Thyroid and Hypothyroidism


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Hypothyroidism is the disease state in humans and other animals caused by insufficient production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. Cretinism is a form of hypothyroidism found in infants.

There are many side effects of a sluggish thyroid gland and the resulting slower metabolism.

  • First of all it effects your energy level greatly, and with a slower metabolism and subsequent reduction in activity (and energy)
  • there is often unwanted weight gain.
  • Unfortunately, a person's health is effected, as well.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

About three percent of the general population is hypothyroid.[1] Factors such as iodine deficiency or exposure to Iodine-131 (I-131) can increase that risk. There are a number of causes for hypothyroidism. Historically, and still in many developing countries, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide. In iodine-replete individuals, hypothyroidism is mostly caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis, or by a lack of the thyroid gland or a deficiency of hormones from either the hypothalamus or the pituitary.

Hypothyroidism can result from postpartum thyroiditis, a condition that affects about 5% of all women within a year after giving birth. The first phase is typically hyperthyroidism. Then, the thyroid either returns to normal or a woman develops hypothyroidism. Of those women who experience hypothyroidism associated with postpartum thyroiditis, one in five will develop permanent hypothyroidism requiring life-long treatment.

Hypothyroidism can also result from sporadic inheritance, sometimes autosomal recessive.

Hypothyroidism is also a relatively common hormone disease in domestic dogs, with some specific breeds having a definite predisposition.[2]

Temporary hypothyroidism can be due to the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. A very high intake of iodine can be used to temporarily treat hypothyroidism, especially in an emergency situation. Although iodine is substrate for thyroid hormones, high levels prompt the thyroid gland to take in less of the iodine that is eaten, reducing hormone production.