Underactive thyroid: fatigue and freezing

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The first signs of hypothyroidism can be fatigue and frequent freezing

Hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism) is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 40. First signs such as pallor, tiredness and frequent freezing should not be taken lightly, as in the worst case there is a risk of life-threatening myxedema coma. A blood test provides information about changes in the thyroid gland.

With underactive thyroid gland reduced production of thyroid hormones
The main task of the thyroid gland, which lies in the shape of a butterfly in the neck area, is to produce and release the thyroid hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (L-thyroxine). Both have a major impact on brain and bone growth and development. They are also involved in the overall metabolism, oxygen consumption, heat production, nutrient turnover, heart activity and many other body functions. The thyroid needs iodine for hormone production. Iodine deficiency is often the cause of hypothyroidism, which can lead to reduced physical and mental performance.

If an underactive thyroid gland is not treated, cardiac arrhythmias and muscle wasting can be at risk. In the worst case, myxedema coma occurs, which occurs very rarely but is life-threatening. In addition to increased symptoms of hypothyroidism, this shows disorders of consciousness, low temperature (hypothermia), seizures, breathing disorders and electrolyte derailment. Immediate hospitalization is mandatory.

Signs of an underactive thyroid The first signs of a change in the thyroid can be tiredness, frequent freezing, coughing and hoarseness. People with an untreated hypothyroidism often look pale, have a puffy face and swollen eyes. The skin looks dry and flaky and the voice is hoarse. Many sufferers also suffer from inexplicable weight gain and have an urge to clear their throat, as well as coughing and an open voice. With these symptoms, a visit to a specialist is essential. "An under-function can be easily identified via the blood and treated with medication," Professor Hans-Jürgen Nentwich, board member of the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) in Cologne, told the news agency "dpa". It was necessary to take the medication An ENT doctor would also work with other specialists, such as endocrinologists and internists, if the change in the thyroid gland was due to inflammation (Hashimoto's thyroiditis) or an underactive function.

Causes of an underactive thyroid In the causes of an underactive thyroid, a distinction is made between the congenital and the acquired form. In congenital hypothyroidism (cretinism), which arises from an undersupply of the mother during pregnancy, the absence or malformation of the thyroid gland or a defect in hormone formation (enzymopathy), affected developmental deficits in terms of bone and tooth maturation, body growth up to towards mental and physical retardation. Infants are described as noticeably lazy to drink and exercise and also suffer from constipation. In order to give children medication as early as possible, early diagnosis is carried out in the first few days of life through the legally prescribed screening of newborns. The drugs are needed for life.

Acquired hypothyroidism can either be due to inflammation of the thyroid gland as well as the consequences of thyroid surgery, radiation therapy or iodine deficiency (primary form). In addition, functional impairments of the pituitary gland can be the cause of an underactive thyroid (secondary form). (ag)

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