How to prevent death in case of hypofunction of the thyroid gland

Hypofunction of the thyroid gland is a disease that has arisen as a result of insufficient secretion of the thyroid gland, or a complete stop in its work. The prefix ” hypo ” (from Greek – “under”) in this case means a decrease in the functional activity of the thyroid gland. The result is a deficiency of thyroid hormones.

A disease caused by an underactive thyroid gland is called hypothyroidism. In the adult population, signs of this pathology are observed in approximately 1%, and men get sick 5 times less often than women. In people over the age of 60, the disease is already diagnosed in 4%.

Causes of the disease

Iodine directly affects the functioning of the thyroid gland in humans. A person receives ions of this substance during meals. Hypothyroidism occurs when there is not enough iodine in the body.

Doctors talk about the following reasons for the development of the disease:

  • problems with the thyroid gland caused by various inflammatory processes;
  • remote thyroid gland;
  • taking medications that slow down the work of the body ( Mercazolil );
  • severe iodine deficiency;
  • trauma and neuroinfection of the brain;
  • lack of brain hormones due to trauma or inflammation of the hypothalamus system;
  • radioactive iodine therapy;
  • violations of intrauterine embryonic development, due to which the thyroid gland may not be at all, or it may develop incorrectly;
  • autoimmune thyroiditis.


There are 4 types of hypothyroidism according to the level of violations:

  1. Primary ( thyroid ) – the most common form, characterized by a pathological process occurring in the tissues of the thyroid gland. This causes a deficiency of T3 and T4.
  2. Secondary (pituitary form), associated with loss of pituitary function and reduced thyrotropin production .
  3. Tertiary (hypothalamic), arising from destructive changes in the tissues of the hypothalamus.
  4. The transport (tissue, peripheral) type of hypothyroidism, caused by the loss of sensitivity of organ tissues to hormones, is produced by the thyroid gland. Occurs very rarely.

The disease also happens:

  • Congenital, caused by a mutation of the gene responsible for the correct development of the thyroid gland, or a congenital malformation of the gland.
  • Acquired (myxedema) when hypofunction of the thyroid gland arose during life. The disease after removal of the thyroid gland also belongs to this group.

Hypothyroidism is divided into the following types according to severity:

  • Latent, characterized by the presence of TSH at a high level, with a normal content of thyroid hormones. Symptoms do not appear in this phase.
  • Manifest , characterized by a high level of thyroid-stimulating hormone and a simultaneous lack of thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Symptoms are pronounced, sometimes partially manifested.
  • Compensated, when the patient is undergoing treatment, and thanks to this, all indicators are normal.
  • Decompensated, when, despite treatment, the patient has both symptoms and a lack of thyroid hormones.
  • Complicated, if the disease is severe and leads to other health problems (cretinism, myxedema, secondary pituitary adenoma).

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

With hypofunction of the thyroid gland, a number of characteristic signs occur:

  • decrease in body temperature,
  • chills,
  • swelling,
  • overweight,
  • lethargy, slowness,
  • depression, frequent mood swings,
  • problems with the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal tract),
  • diseases of the cardiovascular system,
  • memory impairment,
  • split ends and brittle nails
  • violation of the menstrual cycle in women, sometimes the occurrence of infertility,
  • low pressure.

Often people do not respond to such first signs of thyroid hypofunction as drowsiness, fatigue and reduced ability to work. If left untreated, it can cause a life-threatening condition called myxedema.

Symptoms of congenital hypothyroidism appear at the 12th week of a baby’s life:

  • intermittent sleep,
  • poor appetite, slow weight gain,
  • indifference to what is happening around,
  • chills,
  • problems with the stool, in particular constipation,
  • reduced body temperature.


The presence of a disease such as hypothyroidism cannot be characterized by the presence of only one symptom. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed when several symptoms appear at the same time.

To be 100% sure of the diagnosis, the endocrinologist can prescribe the following types of diagnostics:

  • external examination, history taking;
  • examination for the level of the hormones thyroxine, triiodothyronine and TSH;
  • blood chemistry;
  • ultrasound;
  • palpation of the thyroid gland;
  • scintigraphy;
  • fine needle puncture biopsy;
  • x-ray;
  • radioisotope scanning;
  • tomography;
  • MRI.


  1. Replacement therapy with hormonal drugs (L-thyroxine, thyreocomb , tereocom , bagothyrox , eutiroks ). This is the generally accepted and most effective method of treatment for both adults and children. She is appointed for life.
  2. Surgical intervention. Resection of the thyroid gland is recommended in case of an increase in the size of the goiter, the impossibility of substitution therapy due to medical indications, relapse after passing the drug course.
  3. Therapy with radioactive iodine preparations (” Betadine “, “Iodide”).
  4. Physiotherapeutic methods: iodine-bromine, oxygen, ozone baths, thalassotherapy, vibrovacuum therapy.
  5. Diet. The diet for hypothyroidism should consist of food rich in proteins and fiber, vitamins. Preference should be given to steamed dishes.
  6. Homeopathy. Very long treatment, sometimes more than a year ( Spongia , Lachesis , Tarentula ).


Preventive measures most often include iodine therapy, namely the use of food supplements and medicines containing large amounts of iodine. Now in stores there is salt with a potassium iodate content of 40 ± 15 mg per 1 kg. This substance does not volatilize during long-term storage of salt and even during heat treatment of food, which gives it a number of undeniable advantages.

For the prevention of hypothyroidism, it is extremely important to introduce champion foods in iodine content into the diet: seaweed, prunes, spinach, cranberries, and beets. In addition, you need to add to the menu products such as boiled eggs, dairy products, bread, confectionery, beans, cheese, strawberries.

It is worth knowing that the absorption of iodine by the body occurs only with sufficient content in the diet of iron, protein, zinc, vitamins of groups E and A.

In addition to correcting the diet, attention should also be paid to stabilizing the emotional state, since the thyroid gland reacts to nervous strain, stress and insomnia.

Prognosis and possible complications

Treatment of hypothyroidism should be started as early as possible, at the first symptoms, in order to prevent serious complications, especially in children.

Under the condition of daily intake of thyroid hormones, the prognosis is favorable: patients do not differ in quality of life from healthy people. If the disease is neglected and its treatment is not performed, then a huge number of diseases can develop, up to myxedematous coma. This is the most severe, with a high percentage of deaths, complication of hypothyroidism.

Therefore, it is very important to contact an endocrinologist immediately when symptoms of hypothyroidism appear.

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