Pregnancy brings with it not just the most exciting and joyous feelings in a woman is life, but likewise certain medical conditions which, I am sure no woman would wish for. One of these conditions is one wherein, thyroid levels in the body are less than normal. It refers to the output of thyroid that diminishes during pregnancy. This is owing to the reason that during this time, the mother’s body requires an extra amount of thyroid hormone. And so if the requirement rate is slower than that during which the hormone is produced, then it may adversely affect the cognitive development of neuropsychological development, the fetus, and psychometric functioning. Certain medical journals report that about 2.5% of all pregnant women have some degree of hypothyroidism. It is true that pregnancy can in no way be regarded as a sort of a medical disorder or condition, but dearth in the thyroid levels in this period, may take its toll on both the mother and baby.
Hypothyroidism is the medical term used for an underactive thyroid gland. It refers to a thyroid gland that fails to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones. These the body needs to utilize fats and carbohydrates. In other words, the thyroid hormones are of vital importance to regulate the level of metabolism. They are also important to keep the normal body temperature and the generation of proteins. The main thyroid hormones are, thyroxine or T4 and triiodothyronine or T3. A deficiency of these two thyroid hormones can disturb the rate of metabolism in the body, and can produce a set of symptoms. The incidence of hypothyroidism is commonly more in women, though at times, men too can suffer from this condition.
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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: This is an autoimmune disease which is characterised by the production of antibodies against the body tissues by the immune system. Also termed as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, in this condition, the thyroid gland is attacked by one’s own immune system, resulting in inflammation. These eventually leads to an underactive thyroid condition in men.
Pituitary or Hypothalamic Disease: The production of the thyroid hormones are governed by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus first signals the pituitary gland to detach the hormone known as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone then induces the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. Disorders of the pituitary gland can make it failed to create enough TSH. These in turn can lead to hypothyroidism. The total amount of thyroid hormones produced and released by the thyroid gland gets affected if a person is ailing from hypothalamic disease. However, hypothyroidism because of hypothalamic disease is known as tertiary hypothyroidism, and the one due to pituitary disease is called secondary hypothyroidism.
Thyroid Destruction: This occurs mainly to anyone who has to undergo radioactive iodine treatment, when he might be suffering from Graves’ disease, a disorder of the immune system that led to the overproduction of the thyroid hormones. Apart from radioactive iodine treatment, he may be required to go through a surgical procedure, wherein, a portion of the thyroid gland is removed. This may sometimes result in hypothyroidism.
Increased sensitivity to cold, muscle cramps, feeling tired and constipation may be the initial symptoms.
Without any treatment, these symptoms progress to weight gain, voice becoming hoarse, and hair fall.
Poor memory, skin getting drier with time, and paler too, and feeling too sluggish to get in place in the morning are some symptoms that become obvious as the condition progresses.