Possible Causes of Thyroid Disease
Hypothyroidism, stems from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. Since your body’s energy systems require certain amounts of thyroid hormones, a drop in hormone production leads to lower energy levels. Causes of hypothyroidism include:
In this autoimmune disorder, the body’s own immune system attacks thyroid tissue, leading to reduced thyroid hormone.
-Removal of the thyroid gland:
The thyroid may be surgically removed or chemically destroyed as a treatment for hyperthyroidism.
-Exposure to excessive amounts of iodide:
Cold and sinus medicines, the heart medicine amiodarone or certain contrast dyes given before X-rays may expose you to too much iodine. You may then be at greater risk of developing hypothyroidism, especially if you have had thyroid problems in the past.
This drug has also been linked to hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism poses a special danger to newborns and infants. A lack of thyroid hormones in the system at an early age can result in cretinism (mental retardation) and dwarfism (stunted growth). Most infants now have their thyroid levels checked routinely soon after birth. If they are found to be hypothyroid, treatment begins immediately. In infants, as in adults, hypothyroidism can be due to these causes:
- A pituitary disorder
- A defective thyroid
- Complete lack of the gland
A hypothyroid infant is unusually inactive and quiet, has a poor appetite and sleeps for excessively long periods of time.
All types of hyperthyroidism are due to overproduction of thyroid hormones, but the condition can develop in several ways:
This is an autoimmune condition and is the commonest cause of an overactive thyroid gland.
Nodules develop in the thyroid gland and begin to secrete thyroid hormones, upsetting the body’s chemical balance. Some goitres may contain several of these nodules.
This is where inflammation of the thyroid causes the gland to ‘leak’ excess hormones, resulting in temporary hyperthyroidism. The condition generally lasts a few weeks, but it may persist for months.
In rare cases, hyperthyroidism can also be due to these causes.
Cancer of the thyroid gland is quite rare and occurs in fewer than 10% of thyroid nodules. You may have one or more thyroid nodules for several years before they are determined to be cancerous. People who have received radiation treatment to the head and neck earlier in life tend to have a higher than normal propensity for developing thyroid cancer.