There are many factors that can increase susceptibility to suffer from hypothyroidism also can be many triggers of this disease.
Below we list some causes.
- Autoimmune disease: The most common cause is degeneration and subsequent destruction of the thyroid gland tissue, due to a process that confuses the immune system to thyroid cells with the body by attacking foreign bodies. This is Hashimoto’s disease where the body becomes allergic to thyroid hormone) and atrophic thyroiditis.
- Treatment with radioactive iodine, radioactive iodine is used to destroy the thyroid gland when the patient has thyroid cancer and nodular goiter.
- Gland removal, with surgery if the patient has thyroid cancer, nodules, etc..
- Inflammation of the gland, called thyroiditis and this is caused by a virus or an attack by the immune system (autoimmune).
- Availability of iodine the gland needs iodine to produce hormones. The same is found in foods we eat. The intake should be adequate and that little or too much iodine can cause or worsen hypothyroidism.
- Congenital hypothyroidism: the baby is born without the presence of the gland or partially developed. Sometimes the gland can be formed in a different place (ectopic thyroid).
- Other: There are certain medications that can block the normal functioning of the gland, such as, interferon alfa, lithium, amiodarone or interleukin-2.
Cretinism: Congenital hypothyroidism
Cretinism is a form of congenital (autosomal recessive) of the thyroid gland, causing a delay in mental and physical growth.
Cretinism arises from a deficiency of the thyroid gland is to regulate thyroid hormones. They have permissive effects on the growth of muscle tissue and neurological disorders. A person afflicted with cretinism suffers serious physical and mental delays. Sometimes the subject may have the physical stature of a child, when in fact the person is much higher. Other symptoms may include quite faulty pronunciation, a protruding abdomen and waxy skin.
Cretinism may occur in several ways. If a person is born without a thyroid also suffer. You can also develop a deficiency of iodine. For this reason, cretinism has historically been more common in areas where the soil has little iodine.
If treated promptly with thyroid hormones and with the addition of iodine to the diet, significant progress can be seen (H and Mental Development).
Needless to say all sorts of idiocy severe mental retardation and dwarfism are irreversible even with appropriate treatment but this is, why is it so important for the early detection of hypothyroidism by neonatal screening to prevent these injuries and the person can lead a perfectly normal life, avoid cretinism in children but in some cases is inevitable.
Symptoms of Cretinism
Since thyroid hormone levels in blood decrease, slow down the metabolic processes affecting both body and mind. Symptoms may be mild or severe. The most common are: fatigue, depression, cold intolerance, dry skin, brittle nails, hair loss, memory impairment, constipation, fluid retention, menstrual irregularities, muscle pain, unintentional weight gain.
Hypothyroidism can occur at any age but is more common in women over 40 years of age. It is estimated that this group, 10% of women suffer from hypothyroidism, and after 60 years of age, the incidence increases as most important by 20%.
In younger people, and children, hypothyroidism is rare. Of particular importance is the detection of the disease in newborn infants. In these, about a week old, is being shot in the screening test or proof of heel. In that test, taken a few drops of blood from the heel of the child to perform various tests that seek early detection of certain metabolic diseases and neonatal hypothyroidism. In the latter case, the child is born without his thyroid gland and thus develops a thyroid hormone deficiency that if not detected and treated promptly, can lead to the development of cretinism, a condition characterized by severe mental retardation, deafness, lack of growth etc.
If you develop hypothyroidism in childhood, growth failure may occur (low height), sexual development early or late puberty, goiter, tiredness, poor school performance, and so on.
Fundamental to measure thyroid function prior to or during pregnancy. Maternal hypothyroidism can cause abortion (about 6% of all abortions are caused by untreated maternal hypothyroidism) or learning problems in children born to untreated hypothyroid women.
The manifestations of hypothyroidism can be easily confused in the elderly. In such cases, many symptoms (such as fatigue, memory problems) can be confused with effects of age, psychiatric disease or dementia. Therefore, you should have thyroid function tests, routine and periodic in older women.