Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is a medical condition wherein the thyroid gland is not able to produce certain hormones in required amounts. The symptoms of hypothyroidism may not be visible during the early stages, making it hard to diagnose early on. However, it can cause severe health problems, including obesity, heart diseases, infertility, and joint problems if left untreated.
The treatment of hypothyroidism requires regular intake of synthetic thyroid hormone that your endocrinologist doctor will provide based on the results of your thyroid function test. The right dosage is key to keeping your thyroid in check, and it may take a while for your doctor to figure out the right dose for you.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism significantly depend on the hormone deficiency. Since the problem develops at a slow pace over the years, it can be hard to keep track of everything.
Hypothyroidism impacts your metabolism and slows it down; this can cause several problems, including fatigue, constipation, dryness in the skin, weight gain, water retention, muscle weakness, increased cholesterol, stiffness in joints, thinning hair, depression, memory problems, and enlarged goiter.
Symptoms in infants
Although hypothyroidism is mostly found in middle-aged and older women, infants can also develop this condition. The symptoms in infants can be easier to catch and must be treated immediately by an endocrinologist doctor. The most common symptoms in infants include protruding tongue, hoarse crying, umbilical hernia, yellowish skin and eyes, constipation, poor muscle strength.
Symptoms in teens or children
Hypothyroidism can also develop in children and teens due to several causes we will elaborate on below. It is imperative to get your child treated because if hypothyroidism is left untreated in children, it can significantly impact their mental growth. Some common symptoms may include fatigue, weight gain, poor growth, and delay in puberty.
What causes hypothyroidism?
There can be several causes for this condition to develop in any individual, be it infants, teens, or adults. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland have a significant impact on your body and can alter the course of your life by affecting all your primary organs over time. Let’s discuss some of the most common causes-
- Autoimmune diseases– The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Bodies of people with autoimmune diseases produce antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues, and these sometimes include the thyroid gland.
- In an over response to hyperthyroidism– People with hyperthyroidism, a condition that leads to the production of too much thyroid hormone, are treated with antithyroid medications that can have an adverse effect on the gland.
- Surgery– If you have a procedure to remove your thyroid gland or a part of it, you will need to take a synthetic hormone to keep up with the requirement.
- Radiation– Treatments for cancer and other diseases that include radiation therapy can impact your thyroid gland and render it dysfunctional.
- Certain medicines– There are several medicines used to treat psychiatric disorders that can negatively impact your thyroid gland and the hormones it produces.
Complications that can arise with hypothyroidism
There are several complications that arise with hypothyroidism. If left untreated for a long time, it can result in goiter, severe heart problems, mental health issues, peripheral neuropathy, myxedema, infertility, and congenital disabilities. It is especially critical to visit an endocrinologist doctor if your infant shows signs of hypothyroidism, as it can hamper their physical and mental growth.
Timely treatment and regular tests are essential to keeping your hypothyroidism in check. Seek medical attention right away if you have any of the symptoms or feel tired for no reason.