Hypothyroidism is often characterized by an abnormally low thyroid hormone production. Inadequate thyroid hormone affects many metabolic cellular processes of our body. Many serious disorders occur in hypothyroid patients, especially deficiency of growth and development.
What causes hypothyroidism?
Underactive thyroid in adults produces a series of chemical reactions that can trigger on their turn a lot of hormonal turbulences.
1. Iodine deficiency. The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce the necessary amount of thyroid hormones. The absence of this nutrient might cause an underactive thyroid. The trace mineral iodine is found in foods such as salt, bread, seaweed, seafood or water fish. Nevertheless, recent studies have concluded that too much iodine intake could also cause hypothyroidism.
2. Autoimmune disease. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is a particular inflammatory disorder called “Hashimoto’s thyroiditis”. This is one of the most popular factors that trigger an underactive thyroid in both women and men. Autoimmune disorders are defined by antibodies produced by the immune system. These antibodies prevent thyroid from producing hormones while attacking your tissues. It’s difficult to say whey our body has this capacity of producing antibodies against its own integrity. It can be a virus or bacterium, but it can also be a genetic flaw. One thing we know for sure: there is more than one factor causing autoimmune diseases. This can be treated with selenium supplement.
3. Medications. Did you know that some drugs can contribute to an underactive thyroid? Lithium for instance is such a medicine used for psychiatric disorders that can have negative effects on the thyroid gland. A long term intake of lithium can trigger hypothyroidism.
4. Congenital hypothyroidism. Some children may have an inherited form of defected thyroid or an undeveloped thyroid. There are also cases when babies are born with no thyroid gland at all, although they appear normal and healthy. This is why it’s important that all infants are thyroid screened at birth.
5. Thyroid surgery. Thyroid hormone production can also be stopped due to thyroid surgery of removing all al a big part of the thyroid gland. In this situation, hypothyroidism needs to be treated with thyroid hormone. This is a hormonal treatment for life.
Other rare causes of hypothyroidism:
6. Radiation therapy for cancer may also lead to an underactive thyroid.
7. Tumor of the pituitary gland. This is another type of hypothyroidism cause.
8. Postpartum hypothyroidism. There area also riscks of developing hypothyroidism during or after pregnancy.