What is a Thyroid Gland?
Thyroid gland is an endocrine gland which is a butterfly-shaped gland in front of your neck just above your collarbone. Thyroid gland makes two hormones thyroxin [t4] and triiodothyronine [t3] hormone. These hormones are necessary for all the cells in your body to work normally in other words it regulate the metabolism of your body cells.
Thyroid disorders are very common and tend to occur mainly in women. Although anybody of any age can be affected.
Hypothyroidism is characterized by abnormally low thyroid hormone production. There are many disorders that result in hypothyroidism these disorders may directly or indirectly involve the thyroid gland. Because thyroid hormone affects growth, development, and many cellular processes, inadequate hormone has widespread consequences for the body.
Causes of hypothyroidism
1. Genetic reasons: you are more prone to develop hypothyroidism if you have close family member with an autoimmune disease.
2. Age: growing age can be another reason to develop hypothyroidism.
3. Autoimmune disease: The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is inflammation of thyroid gland. This is an autoimmune disorder.
4. Treatment for hyperthyroidism: treatment is given to people who have an overactive thyroid gland as radiation destroys tissues in thyroid gland it can lead to hypothyroidism.
5. Iodine deficiency: thyroid need iodine to produce thyroid hormone. As our body does not make it we need to take it into our diet. Iodized table salt is rich in iodine.
6. Use of certain medication to treat heart problems, cancer, psychiatric disease can affect thyroid hormone production.
7. Thyroid removal surgery can cause hypothyroidism.
8. Radiation therapy to neck area in certain cancers may damage thyroid cells Which is responsible for poor thyroid hormone production.
9. Pregnancy: some women can develop hypothyroidism during or after pregnancy. This can lead to miscarriage or high blood pressure in early months of pregnancy if neglected.
10. Disorders of hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism may vary depending on severity of hormone deficiency.
• Weight gain
• Excessive Sensitivity to cold
• Dry skin
• Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness and stiffness
• Puffiness of face esp. in the morning
• Hoarseness of voice
• Irregular menstrual periods.
• Hair fall and thinning of hair
• Mood swings or sadness.
• In children it can lead to poor growth and short stature
• Delayed puberty
• Poor mental development
Complications of hypothyroidism:
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to goiter, tingling and numbness of limbs, increased cholesterol levels, heart failure, and depression. Myxedema, infertility, birth defects.
Dos and don’ts of hypothyroidism:
• Do yoga, walking, and moderate exercises.
• Do take fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, dry fruits, beans, cereals, seafood, oatmeal, milk products, soya, and pulses regularly.
• Omega 3 fatty acid is very good for thyroid so try to take flax seeds, fish, walnuts, and beans in your diet.
• Limit use of cabbage, cauliflower, soybeans, and peanuts as they can interfere with the production of hormones.
• Repeat thyroid function test every 6 months.