Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain crucial hormones.
Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
Accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually simple, safe and effective once you and your doctor find the right dose for you.
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The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. Problems tend to develop slowly, often over a number of years.
At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain. Or you may simply attribute them to getting older. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more-obvious problems.
Excessive secretion of thyroid hormones in the body is called as hyperthyroidism (hyper=more).
Thyroid is small gland situated in the midline and base of the neck. The gland produces thyroid hormones T4 (Tetraiodothyronine/Thyroxine) and T3 (Triiodothyronine) that are absolutely essential for maintaining harmony of various body functions. Thyroid hormones govern the speed of body's chemical reaction and have positive influence on growth of an individual (mental and physical). Because thyroid hormones affect growth, development and many cellular processes, excess of thyroid hormones has widespread consequences on the body.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
There are many causes that can cause over activity of the thyroid gland and in most cases the entire gland is producing more hormones, this is seen in Grave's disease. Grave's disease is actually an auto-immune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly starts attacking it's own cells (in this case the thyroid gland) resulting in inflammation and enlargement of the gland (Goiter) and production of excess hormones. In some cases, there is a particular solitary nodule in the gland (called 'Hot' nodule) that is producing more hormones; there may also be multiple such nodules in the gland Inflammation of the thyroid gland (Thyroiditis) due to any other cause can also result in hyperthyroidism.