Tags: Thyroid Disorders | thyroid | disease | hypothyroidism

Thyroid Disease: What Is Hypothyroidism?

By    |   Friday, 12 Feb 2016 01:35 PM

Proper function of the thyroid gland is essential to good health. Thyroid disease, such as hypothyroidism, can affect many of the body’s functions.

Part of the endocrine system, the thyroid glad is a small, butterfly-shaped organ in the neck that controls metabolism. According to Ministry Health Care, the thyroid uses iodine in the body to produce hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) that affect body temperature, growth, strength, appetite, and the proper functioning of many vital organs.

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Affecting more than 10 million Americans, an underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism, is a common disorder that results in a slow metabolism. This thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce or release enough thyroid hormones. It is so common that many people are affected by hypothyroidism and remain unaware.

According to Mayo Clinic, there are several potential causes of the thyroid disease hypothyroidism. The most common cause is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Sometimes medical treatment for other issues can contribute to hypothyroidism. For instance, some cancer treatments like radiation therapy can result in an underactive thyroid and even treatment for an overactive thyroid can occasionally result in permanent hypothyroidism.

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Endocrine Web describes the symptoms of hypothyroidism, which include:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty losing weight or weight gain
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Often feeling cold when others around you do not
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Muscle weakness and aching
  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
  • Loss of memory

It is important to watch for symptoms of hypothyroidism and seek medical advice when necessary. If left untreated, symptoms usually progress over time. In rare cases, severe and life-threatening depression can result.

Patients with severe hypothyroidism are at risk for heart failure and coma, says Endocrine Web. A good working relationship with an endocrinologist can help. Although most patients are treated with a single pill each day, treatment options are many and diverse depending on individual circumstances.

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Proper function of the thyroid gland is essential to good health. Thyroid disease, such as hypothyroidism, can affect many of the body's functions.
thyroid, disease, hypothyroidism
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2016-35-12
Friday, 12 Feb 2016 01:35 PM
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