Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid means the thyroid gland could not produce enough thyroid hormone called thyroxin. In medical definition, a hypo means beneath, or less than normal, deficient. The thyroid gland is one most important part of our system works to produce hormone thyroxin needed by the body. Too little hormone thyroxin secreted by the gland into the bloodstream is hypothyroidism. It may be caused by poor iodine intake especially in poorly developed countries where iodized salt is not implemented; in other cases, it is caused by auto-immune diseases wherein your body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Clinical research in medicine still did not find the real cause of auto-immune diseases. While in the opposite side, too much or over production of the thyroid hormone means hyperthyroidism, both can cause many complications and health problems in the body such as heart diseases.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped lump in front of the neck below the Adam’s apple and functions to secrete the so called hormone thyroxin. After the hormone thyroxin is secreted into the bloodstream, it goes to the other organ the liver and the kidneys where it is converted into its active form triiodothyronine. This thyroid hormone has vital role in regulating the body’s digestive function and metabolic rate, bone, brain and mental development. Thyroid hormone triiodothyronine(T3) and thyrosine(T4) are thyroxine-based hormone produced by the thyroid gland. The production of thyroid hormone thyroxine and triiodothyronine involves the hypothalamus in the brain, the pituitary and the thyroid glands. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone secreted by the hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to produce thyroid stimulating hormones which also stimulates the thyroid gland for the production of thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
There are many complications for hypothyroidism if left untreated:
· Heart diseases – Hypothyroid patients can develop heart problems due to Low Density Cholesterol (LDL) easily accumulate for people with underactive thyroid. If you have had a hypothyroidism, be sure to have a regular check of your blood test for TSH T3 and T4. Ask the doctor’s advice about your medication whether it is enough or need to increase your dosage. Keep track of the information from your doctor about your status. There is also much helpful information in the internet to determine lifestyle changes to avoid any further complication.
· Goiter – is the enlargement in front of the neck below the Adam’s apple resulting from the swelling of the thyroid gland. Goiter is the most common symptom of hypothyroidism. A goiter may be associated by both hypothyroidism (a condition that is low thyroid hormone is produced) or hyperthyroidism (too much hormone), so it is very important to know the root whether it is a hypo or hyperthyroidism.
· Mental Disorders – A hypothyroid patients commonly experience mental disorders such as poor memory of the recent event, depression, anxiety, insomnia and inability to concentrate.
· Muscle and joint pains
· High sensitivity to cold
· Dry skin and hair
· Pregnant women possibility of child defects
These are just some of the many complications for being a hypothyroidism. If you are diagnosed as a hypothyroid, it is crucial to determine the best treatment suitable for your problem. Everyone has personal necessity of nutrients for the body. If we all know the exact nutrients we need and don’t need, then we don’t have any health problem for life. Foods such as fruit and vegetables alone can be a treatment for any health issue. The only thing is that we don’t know the exact one and amount of nutrients needed. The truth is that all that is made from these over the counter drug came from plants and animals scientifically researched. If you are advised to take thyroid hormone replacement, consult your doctor for lab test to make sure of the correct dosage to be taken daily.