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Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)

Posted Aug 22 2011 8:04am

It was the Chernobyl disaster that woke the world up to the ability of nuclear power to not only destroy mankind (apart from everything else that has the misfortune to stand in its way) in the short-term but also in the long-term in the form of mutation.

Of course, the Fukushima disaster this year not only provided us with a grim reminder of the uncontrollable danger that is unleashed if safety precaution are not taken to protect nuclear power plants for unforeseen natural disasters that are a common occurrence these days.

Germany took the cue and has decided to do with go nuclear power free by 2022, thanks to the mass protests, and will perhaps be one of the few developed countries to not use nuclear power in the future. (Read this link for more information.)

Of course, they want their countrymen to fall victim to the numerous cases of thyroid cancer that were found in children of those who were sent in to clean up the Chernobyl "mess".

Perhaps the gravity of these after-effects can be understood if you do understand how the thyroid gland works.

Thyroid – Introduction & Functions

Located below the Adam's Apple in the human body lies the thyroid gland that is shaped like a butterfly, with the wings known as lobus dexter and lobus sinister.

Its primary function is to collect the iodine from the food that is eaten and to convert it to three important thyroid hormones such as thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and calcitonine.

Without T3 and T4, growth and development of cells would not be possible as these hormones are responsible to generate metabolism . Yet that's not all as the thyroid gland has a lot of other functions such as  regulating blood calcium levels, energy, excess fats, hormones, oxygen and interestingly, weight loss too.

All these functions are possible when the thyroid gland is at its healthiest but there comes a point (similar to thyroid cancer) when the aforementioned hormones are either produced in large quantities (hyperthyroidism) or in very little amounts ( hypothyroidism ).

And strangely enough, a lack of iodine or even exposure to radiation of Iodine – 131 can lead specifically to hypothyroidism which is considered to be the most common of the thyroid disorders… and we would do well to identify the symptoms of hypothyroidism .

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

What is important to note about this disease is the fact that there are both early and late signs of the disorder, as dealing with the malfunction of this endocrine gland can have far-reaching effects for one's health.

#1 – Early Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle hypotonia (poor muscle tone)
  • Cold intolerance (increased sensitivity to cold)
  • Muscle cramps and joint pain
  • Constipation
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Goiter
  • Thin and brittle fingernails and hair
  • Decreased sweating
  • Paleness
  • Osteporosis
  • Dry & itchy skin
  • Weight gain & Water Retention
  • Low heart rate (lesser than sixty beats per minute)

#2 – Late Symptoms

  • Dry puffy skin (visible on the face)
  • Thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Low basal body temperature
  • Slow speech – a hoarse breaking voice

In Closing

And if you thought the nuclear fallout of the Chernobyl disaster was minimal, think again!

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