Hypothyroidism is a situation in which the production of thyroid hormones is insufficient. It is more frequent in women than in men.
Causes of hypothyroidism
The primary hypothyroidism is the alteration of the thyroid gland itself and is by far the most frequent cause. There are multiple reasons. The most common is autoimmune destruction (by antibodies that are proteins that your body produces and attach to the thyroid can alter its function) or diseases that produce inflammation of the thyroid. It can also be produced by iodine alternations. Sometimes it appears after removing the thyroid in a surgery or after treatment with radioactive to stop excessive thyroid function. It can also be produced by some drugs such as amiodarone, lithium, interferon ... Another cause is that other glands located in the brain that are responsible for stimulating the thyroid to work.
In cases in which hypothyroidism arises as a result of a malfunction of the pituitary or hypothalamus we speak of secondary or tertiary hypothyroidism. However, this is difficult to occur and is a rare cause.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Thyroid hormones act in many organs and there are all kinds of manifestations that can appear. It is common to see extreme tiredness, constipation, abnormal hair loss, menstrual disorders, changes in the skin, growth retardation in children, slowing down in speech, thinking and lack of memory, anemia ...
The diagnosis is made by an analytical that allows to calculate the levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid stimulating hormone. When the thyroid fails, there is an increase in thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH in the blood. There is a common situation known as subclinical hypothyroidism in which your stimulant hormone levels are elevated although thyroid hormone levels are normal and it is because thyroid failure is mild. In the case that you are pregnant, the normal values are different than in the rest of the population because you need a higher amount of thyroid hormone. When your levels of thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroid hormones are low, the alteration is in the brain regions responsible for stimulating the thyroid.
The treatment is carried out with some tablets containing thyroid hormone, which you will take on an empty stomach and which are absorbed in the intestine. These have the same function as the hormone itself. The dose you receive will depend on the severity of the hypothyroidism, your age, your weight and if you have heart problems. To know if the dose is correct, an analytical test should be carried out 6 weeks after having started the treatment and after 3-6 months until reaching your maintenance dose and then it will be necessary to perform regular, usually annual, checks, but this may vary. If a subclinical hypothyroidism is present, it is recommended to start treatment when the stimulating hormone exceeds 10 , if the figures are intermediate, the doctor must assess the appropriate treatment for each situation.