The thyroid, which is found in the front of the neck, is a gland which produces hormones important for proper organ function. Thyroid hormones have an impact on the entire body, affecting the brain, muscles, liver, heart, and other parts of the body.
When the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone, the body suffers from a condition called hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). Since the major function of the thyroid hormone is to run body`s metabolism, it is completely understandable why those with hypothyroidism experience symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. While only an estimate, up to 10 million Americans have this condition. As a matter of fact, about 10 percent of women are likely to have certain degree of thyroid hormone deficiency.
There are two major causes of hypothyroidism. The first one involves an inflammation of the thyroid gland, which damages a great deal of the cells of the thyroid and makes them unable to produce sufficient hormone. The most common cause of thyroid failure is Hashimoto`s thyroiditis, a type of thyroid inflammation caused by the immune system. The thyroid might be inflamed as a result of an infection or iodine deficiency. Given that the body doesn’t produce iodine, it is important to eat iodine-rich foods like cranberries, strawberries, navy beans, potatoes, and yogurt.
The second cause is the category of medical treatments. The treatment of most thyroid conditions includes partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland. If the total mass of the thyroid producing cells is not enough to meet body`s needs, the patient will eventually develop hypothyroidism.
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to life-threatening depression, heart failure, and even coma. However, if diagnosed on time, it can be treated with a daily pill. Learn the signs and symptoms of this condition and don’t leave your health to chance!
- Weakness and fatigue.
- Abnormal menstrual cycles in women.
- Coarse, dry hair and dry, rough, pale skin.
- Cold intolerance.
- Depression and irritability
- Muscle cramps and muscle aches.
- Memory loss.
Note that each patient might have one or more of these symptoms, which will vary with the severity depending on the hormone deficiency and the amount of time the body has been depleted of the proper amount of hormone.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to discuss them with your doctor. In addition, you might need to seek help of an endocrinologist. If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and already treated for it but you still continue having these symptoms, make sure you consult your physician as soon as possible.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism
The conventional treatment for this condition includes daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine such as Synthroid and Levothroid. This oral drug restores proper hormone levels, reversing the symptoms of the condition.
Determining the proper dosage of levothyroxine might take time and the doctor should check the level of TSH more often. Excessive amounts of this hormone can cause symptoms like insomnia, increased appetite, and heart palpitations.