Symptoms and treatment of hypothyroidism — low thyroid function

Hypothyroidism is a disease whose signs are caused by an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones in the patient’s body. In most cases, this abnormal phenomenon is caused by dysfunction or complete “shutdown” of this endocrine organ. It is noteworthy that the reduced function of the thyroid gland, the symptoms and treatment of which will be discussed below, can be primary (associated with a violation of the organ itself) and secondary (caused by dysfunction of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, affecting the production of thyroid-stimulating hormones).

Why does the disease develop

The thyroid gland is an endocrine organ located in the larynx area in front of the trachea. The thyroid gland consists of two equal-sized lobes and is “responsible” for the production of iodized (thyroxine, triiodothyronine) hormones and calcitonin.

The main tasks of these biological substances are::

  • regulation of metabolic processes in the body;
  • monitoring the work of the central nervous system;
  • “caring” for heat balance;
  • stimulating the removal of potassium and excess water from the body;
  • increased burning of fat cells, as well as the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates;
  • participation in oxidative processes.

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common endocrine pathologies. So, according to medical statistics, its clinical manifestations are diagnosed in every 8 women and every 2 men on the planet (mostly older than 65 years). In addition, low thyroid function is a disease that is often encountered by people living in regions remote from the sea (oceanic) coast.

The main reason for the development of hypothyroidism is chronic autoimmune thyroiditis – an inflammatory disease of the thyroid gland caused by a violation of the body’s defenses – the production of autoantibodies that “attack” a healthy endocrine organ.

Other factors that provoke symptoms of reduced thyroid function include::

  • congenital hypoplasia or aplasia of the endocrine organ;
  • genetically determined violation of thyroid-stimulating hormone biosynthesis;
  • previous thyroid surgery;
  • fight against toxic goiter with radioactive iodine;
  • iodine deficiency in the body caused by insufficient intake of this valuable substance along with food (cretinism, endemic goiter);
  • long-term therapy with certain medications;
  • chronic infections and tumors of the thyroid gland (tuberculosis, abscess, thyroiditis).

The causes of signs of secondary hypothyroidism are often inflammatory processes, benign or malignant neoplasms, necrosis, hemorrhage, or injuries of the pituitary gland (hypothalamus), as well as removal of these glands with subsequent deficiency of pituitary thyroid-stimulating hormone and tyroliberin produced by the hypothalamus.

Pathogenesis of reduced thyroid function: against the background of insufficient amount of hormones produced by this organ, there is a violation of metabolic processes in the body, the cardiovascular and excretory systems suffer, the organs of the gastrointestinal tract are affected, patients face sexual dysfunction and mental disorders.

Clinical picture of pathology

For a long time, hypothyroidism can be asymptomatic, so patients do not seek help from endocrinologists and “start” the disease.

At a certain stage of its development, the disease begins to “declare itself” with such signs::

  • drowsiness, weakness, lethargy, increased fatigue;
  • intolerance to heat and cold;
  • hair loss, increased dryness of the skin;
  • puffiness;
  • rapid growth of body weight;
  • disorders of the digestive tract – frequent constipation, diarrhea, diarrhea;
  • liver enlargement;
  • increased bone fragility;
  • deterioration of the adrenal glands;
  • slagging of the body;
  • constant hot flashes or, on the contrary, sensations of trembling in the body;
  • decreased appetite, impaired bile flow;
  • women suffering from hypothyroidism face hormonal disruptions, men-with impotence and a decrease in sexual desire.

The most severe consequence of reduced thyroid function is the so – called hypothyroid coma, a pathological condition that occurs mainly in elderly patients in the absence of the necessary treatment. This phenomenon is associated with a sharp loss of consciousness and inhibition of the work of all organs (systems) of the body.

The onset of hypothyroid coma can be caused by factors such as trauma, hypothermia, acute infectious diseases, myocardial infarction, and so on.

How to identify the disease

The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made by an endocrinologist based on the patient’s complaints, as well as after a comprehensive assessment of the results obtained during the examination. The main diagnostic measures that allow you to identify reduced thyroid function are::

  • a blood test for the content of T3, T4, as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone of the pituitary gland – their indicators in case of the presence of this disease are below the “healthy” mark;
  • a biochemical blood test is designed to detect elevated levels of cholesterol and other lipids;
  • Ultrasound shows whether the thyroid gland is enlarged in size, and also allows you to detect the slightest changes in the shape and structure of this endocrine organ.

Approaches to combating hypothyroidism

The treatment of reduced thyroid function is based on hormone replacement therapy. The endocrinologist should choose the dose of drugs depending on the severity and duration of the disease, taking into account the age, gender of the patient, as well as the presence (absence) of concomitant pathologies.

Medications indicated for hypothyroidism are usually taken for life, they are well tolerated by the body and are convenient for home use. To monitor the effectiveness of drug therapy for reduced thyroid function, patients must visit an endocrinologist at least once every six months – the specialist will prescribe tests for thyroid and pituitary hormones, conduct a visual examination of the patient, and assess general changes in the state of his body under the influence of appropriate drugs.

If the symptoms of hypothyroidism are caused by a lack of iodine in food, patients are prescribed an appropriate diet, it is recommended to add iodized salt to food, and introduce seafood into the diet.

As an auxiliary therapy for hypothyroidism, endocrinologists recommend using decoctions, tinctures and infusions of medicinal herbs. Such medicinal products not only help to cope with the underlying disease, but also have a positive effect on the work of the “affected” digestive, excretory, reproductive and cardiovascular systems.

For example, the root of sabelnik copes well with the tasks set – 1 tbsp. l. crushed dry raw materials are poured with a glass of water, sent to cook on a small fire for 3-5 minutes. The medicine should be infused for half an hour, then filtered and taken according to the following scheme: three times a day for 1/3 cup before meals. The optimal duration of the course of treatment is 1 month, if necessary, you can take a week break and resume taking the decoction.

With the right therapy, the signs of hypothyroidism disappear over time. The lack of treatment of the disease in children leads to irreversible growth retardation, physical and mental development. Elderly patients face such a pathological phenomenon as hypothyroid coma.

Preventive measures for reduced thyroid function:

  • a correct diet that ensures timely “delivery” of the necessary amount of iodine to the body;
  • timely fight against various pathologies of the thyroid gland.

So, hypothyroidism-a reduced function of the thyroid gland-is a disease associated with a deficiency of thyroid-stimulating hormones in the body. This disease requires timely medication correction (hormone replacement therapy), otherwise patients may face metabolic disorders, malfunctions in the internal organs, and in severe cases – hypothyroid coma.

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