September 18, 2022

SEP 18, organic brain poetry: hypothyroid depression


You're depressed and withdrawn, so retractive,

Since your thyroid gland's gone rarefactive.

Body functions slow, too.

But, the best test for you —

TSH, it's sky-high — still reactive.
By far the most common cause of thyroid hormone deficiency or hypothyroidism (historically known by the moniker myxedema for a type of puffy swelling and rash in the legs) is progressive destruction of normal hormone-producing tissue by the process of colloid degeneration. Owing to the metabolic role of thyroid hormone, most body functions slow as a result of this deficiency, resulting, for example, in a slow pulse and weight gain. For the brain in general, somnolence and depression may be accompanied in extreme cases by a derangement of mentation known as 'myxedema madness'.

Under normal circumstances, the anterior pituitary gland, stimulated by the hypophysis, an adjacent brain control center, plays a key role as the 'master gland' in regulating hormone production. When the thyroid gland is flagging, the master gland increases its production of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), a messenger that is excreted into the bloodstream, targeted to increase the peripheral gland's production to normal levels. Fortunately, the robust sensing mechanism in the hypophysis and pituitary, not impaired by the metabolic slowdown elsewhere, produces high levels of blood TSH so reliably that a simple blood test can be used as the best test for the hypothyroid state. 

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