Thyroid Deficiency

The thyroid is the main regulatory gland located in the throat area, behind the Adam’s apple. Shaped like the letter “H,” the thyroid’s main functions are to secrete hormones that are needed to improve metabolism, foster growth and development, and act on blood vessels to determine temperature in the body. If the organ is compromised, it stops secreting the needed amount of thyroid hormones that the body requires, resulting in thyroid deficiency syndrome that causes cellular metabolism to drop, resulting in several dysfunctions throughout the body. Once the metabolism recedes, the intake of calories slows down, and excess calories are stored in the body as fat. The same happens with the heart, when metabolism causes its functions to slacken. When this occurs, it causes the circulatory to slow down, which can be dangerous, particularly in extreme cases when it diminishes the presence of oxygen in the brain cells. Thyroid dysfunction occurs mainly in women, after 40 years of age, and one of every eight women will suffer from thyroid dysfunction during their life. Men are also prone to develop thyroid dysfunction.

Thyroid Deficiency Symptoms

Thyroid deficiencies can manifest a variety of symptoms. If you notice any of the following symptoms, consult with your medical professional immediately.

  • Gaining weight
  • Mental Fatigue
  • High cholesterol
  • Bladder irregularity
  • Joint Ache
  • Dryness of skin
  • Constipation due to slow intestinal peristalsis
  • Low blood pressure
  • Inversed reaction to temperature (feeling cold when you are supposed to feel warm)
  • Depression
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Loss of hair
  • Tiredness
  • Frail nails that are prone to break
  • Slow metabolism

Thyroid Deficiency Causes

A thyroid deficiency occurs when the thyroid is not producing an adequate amount of hormones for the body, which can be due to a number of different causes.

  • The most common cause are autoimmune deficiencies, of which Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most recurrent. Under Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body is unable to correctly identify the thyroid’s cells, therefore producing antibodies that attack these very cells, causing the inflammation of the thyroid gland until it is permanently damaged, and thus altering the regular secretion of thyroid hormones.
  • Thyroid Deficiency can also occur during pregnancy and post-labor, where the thyroid gland is sometimes attacked by antibodies. However, this particular scenario tends to dissipate after the post-labor period.
  • Another cause is due to the consumption of food produce poor in iodine; most commonly preeminent in communities located far away from the coast, usually in Third World countries. Also, the use of radioactive iodine, which is used for certain medical treatments, has been known to be a cause of thyroid deficiencies.
  • Lastly, the use of certain drugs like alpha-interferon (used to treat hepatitis B and C), lithium (used to treat mental patients), interleukin-2 (used to treat leukemia), etc, are among the most recurrent.

Thyroid Deficiency Diagnosis

Diagnoses of thyroid deficiencies are determined by means of medical observation.

  • Patients are slower, speech is muffled, and eyelids are heavy.
  • Also, there is often a marked increase of body fat.
  • This initial medical assessment is accompanied by laboratory analysis of the thyroid hormones and ultrasounds or a CAT scan.
  • Lastly, during the physical examination of the throat it can be established that the thyroid gland is swollen or hypertrophic.

Thyroid Deficiency Treatment

Treatment for a thyroid deficiency lasts for life. Treatment typically consists of replacing the thyroid’s hormones through a variety of synthetic substitutes that are taken orally.