FAQ-hypothyroidism in 2020

1. What causes hypothyroidism?

One of the common causes of thyroid disorders is autoimmune diseases.

In autoimmune disease the immune cells of the body will attack body’s own healthy cells.

If the immune cells starts to attack the cells of thyroid gland like it happens in Hashimotos thyroiditis it will cause hypothyroidism.

The other causes of hypothyroidism are:

  • RADIATION TO THE NECK
  • IODINE DEFICIENCY
  • REMOVAL OF THYROID GLAND
  • CERTAIN MEDICINES LIKE Amiodarone, lithium ,tyrosine kinase inhibitors etc

 

  • PREGNANCY
  • CONGENITAL HYPOTHYROIDISM
  • THYROIDITIS OR INFLAMMATION OF THYROID GLAND
  • PITUITARY GLAND DISORDER
  • HYPOTHALAMUS DISORDER

 

2. What happens if hypothyroidism is left untreated?

Thyroid hormone has many important functions which are crucial for living a healthy life.

In hypothyroidism there is less or no amount of thyroid hormone in the body which causes the various signs and symptoms.

 If this disorder is left untreated it can lead to various complications:

  • – Excessive weight gain and obesity – obesity itself can lead to various complications such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis etc.
  • – Heart problems – decrease in the heart rate and decreased cardiac output this can result in poor perfusion of various organs in the body.
  • – Atherosclerosis – high levels of cholesterol will cause atherosclerosis of blood vessels which makes the patient prone for getting strokes, heart attacks etc.
  • – Damage to the nerves.
  • – Damage to the kidneys – this occurs as a result of reduced blood supply to the kidneys due to decreased cardiac output and can also occur due to atherosclerosis of the renal artery.

 

  • – Infertility – thyroid hormone is required for the metabolism of the sex hormone in the body.

Hypothyroidism will cause erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, abnormal shape of sperms, etc. In male and menstrual irregularities in females.

  • – In pregnant patient untreated hypothyroidism will cause miscarriage, preterm labor etc. and the newborn of the hypothyroid patient may have impaired growth and mental development.
  • – In very severe form the untreated hypothyroidism will cause slowing of all the processes in the body and eventually the patient enters into a state of come.

This is known as Myxedema coma and it is a medical emergency.

It can cause progressive mental deterioration and even death.

3. Can hypothyroidism be cured?

  • Hypothyroidism occurs due to underactive thyroid gland which fails to produce the thyroid hormone and the levels of thyroxine in the blood is less which will cause all the symptoms.
  • The treatment of hypothyroid will be administration of exogenously prepared thyroxine hormone in the form of levothyroxine tablets.
  • This will provide the body with normal amount of the thyroxine required to bring about its various functions.

4. What foods should be avoided with hypothyroidism?

  • Food which are to be avoided in hypothyroidism are:
  • cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy etc these vegetables contain goitrogens so can lead to formation of goiter. And also during digestion of these vegetables they block the iodine utilisation by the thyroid gland.
  • Soy foods: soybeans,  tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso , etc
  • Fatty  foods: butter, margarine, mayonnaise, fatty cuts of meat, fast food.
  • Sugary food
  • Packaged foods
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco

5. What are side effects of levothyroxine?

Due to allergy to levothyroxine

  • – Skin itching,rash or redness of skin.
  • – Difficulty in swallowing.
  • – Swelling of the face, eyes, lips.
  • – Difficulty in breathing.

Due to overdose of levothyroxine

  • Hyperthyroidism-anxiety, irritability, weight loss, lack of sleep, increased appetite, confusion etc

 

  • Extreme tiredness and fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Fast or slow irregular heart beats

6. How did you know hypothyroidism?

The diagnosis of hypothyroidism can be simply made on the basis of serum TSH levels.

 

 

INTERPRETATION OF TSH LEVELS.

 

TSH levels in milliunits per liter

Interpretation

0.4 mU/L

Normal

2.5 mU/L

At risk of hypothyroidism

4.0 mU/L

Mild hypothyroidism

10.0 mU/L

Hypothyroidism.

Reference range for TSH levels is 0.4 mU/L to 4.0 mU/L.

7. Does hypothyroidism cause hair loss?

  • Thyroid hormone is required for regeneration of rapidly growing cells like skin and hair.
  • Hair follicle cells are very sensitive to low thyroid levels so in hypothyroidism the decreased amount of thyroxine will hamper the regeneration of hair follicular cells which causes hair fall and thinning of the hair.
  • Hair loss is seen at regions like scalp, eyebrows (lateral portion), and other body parts
  • once the patient is started on hypothyroid treatment the hair loss can be reversed..

8. How does hypothyroidism affect the brain?

Thyroid hormone has a role in differentiation of the brain cells and myelination of the nerves. Thyroid hormone is required for metabolic processes in all the organs in the body including the brain.

In hypothyroidism as the thyroid hormone levels are low it will affect the brain and causes changes in the brain functions.

Hypothyroidism mainly causes mood and memory changes.

The various symptoms the patient will present with are:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Impaired memory
  • Depression
  • Lack of interest
  • Slow thinking process

The CNS changes can be reversible after starting treatment with levothyroxine.

9. Does Hypothyroidism get worse over time?

  • Hypothyroidism if left untreated over time may cause various complications.
  • It can cause heart problems, nerve damage, atherosclerosis, infertility, kidney damage, coma and even death.

10. What are the benefits of taking levothyroxine?

  • Benefits of levothyroxine are:
  • Levothyroxine is synthetic form of the T4 (thyroxine), when it enters the body it will bring about all the functions just like the endogenous thyroid hormone.
  • Levothyroxine has less side effects.
  • Easy to administer as it has to be taken orally in the form of tablet.
  • Reverses  almost all the symptoms of the hypothyroidism.
  • Acts rapidly therefore can be used in the form of intravenous injections for treatment of Myexedema coma
  • It is safe during pregnancy.
  • Safe in patients with renal failure.

11. Can thyroid pills cause weight loss?

  • The thyroid pills as such do not cause weight loss.
  • In patients with hypothyroidism as the basal metabolism is reduced and all the metabolic processes in the body are slows down there occur increased weight gain.
  • When such a patient is started on levothyroxine therapy the bodies metabolic functions starts to function normally and this will result in decrease in the weight.

12. What is the difference between Hashimoto's disease and hypothyroidism?

  • Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in this the immune cells attacks the cells of thyroid gland, the result of this is that the amount of thyroid hormone prduced becomes less and therefore cause hypothyroidism.
  • on the other hand Hypothyroidism is a condition where in the thyroid gland is not producing or releasing enough of hormones for proper functioning of the body.
  • Hypothyroidism can be caused by various factors and the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

13. Does levothyroxine make you tired?

  • If levothyroxine is given in proper dose it will not make u feel tired.
  • If the drug is take in excess this will result in the patient to become hyperthyroid.
  • And now the patient may present with symptoms of hyperthyroidism which include fatigue and tiredness.

14. Can hypothyroidism go away?

  • No the hypothyroidism do not go away as the most common cause of hypothyroidism is autoimmune disease which destroys the tthyroid gland this cannot be cured.
  • But the symptoms that occurs due to the reduced thyroid levels can be made to go away by giving the patient levothyroxine.
  • In some cases of mild  hypothyroidism  it may  be possible for the disorder to go away by starting the treatment.

15. How do you get energy with hypothyroidism?

  • Normally the thyroid hormone regulates the various metabolic processes and provides the body with energy.
  • In case of hypothyroidism where the levels of thyroid hormone in the body are reduced it causes decreased supply of energy to the body and the person feels fatigue and
  • These patient should take the following steps to get energy:
  • Indulge in mild to moderate amount of exercise.
  • Do brisk walking or try aerobic exercises.
  • Eat proper healthy diet.
  • Avoid oily, sugary foods and foods which can hamper the thyroid hormone production such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnip etc.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid tobacco

16. How do you feel with hypothyroidism?

common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are:

  1. FATIGUE, TIREDNESS
  2. SLOWED IRREGULAR HEART RATE
  3. WEIGHT GAIN AND OBESITY
  4. INCREASED SENSITIVITY TO COLD  
  5. ELEVATED BLOOD CHOLESTEROL LEVEL
  6. CONSTIPATION
  7. DRY AND ITCHY SKIN
  8. THINNING HAIR AND HAIR FALL
  9. PUFFINESS OF FACE
  10. MUSCLE ACHES
  11. JOINT PAIN AND SWELLING
  12. IRREGULAR MENSTRUAL PERIODS
  13. IMPAIRED MEMORY FUNCTION
  14. DEPRESSION OR LOW MOOD
  15. GOITER
  16. HOARSENESS OF VOICE

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