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Hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland cannot produce enough thyroid hormone. This disease can affect anyone, from infants to the elderly. However, hypothyroidism is more common in women, especially those over 60 years old
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck. This gland functions to produce thyroid hormone which is useful for regulating the body's metabolism and optimizing the performance of the body's organs, including the heart and lungs, as well as regulating mood.
However, sometimes the thyroid gland can be problematic so it cannot produce thyroid hormone in sufficient quantities for the body. This condition is known as hypothyroidism.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
At first, hypothyroidism may not show any symptoms. Symptoms will develop slowly and gradually over months or even years. This makes people with hypothyroidism often do not realize that they are experiencing the condition.
If hypothyroidism has shown symptoms, there are several complaints that can appear according to the age of the sufferer. Here is the explanation:
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in babies
Hypothyroidism in babies can appear from birth. There are several signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism in babies, including:
- Swelling on face
- Tongue enlarged and protruding
- umbilical hernia
- Hoarse when crying
- Skin is yellowish in color
If not treated immediately, babies can experience constipation, difficulty feeding, sleepy constantly, cold hands and feet, and weakened body muscles. Furthermore, hypothyroidism can cause the baby to experience developmental disorders.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in children, adolescents, and adults
The symptoms of hypothyroidism in children, adolescents, and adults are generally the same, namely:
- Easy to get tired
- Slow heart rate
- Sensitive to cold temperature
- Weight gain
- Increase blood cholesterol levels
- Swollen face
- Muscle or joint pain
- Hard to concentrate or forgetful
- Irregular menstruation
- Psychological problems, such as depression or unstable emotions
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism that occur in children are sometimes also accompanied by delayed permanent teething, or stunted growth and development. While in adolescents, hypothyroidism can also be characterized by a late puberty.
In adults, hypothyroidism can also cause other complaints, such as decreased libido or sexual arousal, hair loss and brittleness, and dry skin.
Various Possible Causes of Hypothyroidism
The following are some things or conditions that can cause hypothyroidism:
1. Side effects of certain drugs
Hypothyroidism can be caused by the side effects of drugs, such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer, the heart drug amiodarone, and anti-seizure drugs or drugs to treat neurological disorders, such as gabapentin, phenytoin, and phenobarbital.
In addition, other drugs such as lithium and the antituberculosis drug rifampicine can also cause side effects in the form of reduced thyroid hormone production.
2. Hyperthyroid treatment
An increasingly active thyroid gland may need medication to decrease its activity. For example, by taking hyperthyroid drugs or undergoing radioactive therapy.
However, this medication can cause thyroid hormone production to decrease drastically. As a result, the thyroid becomes underactive and triggers hypothyroidism.
The reason why pregnancy can cause hypothyroidism is still not known for certain. During pregnancy, the thyroid gland sometimes becomes inflamed, resulting in an increase in thyroid hormone levels.
But after that, there will be a drastic decrease in thyroid hormone levels. It is at this stage that hypothyroidism occurs. Even so, this condition is nothing to worry about because generally thyroid hormones will return to normal on their own.
4. Radiation therapy to the neck
Certain types of cancer may require radiation therapy to the neck area. Radiation in this area damages the cells in the thyroid gland, thereby interfering with the production of thyroid hormones. As a result, the body also lacks these hormones.
5. Thyroid surgery
Thyroid surgery is the removal of the thyroid gland. If part of the gland is still present, thyroid hormone can still be produced. However, if all of the thyroid gland tissue has been removed, no more thyroid hormone can be produced. As a result, the body will lack this hormone.
6. Thyroid disorders from birth
There are some babies who are born with abnormalities in the thyroid gland, so that the production of thyroid hormone in their bodies is low. This condition is known as congenital hypothyroidism.
In this condition, the thyroid gland does not develop properly. Even if it develops, the ability to produce thyroid hormones is not perfect.
7. Iodine deficiency or excess
Iodine excess or deficiency can cause or worsen hypothyroidism. To overcome this, it is important to have sufficient iodine intake by consuming various sources of iodine, such as fish, milk and their derivatives, shellfish, and iodized s alt.
The recommended amount of iodine intake for infants and children is around 90–120 milligrams per day, while for adolescents and adults it is 120–150 milligrams daily.
If not treated properly, hypothyroidism can cause various he alth problems, such as heart disease, mental he alth disorders, and even infertility. Therefore, if you or your children experience any of the above symptoms of hypothyroidism, you should consult a doctor further.