Understanding Hyperthyroid Causes
Hypothyroidism refers to a condition that renders unusually low production of the thyroid hormone. There are many disorders which can be related to hypothyroidism. The disorders can either be indirectly or directly connected to the thyroid gland such that they result in hypothyroidism. Since the thyroid hormone can significantly affect the development of the body including cellular processes, an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone can cause a range of complications. The threat of other health conditions makes it more urgent to gain a true understanding of hypothyroid causes.
The Most Common Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is considered to be a prevalent condition. According to estimates, around 3% to 5% of the population is diagnosed with this condition every year. Although it is prevalent, the condition more often targets women as opposed to men. Further, people are more prone to the condition as they age. As mentioned, there are several causes of hypothyroidism. Let’s discuss some of the most common:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Lymphocytic thyroiditis (this may happen following diagnosis of hyperthyroidism)
- Destruction of the thyroid (which may be due to surgery or radioactive iodine)
- Hypothalamic or pituitary disease
A common cause of hypothyroidism is attributed to genetics. Basically, many cases of this condition in the United States have been linked back to an inherited condition referred to as
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The condition’s name originated from its founder Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto. The condition is characterized by having an enlarged thyroid gland or goiter wherein the enlarged gland inhibits the body’s ability to produce thyroid hormones. This type of condition is classified as an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system deliberately and incorrectly targets the thyroid tissue. Simply put, one cause of hypothyroid would have to be the genetic traits of a person.
Lymphocytic thyroiditis after diagnosis of hyperthyroidism
Thyroiditis is a condition that results from the inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can initially lead to hyperthyroidism. In the event that the thyroid gland inflammation is due to a certain type of white blood cell such as the lymphocyte, then it is called
lymphocytic thyroiditis. This type of condition is mostly prevalent among women who have just given birth. Specifically, around 8% of women are diagnosed with it following delivery. Additionally, there are instances where in the individual may go through a hyperthyroid phase. This phase is characterized by an excessive leak of the thyroid hormone, particularly from the swelling thyroid gland. The phase can last up to six months before returning to normal.
Destruction of the Thyroid due to surgery or radioactive iodine
In some cases, when patients undergo treatment for a hyperthyroid condition like Graves’ disease, they often receive radioactive iodine. Following the treatment, it’s possible for the person not to have any functioning thyroid tissue. The chances of developing this condition depend on several factors including the amount of iodine administered as well as the size of the thyroid gland. If after six months the thyroid gland still doesn’t improve then it’s expected that it will be damaged indefinitely. The same goes for surgery. Removal of the thyroid gland usually causes hypothyroidism.
Pituitary or Hypothalamic disease
When the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland loses the ability to send signals to the thyroid for the production of the thyroid hormones, then it’s likely that there will be a decrease in the amount of circulating T4 and T3. That is, regardless of whether or not the thyroid gland is functioning well. The complications associated with this pituitary complication are referred to as secondary hypothyroidism.
Many alternative medicine practitioners believe that hypothyroidism is usually caused by modern lifestyle choices and factors. In particular, a combination of deficient rest, excessive stress, poor diet, and/or exposure to radioactive particles from computers, microwave ovens, and cell phones all play major roles.
Many people spend all day long sitting in front of their computer. Their throat area is most directly exposed to the low-grade radioactivity being emitted from the computer. The accumulated exposure year after year gradually wears on the thyroid gland, causing it to become underactive. This pattern is usually coupled with excessive stress and the inability to fully rest in one’s life.
The enormous escalation in the frequency of hypothyroid cases is a cause for alarm and remains somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps time will tell us exactly why this condition continues to increase at such a staggering rate.