Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism) – What You Need to Know
Posted Dec 31 2012 8:51am
Studies have shown that women are more likely to suffer from thyroid cancer – a disease that has been in the news recently. Yes, we're talking about Brook Burke , the 'Dancing with the Stars" host.
If that's not all, the American Cancer Society reveals that almost 30,000 people are diagnosed with this disease every year.
Strangely enough, one of the reasons why thyroid cancer can occur is due to chronic goiter, which in turn, occurs due to the not-so-serious condition of underactive thyroid or what is commonly referred to as hypothyroidism.
Thyroid Gland – An Overview
Shaped in the form of a butterfly, the thyroid gland serves a very important function – metabolism, if you will.
Located below the Adam's Apple in the human body, what it does is collect iodine from the food we eat, and convert it into three hormones: thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and calcitonine.
However, it does not work independently since the pituitary gland controls the release of the aforementioned hormones by releasing a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
This action by the pituitary gland, in turn, is also controlled by the hypothalamus, and it's only when the latter releases the thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) that the pituitary gland leaps into action.
As mentioned earlier, in producing these hormones (the T3 & T4 hormones, in particular), it contributes to the growth and development of cells in the human body.
Of course, this is not the only function that thyroid gland serves. Some of the other functions include: regulating blood calcium levels, excess fats, energy, hormones, oxygen and weight loss.
When the thyroid gland produces just the right amounts of these hormones, metabolism occurs as it should but the issues begin when these hormones are either produced in less (hypothyroidism) or excessive (hyperthyroidism) amounts. One can only imagine what can happen if there is any disruption amongst these glands.
Of course, the effects of an underactive thyroid can be easily corrected through lifetime treatment.
If underactive thyroid is not treated, even if it isn't as serious as thyroid cancer among others, there are complications that can occur, and can prove to be fatal.