Thyroid problems can have serious consequences if left untreated. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including fatigue, digestive issues, sensitivity to cold temperatures, and menstrual irregularities. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease.
It can even be fatal in severe cases. Hypothyroidism is quite common, affecting approximately 4.6% of people in the US. People with hypothyroidism may gain weight and feel tired, but some may not have any symptoms at all. Other causes of hypothyroidism include thyroid surgery, radiation therapy, some medicines, and thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid). Some people may be born with hypothyroidism, which is known as congenital hypothyroidism. The most common symptom of hypothyroidism is fatigue.
Other symptoms include swelling in the face, slowness, weight gain, cold feeling, slow heart rate, constipation, depression, and thinning hair. If you think you have hypothyroidism, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and do a physical exam and order blood tests to measure the level and antibodies of TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone. In Hashimoto's disease, high levels of antibodies in the blood show that the thyroid is being attacked by the immune system. Treatments for several types of childhood cancer have improved in recent decades.
For other types, progress has been limited. TSH will be sent to the thyroid and will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to bring the body back to normal. A goiter is simply an enlargement of the thyroid gland and occurs when the organ works harder to produce thyroid hormone. When the thyroid works too hard in an effort to produce an adequate amount of hormones, excessive stimulation can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge to the point where it has a lump in the neck. About 75% of people who have only one side of their thyroid removed can produce enough thyroid hormone after surgery without hormone replacement therapy. Babies born to women with untreated thyroid disorders may have significant mental and physical developmental problems because thyroid hormones are vital for brain development. The thyroid has an important function to do within the body: to release and control the thyroid hormones that control metabolism.
Goiter isn't usually dangerous or uncomfortable but it's often an early warning sign of thyroid dysfunction even before thyroid hormone levels drop below normal and is a sign that you need to have your TSH level checked. In fact, your body has thyroid hormone circulating throughout your body even after your thyroid has been removed. When that happens, the thyroid cannot produce or release high enough levels of thyroid hormones which affects the entire body. Alternatively there is a version of thyroid removal surgery where the surgeon makes an incision in the armpit and then creates a tunnel to the thyroid. A major cause is a condition that directly affects the thyroid and causes it to create low levels of thyroid hormones. However the symptoms and side effects associated with thyroid disease can make it hard to know if you're feeling better overall with or without thyroid medicine. A common thyroid condition called hyperthyroidism causes the thyroid to produce more hormones than the body needs.