Hypothyroidism, also known as Underactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, and other bodily functions. When the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, it can lead to a range of symptoms and complications if left untreated.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid) can vary from person to person and may include:
- Weight gain
- Cold intolerance
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Joint and muscle pain
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Slow heart rate
- Puffy face
- An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
- Decreased appetite
- Sensitivity to cold
- Unexpected weight gain
- joint and muscle pain
- muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression or feelings of sadness
- A puffy face
- Yellowish skin (jaundice)
- An enlarged tongue
- Tingling or numbness in the hands
- A muscle weakness, especially in the upper arms and thighs
- Heavier or irregular menstrual periods
It’s important to note that some people may have mild hypothyroidism and may not experience any symptoms at all, or the symptoms may be so subtle that they are overlooked. If you suspect you may have hypothyroidism, it’s important to consult with a healthcare
What causes hypothyroidism?
There are several causes of hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid), including:
- Autoimmune disorders: The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which the immune system attacks and damages the thyroid gland.
- Surgery: removal of the thyroid gland or damage to the gland during surgery can cause hypothyroidism.
- Radiation treatment: exposure to radiation, such as during radiation therapy for cancer, can damage the thyroid gland and cause hypothyroidism.
- Medications: certain medications, such as lithium and amiodarone, can interfere with the thyroid gland’s ability to produce hormones.
- Congenital defects: Some babies are born with a defect in their thyroid gland or with an inability to produce enough thyroid hormones, this is called congenital hypothyroidism.
- Iodine deficiency: The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce hormones, so a deficiency of iodine in the diet can lead to hypothyroidism. This is particularly common in areas where the soil is iodine-deficient.
- Pituitary dysfunction: The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, produces a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which regulates the thyroid gland’s production of hormones. If the pituitary gland is not functioning properly, it can lead to hypothyroidism.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, some women develop a condition called postpartum thyroiditis, which can cause temporary hypothyroidism.
It’s important to note that in some cases, the cause of hypothyroidism can be unknown, this is called idiopathic hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid) can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in certain groups of people, including:
- Women, particularly those over the age of 60
- People with a family history of thyroid disorders
- People who have had radiation treatment to the head or neck
- People with autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Type 1 diabetes, and lupus
- People who have had surgery on their thyroid gland
- People with congenital defects of the thyroid gland
- People living in areas with iodine-deficient soil
- Pregnant women who develop postpartum thyroiditis
- People taking certain medications, such as lithium and amiodarone
- Elderly people, as the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism increases with age
It’s important to note that anyone can develop hypothyroidism, and it’s not limited to certain age, sex, or ethnic groups.
The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is usually based on a combination of symptoms, physical examination, and laboratory test results.
The primary test used to diagnose hypothyroidism is a blood test that measures the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and the levels of the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
- High levels of TSH and low levels of T3 and T4 suggest an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
- Low levels of TSH and normal or elevated levels of T3 and T4 suggest an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
Additional tests that may be done include
- Free T4 and Free T3 test to measure how much of the hormone is unbound and available for the body to use.
- Antibodies test, to detect autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Thyroid ultrasound, a non-invasive procedure that uses sound waves to create images of the thyroid gland.
- Fine-needle aspiration, a procedure in which a thin needle is inserted into the thyroid to remove a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope.
In some cases, a biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
It is important to note that a single test may not be enough to diagnose hypothyroidism, and a combination of tests and clinical evaluation are needed to confirm the diagnosis.
The most common treatment for hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid) is hormone replacement therapy, which includes:
- Synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy, using a medication such as levothyroxine, which is identical to the T4 hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
- Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is usually taken once a day, on an empty stomach, and at the same time every day to ensure consistent absorption.
- The dosage of the medication will be determined by the healthcare provider based on the individual’s needs and will be adjusted over time based on the patient’s blood test results.
- Regular monitoring of TSH and T4 levels through blood test is needed to ensure that the correct dosage is being taken and to adjust if necessary.
- It may take several weeks or months for the patient to feel the full effects of the treatment, and the dosage may need to be adjusted if they experience symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, or sensitivity to cold.
- For people with autoimmune disorder, such as Hashimoto’s, immunosuppressive therapy may be used in addition to hormone replacement therapy to help control the autoimmune response.
- In some cases, if the patient is unable to tolerate levothyroxine, other forms of thyroid hormone replacement may be considered such as natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) which is made from dried pig thyroid gland.
- Lifestyle changes can also help to alleviate symptoms and manage the condition, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress.
Complications of hypothyroidism
Untreated or poorly managed hypothyroidism can lead to several complications, including:
- Goiter: An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) can occur if the body produces too much thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in an attempt to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormones.
- Heart problems: Hypothyroidism can cause an increase in cholesterol levels and can lead to an enlarged heart, which can lead to heart failure.
- Myxedema: A severe form of hypothyroidism that can lead to confusion, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, it can lead to coma and death.
- Pregnancy complications: Hypothyroidism can lead to miscarriage, preterm delivery, and low birth weight.
- Neuropathies: Hypothyroidism can lead to peripheral neuropathies, which can cause weakness, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
- Depression and anxiety: Hypothyroidism can lead to mood changes, depression and anxiety, which can affect the quality of life.
- Osteoporosis: Hypothyroidism can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes bones to become fragile and brittle.
- Subclinical hypothyroidism can also increase the risk of certain conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and infertility.
It’s important to note that these complications can be prevented or treated with proper diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism. Regular monitoring and management of the condition is important to prevent these complications.
Preventing hypothyroidism can be challenging, as the cause of the condition is not always known and some cases are congenital. However, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition:
- Maintaining a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help to support the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of developing autoimmune disorders that can lead to hypothyroidism.
- Avoiding exposure to radiation: Minimizing exposure to radiation, such as by limiting unnecessary medical imaging tests, can reduce the risk of developing hypothyroidism.
- Being aware of the risk factors: Knowing the risk factors for hypothyroidism and discussing them with a healthcare provider can help to identify the condition early on and begin treatment to prevent complications.
- Getting regular check-ups: Regular check-ups and monitoring of thyroid function can help to identify any issues early on and begin treatment before complications develop.
- Managing autoimmune disorders: If you have an autoimmune disorder, such as Type 1 diabetes or lupus, it is important to manage the condition and to be aware of the risk of developing hypothyroidism.
- Iodine intake: Consuming sufficient amount of iodine, which is an essential mineral for thyroid hormone production, can help to prevent iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism.
- Avoiding certain medications: If you are taking medications that can interfere with thyroid function, such as lithium or amiodarone, talk to your healthcare provider about alternative options.
It’s important to note that while some steps can be taken to reduce the risk of developing hypothyroidism, the condition is not always preventable. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to prevent any serious complications.
What is hypothyroidism icd 10?
In the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), hypothyroidism is coded as E03. The ICD-10 codes are a standardized way of identifying medical conditions and are used for billing and statistical purposes.
The specific code for hypothyroidism is E03.9, which stands for “unspecified hypothyroidism.” This code is used when the specific type of hypothyroidism (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or postpartum thyroiditis) is not known or not specified.
If the specific type of hypothyroidism is known, a more specific code can be used. For example:
- E03.0 for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- E03.1 for postpartum thyroiditis
- E03.2 for atrophic hypothyroidism
- E03.8 for other specified hypothyroidism
Is hypothyroidism an autoimmune disease?
Hypothyroidism is not considered an autoimmune disease, but it can be caused by an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and damage to the gland, which can result in hypothyroidism.
Can hypothyroidism cause anxiety?
Hypothyroidism can cause anxiety. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, including anxiety. People with hypothyroidism may experience feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear, as well as physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and trembling. It is important to consult with a medical professional if you suspect you have hypothyroidism or if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. They can help to diagnose the condition and provide appropriate treatment.