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Tags: primary hypothyroidism | secondary hypothyroidism | differences

Primary Hypothyroidism and Secondary Hypothyroidism and Their Differences

By    |   Friday, 17 June 2016 03:03 PM EDT

There are two types of hypothyroidism: primary hypothyroidism and secondary hypothyroidism. Do you know the difference?

Hypothyroidism occurs when a person's thyroid is underactive, not producing enough of the thyroid hormones needed to control metabolism throughout the body.

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In primary hypothyroidism, Healthine explains, there is something wrong with the thyroid itself. The gland releases low levels of hormones, so the body doesn’t function properly because of a slowed metabolism.

Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder, is often a cause of primary hypothyroidism, says Merck. Causes might also include radioactive iodine therapy or surgery for an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism. Surgery may involve a goiter, an enlarged area in the front of the neck where they thyroid is located.

Symptoms of primary hypothyroidism are sometimes difficult to detect. The signs are associated with decreased metabolism, such as personality changes, forgetfulness, and weight gain, says Healthline. Other symptoms include sensitivity to cold, constipation, and tingling or burning sensations in the hands and feet. The voice is sometimes affected by hoarseness or slow speech. Facial puffiness may occur.

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In secondary hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland functions well, but the pituitary gland doesn't stimulate the thyroid to produce more hormones. The hypothalamus in the brain may be another culprit in causing secondary hypothyroidism, says the University of Connecticut Health Center. In that case, the brain does not stimulate the gland for more hormone production.

Secondary hypothyroidism often affects other areas of the body because the thyroid gland itself isn’t the problem. Signs may include dry skin and hair, skin depigmentation, and atrophic breasts, according to Merck. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may also result because of a deficiency in growth hormones.

Secondary hypothyroidism is less common that primary hypothyroidism.

Blood tests to measure hormone levels are used to help diagnose hypothyroidism. Primary hypothyroidism patients receive thyroid hormone replacement medication to improve levels.

Treatment of secondary hypothyroidism depends on the cause since other organs in the body are affected. Surgery could be an option in some cases.

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There are two types of hypothyroidism: primary hypothyroidism and secondary hypothyroidism. Do you know the difference?
primary hypothyroidism, secondary hypothyroidism, differences
Friday, 17 June 2016 03:03 PM
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