What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism also called underactive thyroid disease, is a common condition. With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is located in the lower front of your neck. The hormones released by the gland travel through the bloodstream and affect almost every part of your body, from the heart and brain to muscles and skin.
The thyroid controls how the body’s cells use energy from food, a process called metabolism. Among other things, your metabolism affects your body temperature, your heartbeat, and how well you burn calories. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, your body’s processes slow down. That means your body produces less energy and your metabolism slows down.
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary from person to person. The severity of the condition also affects what signs and symptoms appear and when. Symptoms are also sometimes difficult to identify.
The first symptoms can include weight gain and fatigue. Both become more common as you get older, regardless of your thyroid health. You may not realize these changes are related to your thyroid until more symptoms appear.
For most people, symptoms of the condition gradually progress over many years. As the thyroid slows down more and more, symptoms can be more easily identified. Of course, many of these symptoms also become more common with age in general. If you suspect that your symptoms are the result of a thyroid problem, it is important to speak with your doctor. They may order a blood test to determine if you have hypothyroidism.
The most common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
• I am cold
• Dry Skin
• Weight gain
• Muscular weakness
• Decreased sweating
• Slower heart rate
• High blood cholesterol
• Pain and stiffness in the joints
• Dry and weakened hair
• Memory impairment
• Fertility difficulties or menstrual changes
• Muscle stiffness, pain, and tenderness
• Sensitive and swollen face
Causes of hypothyroidism
The most mutual cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. “Thyroiditis” is an irritation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder. With Hashimoto, your body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis can also be produced by a viral infection.
Diagnosis of hypothyroidism
In reality, it can be difficult to diagnose hypothyroidism because the indications can easily be mistaken for other conditions. If you have any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, talk to your healthcare supplier. The main way to diagnose hypothyroidism is a blood test called a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test. Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests for circumstances like Hashimoto’s disease. If your thyroid is enlarged, your provider may be able to feel it during a physical exam during an appointment.
In general, your doctor can test for an underactive thyroid if you feel increasingly tired, have dry skin, constipation, and weight gain, or have had previous thyroid problems or goiter.
The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is based on your indications and the results of blood tests that measure the level of TSH and occasionally the level of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. A low thyroxine level and a high TSH level indicate an underactive thyroid. That’s because your pituitary makes more TSH in an effort to stimulate your thyroid gland to make more thyroid hormones.
Treatment for hypothyroidism
Standard treatment for hypothyroidism includes daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levo-T, Synthroid, others). This oral medication restores proper hormone levels, reversing the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
You will likely start to feel better shortly after starting treatment. The drug gradually reduces the cholesterol levels raised by the disease and can reverse any weight gain. Levothyroxine treatment will likely be lifelong, but because the dose you need may change, your doctor will likely monitor your TSH level each year.
Determining the right dose can take time
To determine the correct dose of levothyroxine initially, your doctor usually checks your TSH level after six to eight weeks. After that, blood levels are usually checked six months later. Excess amounts of the hormone can cause side effects, such as:
• Increased appetite
• Heart palpitations
If you have coronary artery disease or severe hypothyroidism, your doctor may start treatment with a smaller amount of medicine and gradually increase the dose. Progressive hormone replacement allows your heart to adjust to the increased metabolism.
Levothyroxine has virtually no side effects when used in the proper dosage and is relatively inexpensive. If you change brands, tell your doctor to make sure you keep getting the correct dose.
Also, do not skip doses or stop taking the medication because you feel better. If you do, the indications of hypothyroidism will gradually return.
Adequate absorption of levothyroxine
Certain medications, supplements, and even some foods can affect your ability to absorb levothyroxine. Talk to your doctor if you consume large amounts of soy products or a high-fiber diet, or if you take other medications, such as:
• Iron supplements or multivitamins that contain iron
• Aluminum hydroxide, found in some antacids
• Calcium supplements
It is best to take levothyroxine on an empty stomach at the same time each day. Ideally, you will take the hormone in the morning and wait an hour before eating or taking other medications. If you take it on a time for bed, wait four hours after your last meal or snack.
If you miss a dose of levothyroxine, take dual medicines the next day.
If you have subclinical hypothyroidism, discuss handling with your doctor. For a relatively mild increase in TSH, you probably won’t profit from thyroid hormone therapy, and treatment could even be harmful. On the other hand, for a higher TSH level, thyroid hormones can improve your cholesterol level, your heart’s pumping capability, and your energy equal.
Risk factors of hypothyroidism
In addition to age and gender, your risk of hypothyroidism increases if:
• You have a family past of thyroid disease or any autoimmune disease..
• You have kind 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders.
• You have taken anti-thyroid medications (a treatment for hyperthyroidism) or have been treated with radioactive iodine (a treatment for thyroid cancer).
• You have had thyroid surgery (had your thyroid removed to treat thyroid cancer or to treat asymptomatic goiter).
• You have been exposed to radiation to the neck or upper chest.
Complications of hypothyroidism
The thyroid is a small gland in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate growth and metabolism. These hormones affect almost all bodily functions. Thyroid hormones can influence:
• Body temperature
• Cardiovascular health
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not make enough hormones. If your thyroid hormone levels are too low, you might have fatigue, digestive problems, compassion to cold temperatures, and menstrual irregularities. The condition can be controlled with medication. However, if left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to many complications. These include heart problems, nerve damage, infertility, and, in severe cases, death.
Mainly complications in:
• Cardiovascular problems
• Kidney complications
• Complications of the nervous system
• Complications of pregnancy
Prevention of hypothyroidism
Some ways to lower your risk of thyroid disease
Stop smoking: Cigarette smoke has a variety of toxins that can affect your thyroid. Thiocyanate, in particular, disrupts iodine absorption, which in turn can block the production of thyroid hormones. Over-all, smoking can reason elevated thyroxine (T4) levels and a slight reduction in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
Do the thyroid neck: One of the best things you can do in terms of early detection is to have your thyroid neck checked regularly. This simple test can detect lumps, bumps, and swelling on the thyroid if they are close to the surface. However, many nodules and bumps cannot be seen or felt, so if you have other symptoms, you should see your doctor.
Relieves soy: Soy is a controversial ingredient, especially when it comes to thyroid health. While it’s unlikely to have an effect on your thyroid, and research increasingly supports it, consuming soy in moderation is probably best for your overall health
Have potassium iodide on hand: You may want to purchase some potassium iodide (KI) to keep in your family emergency kit. KI is an over-the-counter supplement that, when taken within the first few hours after a nuclear accident or nuclear facility attack, can help protect your thyroid from the risk of thyroid cancer.
Beware of perchlorates: Perchlorates are colorless, odorless salts that dissolve in water. They are made primarily for explosives, fireworks, and rocket engines, and have contaminated water supplies in areas across the country.