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Hypothyroidism is a common problem faced by millions of people around the world.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid glands fail to produce enough hormones. In such a
condition, the hormones fail to stimulate the metabolism system of the body and slow down the
processes of the body. Various research carried by medical experts have deduced that the occurrence
of Hypothyroidism is more common among people above the age group of fifty years that in a
lesser age group bracket, but it does not mean that people who are less averse to it will stop taking
precautions. Hypothyroidism increases the cholesterol level and makes a person more immune to
heart disease and diabetes.
Certain symptoms of Hypothyroidism in the initial stages may include weakness of the body,
mental fatigue, and increase in the normal weight, depressive behavior, headache, and stomach
pain, feeling excessive cold, pains in the body, pain in the joints, Constipation, hair fall, brittle nails,
pale face, muscle pain and more. These are some of the normal symptoms that one can go through
while facing Hypothyroidism.
In the later stage when the problem increases, the symptoms may include a loss of memory,
improper speech condition, drowsiness, dizziness, memory loss in frequent periods, irregular
menstrual condition, dry skin, loss of appetite, muscles spasms and more. Pregnant women will
have regular spells of dizziness and children will have to suffer from various developmental
problems like stagnant height, excessive weight gain and memory problems.
Causes of Hypothyroidism:
As mentioned earlier, Hypothyroidism is a common disease and may occur due to a variety of
reasons. It may occur due to unhealthy and unhygienic eating habits leading to thyroid problems.
Eating sugary or starchy food and junk foods may often give trouble to the thyroid glands. Surgical
removal of the entire thyroid glands, chronic stress, Autoimmune Diseases like Hashimoto's
thyroiditis and atrophic thyroiditis that can appear suddenly and radiation treatment, which tends to
harm the thyroid glands are some of the other causes that may cause Hypothyroidism.
Congenital Hypothyroidism, a term used when a child is born without a thyroid gland or has a
dysfunctional one is also quite common among children. Viral or Autoimmune Thyroiditis leads to
Hypothyroidism and so does any disease in the Pituitary gland. Certain medications like Lithium
and interferon alpha have also been known to cause side-effects causing Hypothyroidism. Other
causes may include consuming low or no iodine and infiltration by bacterial agents that harm the
One of the most common treatments recommended by doctors is to replace the thyroxine with
another thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. This option is very safe and does not require you to
incur huge expenses on medical bills. But for this, the metabolism rate of the body is needed to be
checked to make it normal and only then it should be done. There are various other treatments that
are available too, but this particular treatment is considered much safer than the rest. Natural
treatments are also available, but that depends on the severity of your condition. If levothyroxine is
just on stage one, these treatments are often found to be beneficial.
Hypothyroidism is not an incurable disease and with time, medications and precautions, the
treatments will be helpful in the long-term. The most important part to consider is that you must
immediately consult a doctor in case you start seeing the symptoms.
Hypothyroidism and its various treatment approaches
The conventional model of treatment is based on supplementing the hormone that is deficient in the
body. There are other modes of treatment too, practiced by alternative health professionals who do
so by providing certain natural thyroid hormone supplements.
Here are some of the common forms of treatments
Treatment Using T4 (Thyroxine) Supplementation
This is the most common mode of treatment practiced by majority of the doctors. T4 is the non
active form of thyroid hormone and it is believed that the body cells can convert it to T3, the active
thyroid hormone. Various prescriptions medicines such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothyroxine etc.
are used to supplement T4.
Treatment Using Iodine Supplementation
Another common method to treat hypothyroidism is by using iodine supplements. This method is
based on the belief that all cases of hypothyroidism manifested as goiter are caused due to iodine
deficiency. However, this may be the case historically, but nowadays, majority of cases of goiter are
caused due to excessive estrogen hormone preventing the release of thyroid hormones from the
Treatment of Hypothyroidism: The Natural Way
What you eat has a great impact on your thyroid gland and its optimal function. Eating the right
foods can actually correct the underlying problem in your thyroid gland. Eating right also involves
avoiding those foods which may cause a negative impact on the functioning of your thyroid gland.
One such food is soy as it increases the production of estrogen hormone in your body which in turn
leads to hypothyroidism.
A 3 step approach
Step 1: Dietary modifications
A well balanced and nutritious diet is very important to maintain healthy body and mind including
the thyroid gland. The functioning of thyroid gland is disrupted if you do not take all the necessary
nutrients required by your body in your diet. Apart from eating the necessary nutrients, dietary
modifications also involve avoiding those foods which inhibit the functioning of thyroid gland
thereby leading to hypothyroidism.
Step 2: Lifestyle Modifications
Stress plays an important role in inhibiting the functioning of thyroid gland. Hence, controlling
stress through various lifestyle modifications can go a long way in healing your thyroid gland.
Step 3: Balanced Hormonal Levels
Our body's hormonal system is very complex and intertwined. Hence, if level of one hormone is off
track as in hypothyroidism, it also affects the levels of several other hormones. The dietary and
lifestyle modifications though work in maintaining this balance; still, your body may require some
temporary hormonal supplements to speed up the process of healing of the thyroid gland.
Advantages of Following this Natural Dietary and Lifestyle Approach to Treat Hypothyroidism:
1.Symptoms of hypothyroidism start improving thus leading to a better quality of life. However the
improvement is gradual and not overnight.
2.There is gradual increase in body energy and motivation.
3.One of the important symptoms of hypothyroidism is mental fogginess due to improper sugar
storage. Glucose or sugar is vital for the functioning of brain. One of the biggest improvements with
this approach that the sugar storage functions of liver improves providing the much needed sugar to
brain. Hence, your mental fogginess gives way to mental clarity.
4.You are able to decrease both the physical and mental stress levels, thereby increasing your
capability to handle stress of any kind.
5.You will also decrease your risk of developing various types of cancer apart from getting cured of
6.If you are overweight, you will be able to gradually lose weight and also manage it in the long
run. Most of the weight loss programs prevalent today put much stress on the body, including the
thyroid gland, thus suppressing it. As a result your metabolism slow down and makes the weight
loss difficult and temporary. However by following the natural approach, your hormones become
normal and your metabolism is increased. As a result you lose weight gradually and permanently.
Things You Should Know About Hypothyroidism and its Causes
written by: nelson.seafoss
Hypothyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland is unable to produce normal quantities of
thyroid hormones and therefore the result is decreased metabolism, impaired growth and feeling of
lack of energy and fatigue.
Types of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is classified according to the organ which is causing it. The various types are
termed as Primary, Secondary and Tertiary hypothyroidism.
Primary Hypothyroidism refers to that form of hypothyroidism which is caused due to some disease
of the thyroid gland that prevents it from producing the thyroid hormones. This includes
Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid
gland and damages its cells.
Radioiodine therapy for hyperthyroidism can cause excessive damage to the cells of thyroid gland
and may result in hypothyroidism.
Secondary Hypothyroidism is caused by a disease of the pituitary gland. Pituitary gland secretes the
hormone that stimulates the thyroid and is necessary for normal functioning of the thyroid gland. If
the pituitary gland has some disease, tumor or is damaged by surgery, it will result in impaired
formation of thyroid stimulating hormone and thus decreased production of thyroid hormones.
Tertiary Hypothyroidism is caused by insufficient synthesis of thyrotropin releasing hormone from
the Hypothalamus, which controls the pituitary and in turn controls the thyroid gland function.
Common Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism has many causes. It is significant that in order to stay away from hypothyroidism,
you should have in mind all the factors that may lead to this disease. Following is an account of the
various causes of hypothyroidism:
Insufficient Iodine in Diet
The most common cause is dietary insufficiency of iodine. Iodine is the most necessary component
of thyroid hormones and the major source of iodine is your diet. If you are not
eating enough iodine in your food, thyroid hormones cannot be produced and you will suffer from
hypothyroidism. This type of hypothyroidism results in goiter or swelling of the thyroid gland as
incomplete form of thyroid hormone is stored in the thyroid gland and the size of the gland
increases and appears as a lump in front of the neck.
An autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's disease involves destruction of thyroid gland by the body's
own immune system. Antibodies are produced against the cells of the thyroid gland which
ultimately destroy the cells.
Hypothyroidism can also be caused by exposure to radiation. If you are exposed to radiation, it
causes the iodine in your body to become radioactive too. This radioactive iodine becomes
concentrated in the thyroid gland and causes destruction of its cells. Therefore hypothyroidism can
be a symptom of radiation exposure.
Sometimes hypothyroidism is caused after pregnancy, often known as post-partum hypothyroidism.
In this condition a female develops thyroiditis or inflammation of the thyroid gland after delivery,
which at first presents as hyperthyroidism and then progresses to hypothyroidism. This is often
temporary but some women may get it permanently.
High Iodine Intake
High iodine intake can also cause hypothyroidism. If you are taking too much iodine it
paradoxically decreases the usage of iodine. This is due to a phenomenon called Wolff- Chaikoff
effect which states that high concentration of iodine prevents its organification and the body is
unable incorporate iodine into tyrosine to form the thyroid hormones. This results in
Chronic Stress and Hormonal Imbalance
Constant and chronic stress can induce hypothyroidism by affecting the hormonal balance in the
body. Stress releases adrenaline which causes fluctuation in the blood sugar levels. This tends to
disrupt thyroid function. Cortisol, another stress hormone causes hypothyroidism by reducing the
ability of liver to clear estrogen formed during stress. High estrogen levels decrease levels of active
T3 hormone. Therefore stress is a significant suppressor of thyroid function, thereby decreasing the
production of thyroid hormones.
Thyroid gland controls metabolism by the secretion of hormones. If these hormones are not
produced in adequate quantity, it causes hypothyroidism. Diet, drugs, various diseases and lifestyle
factors can affect the function of this highly important gland which can be prevented by taking
adequate precautions in diet and lifestyle by reducing stress and eating healthy foods.
Brief Introduction to Hypothyroidism: Understanding the Most Under-Diagnosed Medical
Hypothyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid gland fails to produce the sufficient amount
thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency is found to be a common trigger to the thyroid gland's
malfunction. As of 2011, an estimate of about 200 million people around the world have been
diagnosed with it. 10% of this population are mostly likely female.
A brief overview
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ situated in the front area of the neck. The hormone it
generates is responsible for controlling the body's usage of energy. Simply put, it manages your
Having a low-iodine diet increases the gland's susceptibility to damage. This mostly occurs in
regions where a nutrient-packed meal cannot be afforded by most people on a regular basis. Such
would include a majority of third world countries.
"Nutritional" hypothyroidism is rare in countries like the US. But nevertheless, an approximate of
10 million Americans still suffer from having an underactive thyroid gland. Instead of lack in
iodine, autoimmune thyroiditis is a common culprit in cases in the US. Otherwise known as
Hashimoto's disease, the problem lies in the body's immune system. Antibodies attack the gland and
weakens it until it is ultimately rendered incapable of producing enough hormones.
Another cause is the surgical removal of some, if not all, of the thyroid gland's portions. Naturally,
the more is taken from the gland, the more it minimizes secretion of hormones. The method of
taking out the gland is performed to treat thyroid cancer.
Are there common symptoms?
Hypothyroidism does not project obvious symptoms on the onset that's why it goes unnoticed until
later in the person's 50s. A damaged thyroid gland usually doesn't induce pain.
Since the hormone's main function is to keep the body's metabolism in check, fatigue and weight
gain are common indicators for the condition. People with poor gland function are prone to
drowsiness and depression. Their physical appearance is affected, too. They tend to have dry skin
and brittle nails. And even when they eat normally, they will still pack some pounds and will find it
difficult to shed them off since the body cannot produce the necessary levels of energy to stimulate
active metabolic rates.
If not given treatment, the body will continue to decline, as evidenced by impaired senses of smell
and taste. The affected person will eventually develop sluggish speech.
Who is affected and how is it treated?
The condition normally appears later in adulthood. There have been reported cases of
hypothyroidism in children and teenagers, although seldom occurring.
However, women remain in higher risks of thyroid hormone deficiency. It is an effect of pregnancy
wherein the body's hormone levels are in a constant state of flux. The imbalance might not
normalize even after pregnancy, thus the disorder.
What's good about hypothyroidism is that it is easy to detect and also easy to treat.
Should symptoms appear, immediately consult a doctor. A physical exam and blood test can
determine if your thyroid hormone level is lower than required. If it is, an immediate treatment
would be a prescribed dosage of thyroid hormone pills to improve it.
Severe, untreated hypothyroidism might lead to myxedema coma and is treated with hormone
replacement and steroid medications.
It may seem harmless in its initial state, but hypothyroidism can greatly affected your lifestyle
if you don't do something about it. The best treatment is always prevention. Eat the right food
with the right amount of nutrients. Do not ignore any symptoms, if there be. Remember: to be
healthy, live healthy.
Hypothyroidism - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
A common condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce adequate thyroid hormone is called
as Hypothyroidism. It's a more common thyroid disorder among the people, far more common than
hyperthyroidism (an over-active thyroid). Here's a detailed overview of hypothyroidism disease.
Hypothyroidism is often the end result of Hashimoto's disease, also called long-term thyroiditis
(inflammation of the thyroid-gland). In this disease, the body's defense mechanism doesn't
recognize that the thyroid gland is a part of your body's own tissues and starts attacking the thyroidgland as if it were a foreign body. The attack by the body's immune system affects thyroid
functionality and also sometimes damages the gland. Other reasons for hypothyroidism include:
• Radiation - Radioactive-iodine used to cure hyperthyroidism or any other radiation treatments for
cancer near chest or neck region can damage the thyroid gland.
• Surgery - Removing thyroid gland due to cancer or any other thyroid gland disorders can lead to
• Viruses and bacteria - Microbial infections that depress the production of thyroid hormone usually
trigger long term hypothyroidism.
• Medication - Lithium, iodides or nitroprussides can cause an under active thyroid. Patients who
start using these medicines are observed closely by their physicians and this side-effect is quite rare.
• Malfunction of pituitary gland - This is usually a rare condition where the pituitary gland does not
produce sufficient TSH to induce the production of T4 by thyroid gland.
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms and the level of severity of the disease may vary greatly and depend upon the
extent of thyroid deficiency. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
• Fatigue and body weakness
• Muscle cramps
• Unusual Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight
• Poor appetite
• Goiter (enlarged thyroid-gland)
• Dry skin and hair loss
• Irregular or even heavy menstruation.
• Depression and memory loss
• Sluggishness and slowed mental activity
• Increased blood ldl cholesterol levels
The history as well as physical examination usually reveals the typical signs and physical symptoms
that suggest an under-active thyroid; however, laboratory analysis is essential to determine the
reason behind hypothyroidism.
Diagnostic tests include testing the blood-levels of:
• TSH or Thyroid stimulating hormone - This hormone will probably be elevated in the event of
hypothyroidism. The TSH check is the most sensitive examination for the proper diagnosis of
• Free T4 (free-thyroxin), T3 thyroid hormones - Thyroid hormonal levels in the blood will likely be
low, however with minor, or "sub-clinical" hypothyroidism, the hormonal levels could be in the low
Hypothyroidism can be treated easily using thyroid hormone medication. The most efficient and
trusted thyroid replacement hormone is synthetic or man-made hormone which contains
levothyroxine. After commencing the treatment, you'll have regular sessions with your physician to
ensure that you have the suitable dose of medication. In case your hypothyroidism is a result of
Hashimoto's thyroiditis, you may require treatment throughout your lifetime.
Treatment while being pregnant
is particularly crucial since thyroid problems may damage the fetus. If you ever develop
hypothyroidism while pregnant, treatment needs to be started right away. If you've hypothyroidism
before you get pregnant, your thyroid hormonal changes have to be examined and appropriate
medicines should be taken.
Some other natural treatment options are also available to treat this condition. Consuming kelp, a
rich source of iodine is one of the natural remedies. Vitamin B-complex, zinc, L-tyrosine, selenium,
Bladderwrack are some other natural treatment options for hypothyroidism. Regular exercise and
balanced diet are also crucial if you have thyroid issues.
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