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10 common causes of thyroid imbalance

Thyroid imbalance can be caused due to clinical conditions, iodine deficiency, medications and many more.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : March 2, 2015 6:43 PM IST

Causes of thyroid imbalanceThe thyroid gland is responsible for the secretion and regulation of hormones (T3 and T4) in the body. These hormones play a key role in food metabolism, mood and sexual health. It is important to maintain normal production of these hormones in the body as an increase or decrease in hormonal levels signifies clinical complications. Here are few medical conditions that affect thyroid functioning and cause hormonal imbalances

Excessive secretion of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) is caused due to

  1. Grave's disease It causes enlargement of the thyroid glands and thus, causes increased secretion of hormones in the body. This condition is commonly seen in adults.
  2. Nodules in the gland Excessive secretion of hormones by the thyroid gland may be caused due to the growth of nodules (lumps) on the gland.
  3. Medications Intake of medications prescribed to initiate hormonal secretion in high amounts and drugs containing high levels of iodine (certain medicines and cough syrups) cause hyperthyroidism.
  4. Thyroiditis Inflammation of the gland called thyroiditis causes the release of stored thyroid hormones.
  5. Excess secretion of TSH Increased secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) by the pituitary gland causes excess secretion of the thyroid hormones.

Low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) are commonly caused due to the following clinical conditions

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  1. Iodine deficiency Consuming a diet low in iodine content puts you at an increased risk of suffering from hypothyroidism.
  2. Hyperthyroidism Treatment Radioactive therapy and excessive intake of medications to treat hyperthyroidism sometimes results in under active thyroid.
  3. Hashimoto's disease It is a heredity autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland resulting in decreased secretion of the hormones in the body.
  4. Malfunction of glands In some cases, other glands regulating the function of thyroid such as the pituitary gland (secretes TSH) may get affected resulting in lower secretion of thyroid hormones.
  5. Post-partum thyroiditis This causes temporary hypothyroidism and is usually seen in women post-pregnancy.

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References:

  • Melish JS. Thyroid Disease. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 135.
  • Nussey S, Whitehead S. Endocrinology: An Integrated Approach. Oxford: BIOS Scientific Publishers; 2001. Chapter 3, The thyroid gland.

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