Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland that causes the gland can not produce enough hormones. The thyroid gland is a gland located at the front of the throat. The hormones released by the thyroid gland regulate various body metabolic processes including body temperature, body calorie burn rate, and heart rate. If a person suffers from hypothyroidism, the body's metabolic processes will slow down so that the energy produced by the body will decrease. Hypothyroidism is divided into two, namely primary and secondary hypothyroidism. Primary hypothyroidism occurs because the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones due to thyroid gland abnormalities. Secondary hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is normal, but does not receive enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland (pituitary).
The thyroid gland uses iodine as a raw material for making hormones. The most important hormones produced by these glands are Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T4 hormone levels in the blood is much greater than T3. However, T4 will be converted to T3 which has higher hormone activity.
Often hypothyroidism is asymptomatic at a young age and in its early stages. However, the longer a person develops hypothyroidism, the symptoms will appear slowly. Hypothyroidism can lead to various health problems such as obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary in each person, depending on the severity of hypothyroidism suffered. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- Dry throat.
- The face is swollen.
- Dry skin.
- Weight gain increases without a clear cause.
- Tired and tired.
- More sensitive to cold weather.
- Memory disorders.
- Heartbeat slows down.
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints.
- Weak muscles.
- Cholesterol levels in the blood increases.
- Hair loss.
- Tingling and pinched nerve symptoms.
- Blurred vision.
- Hearing is reduced.
Without proper treatment, symptoms of hypothyroidism will worsen over time. If the thyroid gland is constantly stimulated by hormones from the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland will become swollen (goiter).
Although hypothyroidism often occurs in the elderly, infants and toddlers may also be exposed to hypothyroidism. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism in infants and toddlers are:
- Yellowish (jaundice). Yellowish in the baby is caused by bilirubin that can not be broken down by the liver. Bilirubin can accumulate in the human body caused by the destruction of red blood cells.
- Frequent choking.
- Big and prominent tongue.
- The face looks swollen.
- Small muscle size.
- Excessive sleep.
When hypothyroidism in infants and toddlers is not treated properly, infants and toddlers will experience problems in the diet. In addition, without good treatment, even mild hypothyroidism can cause mental development disorders of infants and toddlers.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in children and adolescents are no different from those of hypothyroidism in adults. However, hypothyroidism in children and adolescents can lead to:
- Slow growth that causes the body to short.
- Slow mental development.
- Postponement of puberty.
- Delay of permanent tooth growth.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
The causes of hypothyroidism in a person vary greatly, including among others the side effects of therapy, radiotherapy, surgery, and autoimmune diseases. Some of the most common causes of hypothyroidism are:
- Side effects of treatment of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is a disease that causes a person to produce excessive thyroid hormone from normal levels. Treatment of hyperthyroidism often uses radioactive iodine and antithyroid drugs. However, sometimes side effects arise from the treatment that actually causes a person exposed to hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid surgery. Thyroid gland surgery can cause a person to lose some of the thyroid gland. This results in the production of thyroid hormones to be inhibited so that exposed to hypothyroidism, and need to get thyroid hormone for life.
- Side effects of drugs. Some side effects of drugs can cause hypothyroidism, for example lithium drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders.
- Radiotherapy. Radiotherapy, especially given to the neck region, can interfere with the performance of the thyroid gland and cause hypothyroidism.