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What causes Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)?
Hypothyroidism is the term used to describe the condition that occurs when a persons thyroid is not producing sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone to meet the body's needs.
The thyroid hormone is extremely important as it plays an important part in ensuring that your metabolism remains in balance.
The thyroid hormone regulates the rate at which carbohydrates and fats are used by the body. The thyroid hormone also performs other functions such as helping to regulate heart rate, production of proteins and body temperature.
The thyroid gland itself can be found just beneath the Adam's Apple. The hormones it produces are Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3).
Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) most commonly occurs when the body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland. As a result the thyroid gland becomes damaged which then prevents it from producing enough thyroid hormone (thyroxine) to meet the body's needs. This of course is not the only way in which someone can begin suffering from hypothyroidism, there are a variety of other causes also.
If the body does not receive sufficient quantities of the thyroid hormone the body's ability to use energy is severely impaired. The thyroid hormone is also instrumental in helping the body to maintain bones and muscles in a healthy condition.
There is no known way by which you can prevent hypothyroidism nor is there an actual medical cure for the disease. It is generally accepted that once you have hypothyroidism you will have the disease for life.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is the name given to hypothyroidism that is caused by the thyroid becoming inflamed as a direct result of an attack by the body's own immune system. This is commonly known as an 'autoimmune disorder'.
Hypothyroidism caused by Problems with the Thyroid itself.
If you have had a problem with your thyroid that has necessitated having the thyroid surgically removed you will suffer from hypothyroidism as a direct result.
There is also a condition referred to as Congenital Thyroid Agenesis, which describes someone who was born without a thyroid, that will cause the individual to suffer from hypothyroidism.
There are a number of prescription medications that can cause the thyroid gland to deteriorate. This can even occur, in some cases, with some of the drugs that are actually commonly prescribed to hypothyroidism sufferers to relieve their condition.
Hypothyroidism can also be caused as a result of a genetic defect of some sort. If the genes that are responsible for regulating the thyroid hormone have been damaged it is likely that the individual will contract hypothyroidism.
The majority of these gene defects are detected at a very early age.
It is possible, although not common, for hypothyroidism to be caused by a malfunction of the Pituitary Gland.
The Pituitary Gland produces a hormone itself that is responsible for stimulating the thyroid into producing the thyroid hormone. Without this stimulation the thyroid gland simply does no perform properly.