Hypothyroidism, commonly known as an underactive thyroid, is a medical condition characterised by insufficient production of thyroid hormones.
The thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ situated in the neck, plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism, energy levels, and various essential bodily functions. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland fails to produce an adequate amount of hormones, leading to a range of symptoms that necessitate proper diagnosis and management.
While hypothyroidism can affect individuals of any gender, it is more prevalent in women than men, and its onset often occurs between the ages of 30 and 60.
Common Causes of Hypothyroidism:
- Autoimmune Disorders (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis): This condition occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, impairing its ability to produce hormones.
- Iodine Deficiency: Inadequate intake of iodine, an essential mineral, can contribute to hypothyroidism, as iodine is a key component in the synthesis of thyroid hormones.
- Medications and Treatments: Certain medications, such as lithium and amiodarone, can interfere with thyroid function and lead to hypothyroidism.
- Congenital Factors: Some people are born with a congenital thyroid disorder, causing underactive thyroid function from an early age.
Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
- Fatigue and Weakness: Individuals with hypothyroidism often experience persistent fatigue and weakness despite normal daily activities.
- Weight Gain: Unexplained weight gain, even with controlled or reduced food intake, is a common symptom.
- Cold Sensitivity: Hypothyroidism can lead to an intolerance to cold, with individuals feeling excessively chilly in normal temperatures.
- Changes in Skin, Hair, and Nails: Dry skin, brittle nails, and hair loss are common manifestations of hypothyroidism.
- Cognitive and Emotional Symptoms: Impaired memory, difficulty concentrating, and mood changes, including depression, are frequently associated with hypothyroidism.
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