Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid): Everything You Need to Know

What causes hypothyroidism?

The commonest causes of hypothyroidism are:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • radioactive iodine remedy
  • thyroid surgical procedure
  • radiation remedy
  • medicines
  • iodine deficiency

Much less widespread causes embrace:

  • pituitary problems
  • congenital illness
  • being pregnant
  • de Quervain thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Your immune system is designed to guard your physique’s cells in opposition to invading micro organism and viruses. When unknown micro organism or viruses enter your physique, your immune system responds by sending fighter cells to destroy the international cells.

Typically, your physique confuses regular, wholesome cells for invading cells. That is referred to as an autoimmune response. If the autoimmune response isn’t regulated or handled, your immune system can assault wholesome tissues. This may trigger critical medical points, together with circumstances resembling hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune situation and the most typical explanation for an underactive thyroid in america. This illness assaults your thyroid gland, inflicting injury that reduces thyroid operate.

It most frequently impacts middle-aged girls, however it might happen in males and youngsters. This situation additionally runs in households. If a member of the family has acquired a analysis of this illness, then your threat of getting it's increased.

Radioactive iodine remedy for hyperthyroidism

In case your thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, you will have a situation referred to as hyperthyroidism. Therapy for this situation goals to scale back and regulate thyroid hormone manufacturing.

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Normal remedy for hyperthyroidism makes use of radioactive iodine to destroy thyroid cells. This may increasingly trigger the degrees of your thyroid hormone to stay low completely.

Surgical elimination of your thyroid

In case your complete thyroid gland is eliminated on account of thyroid issues, you’ll develop hypothyroidism. Utilizing thyroid remedy long run is the first remedy.

If solely a portion of the gland is eliminated, your thyroid should still have the ability to produce sufficient hormones by itself. Blood exams will assist decide how a lot thyroid remedy you could want.

Radiation remedy

If you happen to’ve acquired a analysis of most cancers of the top or neck, lymphoma, or leukemia, you might have undergone radiation remedy. Radiation used for the remedy of those circumstances could sluggish or halt the manufacturing of thyroid hormone, resulting in hypothyroidism.


A number of medicines could decrease thyroid hormone manufacturing, leading to hypothyroidism. These embrace ones used to deal with psychological well being circumstances, most cancers, or coronary heart illness, resembling:

  • lithium, which treats mania in bipolar dysfunction
  • interleukin-2 (IL-2), an immunotherapy drug
  • anti-CTLA-Four medicines, which deal with melanoma
  • amiodarone (Pacerone), an antiarrhythmic drug
  • stavudine, a medicine for HIV

Iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency happens sometimes in america, however it's the most typical explanation for hypothyroidism in different components of the world. Iodine, which is required to provide thyroid hormone, is present in meals together with:

  • iodized salt
  • dairy
  • seafood
  • eggs

If in case you have iodine deficiency, you could develop swelling on the base of your neck. That is referred to as a goiter. It’s attributable to an enlarged thyroid gland.

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Pituitary problems

Hypothyroidism may additionally consequence from issues involving the pituitary gland. This small gland within the mind produces hormones that have an effect on many bodily features, together with the thyroid gland.

Issues with the pituitary gland could trigger thyroid points. Pituitary problems could consequence from:

  • pituitary tumors
  • medicines like dopamine and opioids
  • radiation remedy across the mind
  • Sheehan syndrome, which damages the pituitary gland

This sort of hypothyroidism is named secondary hypothyroidism as a result of the thyroid gland features usually. It’s much less widespread than major hypothyroidism, which is attributable to an issue with the thyroid gland.

Congenital illness

Congenital hypothyroidism is hypothyroidism that’s current in kids from delivery. It impacts between 1 in 2,000 and 1 in 4,000 newborns and is twice as widespread in females.

The situation happens when the thyroid gland develops abnormally or will not be current in any respect. Genetics or iodine deficiency could trigger this. Whereas some infants could present no signs, others will likely be much less energetic or have bother feeding.

U.S. hospitals check newborns for the situation. It’s vital to deal with congenital hypothyroidism to forestall it from delaying development or psychological growth.

Being pregnant

Round 5 to 10 % of pregnant individuals will develop postpartum thyroiditis a number of months after their being pregnant. Whereas just some will want remedy, others will develop everlasting hypothyroidism.

The next can improve the chance of postpartum thyroiditis:

  • historical past of postpartum thyroiditis
  • presence of antibodies to thyroid peroxidase within the blood
  • sort 1 diabetes

De Quervain thyroiditis

An higher respiratory an infection that damages thyroid cells could trigger De Quervain thyroiditis, an unusual situation that can also be referred to as subacute granulomatous thyroiditis. It’s most typical in girls and sometimes happens in the course of the summer season and fall.

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Signs of de Quervain thyroiditis embrace:

  • ache within the neck, jaw, and throat
  • enlarged, tender thyroid gland
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • physique ache

The situation could trigger hyperthyroidism adopted by hypothyroidism and final 2 to eight weeks. Sometimes, thyroid operate will then return to regular, although in some circumstances hypothyroidism could also be everlasting.

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