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Thyroid Condition: What Causes an Imbalance?

Image: Thyroid Condition: What Causes an Imbalance?
Thyroid function examination; Female doctor touching the throat of a patient in the office. (dreamstime)

Sunday, 14 Sep 2014 07:26 PM

If you have a thyroid condition, you may be wondering what caused it.

Hypothyroidism is a common disease and not at all age-specific. In this disease, the thyroid gland exhibits an inappropriate, slowed, or nonfunctioning state. As a result, the levels of thyroxin lowers in the blood. Sometimes, the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone lowers due to some reasons and thus not enough of thyroxin gets formed. Treatment includes ways to bring back the levels of thyroxin to normal, which is generally done by adding artificially synthesized levothyroxine into the blood.

In hypothyroidism, the levels of thyroxin and thyroid-stimulating hormone reduce to below normal levels. The reasons can be quite varied as the following:

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Side effect of some medicine: In this case of hypothyroidism, treatment involving frequent thyroid injections is required, but for shorter time. As the affecting medicine is stopped, the symptoms go away and the thyroid gland functioning resumes to normal on its own.

Hashimoto’s disease: In this case, the patient presents with symptoms at early stages and the treatment has to be started immediately. In some cases of Hashimoto’s disease, the thyroid gland regains its normal functioning after sometime of treatment and the symptoms of the disease disappear. Hence, the treatment can be stopped.

Removal of thyroid gland as result of radiotherapy: When the gland is absent, it is obvious that the body cannot synthesize the hormone on its own and thus treatment goes on for lifetime. The symptoms might come back when treatment is stopped. In this case, frequent visits to the doctor are required, and regular monitoring of the thyroxin levels in the blood is done to decide the required dosage of the artificial thyroid substitute, levothyroxine.

Triggered by some severe illness or infection: Here again the hypothyroidism is temporary. The symptoms wave off on their own as the main illness gets completely treated. When the duration of infection is long, thyroid treatment might be suggested to avoid complication of symptoms.

Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism: When the amount of iodine is deficient, not enough of thyroxin can be formed by the thyroid gland, and hypothyroidism is diagnosed. In cases with thyroxin levels slightly lower than normal, iodine-rich food and iodine supplements are prescribed.

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Treatment of hypothyroidism includes a prescription of levothyroxine. This chemical compound is available by varied names depending on the manufacturer’s brand. The doctor decides on the dosage by the getting the thyroid hormone lab test values. As artificial thyroid is added from outside as a treatment measure, the thyroid levels are frequently checked to adjust the dose as per the blood levels of the hormone. Doctors might also suggest iodine supplements, as iodine is important in the chemical process of forming thyroxin in the body to prevent/treat hypothyroidism.

Doses smaller than required and more than required, both can show up as varied symptoms and complications in the body. Those with severely low levels of the hormone are given injections to bring about symptomatic relief soon. Those with slightly low levels are suggested to have tablets of specific dose.

Hypothyroidism should never be ignored and timely treatment is a must to avoid otherwise possible life-threatening complications that might occur.

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If you have a thyroid condition, you may be wondering what caused it.
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2014-26-14
Sunday, 14 Sep 2014 07:26 PM
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