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The Various Types of Hypothyroidism

Primary hypothyroidism

The common cause of primary hypothyroidism is the Hashimoto disease. The Hashimoto diseases causes the body’s immune system to attack the thyroid. Other possibilities that can bring about primary hypothyroidism are lack of iodine, radioactive drugs that you take to treat hypothyroidism, giving birth (common in women who are above 50) surgical removal of the thyroid gland and a congenital disease.

Depending on the severity of the disease the symptoms of Primary hypothyroidism display themselves very slowly. Some of the symptoms that you may notice are:

  • lethargy
  • muscle weakness
  • extreme weight gain
  • depression
  • constipation and fatigue

Learn all about hypothyroidism causes here

Symptoms alone aren’t sufficient enough for one to be able to diagnose Primary hypothyroidism, the afflicted will have their blood tested to determine the levels of free thyroxine and thyroid stimulating hormone. There are other occasions where a disease affects the amount of thyroid produced, once the disease is treated the amount of thyroid should resume to normal levels in the blood. Such occurrences do not need to be treated with thyroid hormone therapy because it can be very harmful.

Successful treatment should have the patient resume to a euthyroid state. Levothyroxine is used to treat Primary hypothyroidism, tri-iodothyronine should be avoided because it may be harmful because there is no scientific evidence of how helpful it is in primary hypothyroidism management. There are different kinds of foods that affect the medication, the doctor should advice on which specific diets that are suitable in treatment of Primary hypothyroidism.

Secondary hypothyroidism

There are very few cases reported of Secondary hypothyroidism. Secondary hypothyroidism is the failure of the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus in production of the thyroid. The effects on the body are quite similar to primary hypothyroidism.

Some of the causes of secondary hypothyroidism are:

  • a tumor that is located near the pituitary gland
  • radiation
  • Sheehan syndrome
  • an infected pituitary gland
  • damage to the pituitary gland because of a viral illness
  • radiation therapy

Symptoms of Secondary hypothyroidism are:

  • fatigue
  • uncontrolled and quick weight gain
  • sensitivity to cold weather
  • the hair and fingernails start to thin
  • women experience heavy flows during their monthly period
  • discomfort and pain in the joints and muscles
  • the face swells if the condition is not treated right away
  • hoarse voice
  • unable to taste or smell anything
  • constipation

Learn all about hypothyroidism symptoms here

Diagnosis involves blood tests and checking on the inflammation of the thyroid by a physician. An ultrasound may also be ordered.

Treatment of Secondary hypothyroidism is similar to primary hypothyroidism in that levothyroxine may be prescribed by a doctor. The medication prescribed will be a low dosage. Once medication is taken the symptoms should begin to elevate and the TSH levels should resume to normal. This type of medication will be continually used throughout the patient’s life. Doctor’s advice to patients is to continually take the prescribed medicine even after the symptoms disappear.

Subclinical hypothyroidism

Also known as mild thyroid failure, occurs when the patients’ blood work reveals normal levels of T4 and T3 hormones but increased TSH levels. The pituitary gland over produces TSH to stimulate the thyroid to produce normal levels of hormones. Increased values of TSH show that the patient has hypothyroidism whilst low levels of indicate hyperthyroidism.

This condition is more common in women than men and the most afflicted women are those of advanced ages above 45 years. Most women who suffer Subclinical hypothyroidism disease is mostly because they suffered from hypothyroidism. If it’s not detected and managed quickly it can become overt hypothyroidism.

Read about hypothyroidism in women here

Symptoms of Subclinical hypothyroidism are very mild or none at all. The visible symptoms are:

  • muscle cramps
  • intolerance to the cold
  • dry skin
  • sudden weight gain
  • fatigue
  • memory problems
  • depression

Some people test positive for antithyroid antibodies.

Diagnosis involves a physical exam and blood tests. A patient who has the disease can choose to either do nothing or they could accept treatment after careful research of the merits and demerits of replacement therapy.

It’s not established whether or not one should undergo treatment if they have been diagnosed with the disease. Treatment involves low doses of thyroxine. There is concern in the medical community that the thyroxine might reduce the levels of serum TSH, a patient might suffer from osteoporosis due to the lack of adequate TSH. Levothyroxine is also used to treat subclinical hypothyroidism.

Congenital hypothyroidism

This is thyroid deficiency problem that affects newborns. The new born might suffer mental retardation if the diseases isn’t detected early. In America all infants are tested for congenital hypothyroidism when they are born. The disease is more common among infant girls than boys. Other names for congenital hypothyroidism are CH, CHT, myxedema, congenital and cretinism.

One of the causes of congenital hypothyroidism is mutation of the genes. The mutation occurs before birth and prevents proper thyroid gland development whilst in the womb. It’s also possible to inherit congenital hypothyroidism. Infants who are born with this disorder can inherit it from their parents although both parents may not have a history of the disorder in their family tree. Both parents may each carry one part of the mutated genes that is passed on onto their infants.

Read about hypothyroidism in children here

Some of the common symptoms of congenital hypothyroidism in newborns are:

  • an inflamed face
  • dull look
  • poor feeding
  • swollen belly button
  • infant will rarely cry
  • pale skin
  • jaundice is prolonged
  • goiter
  • constipation
  • birth defects
  • poor growth
  • swollen hands and genitals
  • poor appetite
  • poor growth

Diagnosis of the disorder is done by a pediatric endocrinologist who will perform tests that display the amount of thyroxine, levels of thyroid stimulating hormone and a technetium on the blood.

Treatment should be successful if it’s done within two weeks of the newborns birth. It’s important to catch congenital hypothyroidism in this period because the nervous central system and the brain aren’t fully developed. Hormone replacement therapy involves levothyroxine, synthroid, levothroid and levoxyl.

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