in which the pituitary gland and the thyroid do not work properly. 

Symptoms

Symptoms usually develop slowly and vary depending on the disease’s progress, but the symptoms that usually appear more frequently are: 

  • Apathy and depression.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Goiter.
  • Dry and brittle hair.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Nasal congestion and light cough.
  • Tiredness and muscle weakness.
  • Concentration problems.
  • Hypersensitivity to cold.
  • Atypical menstrual periods and heavy bleeding. 
  • Dry skin.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Pain, numbness, and inflammation in the joints.
  • Constipation.
  • Memory loss.
  • Swollen face.

If you experience several of these symptoms, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible, because although hypothyroidism has no cure, it can be controlled if it is diagnosed and treated promptly. Otherwise, it can trigger serious health problems such as obesity, heart disease, respiratory failure, infertility, and peripheral neuropathy, among others.

Diagnosis and treatment

In addition to performing a physical examination and reviewing your medical history, your doctor will order lab tests and a thyroid-stimulating hormone function test, which measures the amount of thyroxine produced by the thyroid gland. 

If your doctor suspects an abnormality in the gland, he or she will likely order a thyroid scan to assess the relationship of abnormalities to other glands. Also, if you have goiter, you’ll likely have a thyroid ultrasound.

The most common, safe, and effective treatment consists of restoring the normal hormone production levels in the thyroid gland through the daily intake of levothyroxine, which is a synthetic hormone that restores the appropriate hormonal parameters, reversing hypothyroidism symptoms.

The important thing is to find the right dose for you, which can take time. Due to this, you will need regular check-ups to assess the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone and check blood levels, since an excessive amount of hormone can trigger some health problems, such as increased appetite, tremors, palpitations, sweating, and insomnia.

However, once the proper dose has been established by your doctor, you will be able to continue your normal daily activities without restrictions. 

In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Fuentes: 

  • medlineplus.gov
  • thyroid.org
  • cinfasalud.cinfa.com
  • mayoclinic.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • cun.es
  • medigraphic.com
  • Valdivia-Herrera M, Rosales-Medina J, Runzer-Colmenares FM, et al. Riesgo cardiovascular en pacientes con Hipotiroidismo. Rev Cubana Cardiol Cir Cardiovasc. 2020;26(1):1-2.
  • Ramos CA, Culay PA, Rodríguez SY, et al. Síndrome de Hoffmann, manifestación de hipotiroidismo: presentación de un caso. AMC. 2019;23(2):249-255.
  • Fernández VR, Pérez CN. Actualización sobre patología tiroidea durante el embarazo: hipotiroidismo e hipertiroidismo. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2020;5(10):1-14.
  • Toro RM, Restrepo GLM, Balthazar GV, et al. Hipotiroidismo adquirido en niños. Medicina & Laboratorio. 2012;18(09-10):443-458.

						
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