Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland does not produce enough of certain hormones.
Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the first phases.
Over the years, untreated hypothyroidism can cause several health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease.
Accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism. Treatment with the synthetic thyroid gland is usually simple, safe, and effective once you and your doctor find the ideal dose for you.
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary, depending on the intensity of the hormone deficiency.
Problems often grow slowly, often over numerous years.
Initially, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight reduction.
Or you may simply attribute them to getting old. However, as your metabolism continues to slow, you might develop more obvious problems.
Hypothyroidism signs and symptoms might include:
- Weight profit
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, stiffness, and tenderness
- Pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
Hypothyroidism in infants:
Although hypothyroidism frequently affects middle-aged and elderly women, everyone can develop the condition, including babies.
Originally, babies born without a thyroid gland or even with a gland that does not work properly might have few symptoms and signs.
When teenagers do have Issues with hypothyroidism, the issues may include:
Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice). In most cases, this occurs when a child’s liver can not metabolize a chemical called bilirubin, which usually forms when the body recycles old or damaged red blood cells.
- Difficulty breathing.
- An umbilical hernia.
- Hoarse crying.
As the disease progresses, babies are likely to have difficulty feeding and might fail to grow and develop normally. They may also have:
- Poor muscle tone
- More sleepiness
When hypothyroidism in infants is not treated, even mild cases may lead to severe physical and emotional retardation.
Hypothyroidism in children and adolescents:
Generally speaking, children and teens who develop hypothyroidism have the same symptoms and signs as adults do, but they may also encounter:
- Poor growth, Leading to short stature
- Delayed growth of permanent teeth
- Delayed puberty
- Poor psychological development
When to consult a doctor:
Watch your health care provider if you’re feeling exhausted for no reason or have some of the other signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as dry skin, a pale, puffy face, constipation, or a hoarse voice.
If you’re receiving hormone therapy for hypothyroidism, program follow-up visits as often as the doctor recommends.
Initially, it’s essential to make sure you’re receiving the correct dose of medication. And over time, the dosage you need may change.
Reasons and Causes:
As soon as your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, the equilibrium of chemical reactions in your body can be upset.
There may be a number of causes, such as autoimmune disorder, hyperthyroidism treatments, radiation treatment, thyroid surgery, and certain medicines.
Your thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the bottom of the front of your throat, just below your Adam’s apple.
Hormones produced by the thyroid gland — triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) — have a massive influence on your health, affecting all parts of your metabolism.
These hormones also influence the management of critical functions, such as body temperature and heart rate.
Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. Hypothyroidism may be Because of a number of variables, including:
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system produces antibodies that attack your own tissues. Sometimes this procedure involves your thyroid gland.
Scientists are not certain why this occurs, but it is likely a combination of factors, such as your genes as well as an environmental cause.
However it occurs, these antibodies affect the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones.
Over-response to hyperthyroidism Therapy.
People who produce too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) are often treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications.
The goal of the treatments is to receive thyroid function back to normal.
But sometimes, correcting hyperthyroidism may end up decreasing thyroid hormone production too much, leading to permanent hypothyroidism.
Removing all or a large portion of your thyroid gland may diminish or stop hormone production. In that scenario, you’ll need to take thyroid hormone for life.
Radiation used to treat cancers of the head and neck may affect your thyroid gland and might cause hypothyroidism.
Numerous medications can contribute to hypothyroidism. 1 such medication is lithium, which can be used in the treatment of certain psychiatric disorders.
If you’re taking medicine, ask your doctor about its impact on your thyroid gland.
Less often, hypothyroidism may result from one of the following:
Some babies are born with a faulty thyroid gland or no thyroid gland. In most cases, the thyroid gland did not develop normally for unknown reasons, but some kids have an inherited form of the disease.
That’s one reason why most countries now require newborn thyroid screening.
Left untreated, hypothyroidism increases the chance of miscarriage, premature shipping, and preeclampsia — a condition that leads to a significant rise in a woman’s blood pressure through the previous three months of pregnancy.
Additionally, it may severely affect the growing fetus.
The trace mineral iodine — found primarily in seafood, seaweed plants developed in iodine-rich soil, and iodized salt — is vital for the production of thyroid hormones.
Too little iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, and a lot of iodine can aggravate hypothyroidism in those who have the condition.
In some areas of the Earth, iodine deficiency is most common, but also the addition of iodine to table salt has virtually eliminated this problem in the United States.
Though anyone can develop hypothyroidism, you’re at greater risk if you:
- Are a woman
- Are older than 60
- Have an autoimmune disorder, such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease
- Have been treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications
- Received radiation into your neck or upper torso
- Are pregnant delivered a baby over the past six months
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to numerous health issues:
Constant stimulation of your thyroid gland to release more hormones may cause the gland to become larger — a condition called a goiter.
Although generally not uncomfortable, a large goiter can impact your appearance and may interfere with swallowing or breathing.
Hypothyroidism may also be associated with an increased chance of heart disease and heart failure, primarily because substantial levels of high blood lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the”bad” cholesterol — can happen in people with an underactive thyroid gland.
Emotional health problems.
Depression may occur early in hypothyroidism and might become more acute as time passes. Hypothyroidism can also cause slowed mental functioning.
Intense uncontrolled hypothyroidism can lead to damage to your nerves.
These are the nerves that transmit information from the own brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body — for example, your legs and arms.
Peripheral neuropathy can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in affected areas.
This rare, life-threatening condition is the end result of chronic, undiagnosed hypothyroidism.
Its signs and symptoms include intense cold intolerance and drowsiness followed by profound lethargy and unconsciousness.
A myxedema coma might be triggered by sedatives, infection, or other stress in the human body. In case you have signs or symptoms of myxedema, you require immediate emergency medical care.
Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation, which impairs fertility. In addition, some of the causes of hypothyroidism — for example autoimmune disorder — may also impair fertility.
Babies born to women with untreated thyroid disorder might have a higher chance of birth defects when compared with babies born to healthy mothers.
These kids are also more vulnerable to serious intellectual and developmental issues.
Infants with untreated hypothyroidism present at birth are at risk of serious issues with both physical and mental improvement.
But if this condition is diagnosed within the first month or two of life, the odds of normal development are excellent.
In general, your physician may test an underactive thyroid if you’re feeling more tired, have dry skin, constipation, and weight reduction, or have had thyroid problems or goiter.
Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is based on your symptoms and the results of blood tests which measure the degree of TSH and at times the level of the thyroid hormone thyroxine.
A low degree of thyroxine and a high level of TSH indicate an underactive thyroid.
That’s because your pituitary produces more TSH in an effort to stimulate your thyroid gland into producing more thyroid hormone.
Doctors may diagnose thyroid disorders much earlier than previously — often before you experience symptoms.
Since the TSH test is the ideal screening test, your doctor will probably check TSH initial and follow with a thyroid hormone test if needed.
TSH tests also play an important role in managing hypothyroidism. They help your physician determine the right dose of medicine, both initially and over time.
In addition, TSH tests are used to diagnose a condition known as subclinical hypothyroidism, which usually causes no outward signs or symptoms.
In this state, you have normal blood levels of triiodothyronine and thyroxine, but greater than normal levels of TSH.
There are certain factors that may impact blood tests for thyroid problems. One is the blood-thinning drug called heparin.
Another is biotin, a vitamin taken as a standalone nutritional supplement or as part of a multivitamin.
Let your physician know about any medications or supplements you take prior to having blood tests performed.
Therapy This oral medicine restores adequate hormone levels, reversing the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.
You’ll probably begin to feel better shortly after you start treatment. The medicine slowly lowers cholesterol levels elevated by the disease and may reverse any weight reduction.
Remedy with levothyroxine will probably be lifelong, but because the dose you need may change, your doctor is likely to check your TSH level each year.
Determining proper dosage may take time
To find out the ideal dose of levothyroxine initially, your physician generally checks your degree of TSH after six to eight months.
After that, blood levels are generally assessed six months later. Excessive quantities of the hormone can cause side effects, such as:
- Increased desire
- Heart palpitations
If you’ve got coronary artery disease or severe hypothyroidism, your doctor may begin treatment with a smaller quantity of medicine and gradually increase the dose.
Progressive hormone replacement enables your heart to adapt to the rise in metabolism.
Levothyroxine causes virtually no side effects when used at the proper dose and is relatively cheap.
Also, do not skip doses or stop taking the medication because you’re feeling better.
Proper absorption of levothyroxine
Certain medications, nutritional supplements as well as some foods might affect your capacity to absorb levothyroxine.
Speak with Your doctor if you eat large amounts of soy products or a high-fiber diet plan or you take other medicines, such as:
- Iron supplements or multivitamins that contain iron
- Aluminum hydroxide, which is seen in some antacids
- Calcium supplements
Ideally, you are going to choose the hormone in the morning and wait for an hour before eating or taking additional medications.
If you take it at bedtime, wait four hours after your last meal or snack.
If you miss a dose of levothyroxine, take two pills the next day.
In case you’ve got subclinical hypothyroidism, talk about treatment with your physician.
For a comparatively moderate increase in TSH, you likely will not benefit from thyroid hormone therapy, and treatment could even be detrimental.
On the other hand, for a greater TSH level, thyroid hormones can improve your cholesterol level, the pumping ability of your own heart, and your own energy level.
Although most doctors recommend synthetic thyroxine, natural extracts containing thyroid hormone derived from the thyroid gland of pigs are available.
These products include both thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
Artificial thyroid medications comprise thyroxine only, and the triiodothyronine that your body requires is derived from thyroxine.
Extracts are available by prescription only and should not be mistaken with the glandular concentrates offered in natural food stores.
These products aren’t governed by the Food and Drug Administration, and their potency and purity aren’t guaranteed.
Preparing for your appointment:
You’ll probably start by visiting your family doctor or a general practitioner.
Sometimes, you could be referred to a physician who specializes in the body’s hormone-secreting glands (endocrinologist).
Children or teens will need to see a pediatric endocrinologist if there is any uncertainly about starting levothyroxine or proper dosing of the hormone.
Here is some information to help you get prepared for your appointment and understand what to expect from your physician.
What you can do:
- Be conscious of any pre-appointment limitations. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there is anything you need to do beforehand.
- Write down any symptoms you are experiencing, including any that might appear unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key private information, including any significant stresses or current life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins, or nutritional supplements you are taking.
- Require a family member or friend along, if at all possible. Someone who accompanies you might remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can allow you to make the most of your time with your physician.
For hypothyroidism, some basic questions to ask include:
- What is the most likely reason for my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or long-lasting?
- What therapies are available, and which do you recommend?
- I have these other health conditions. How do I best manage these together?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Can there be a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed stuff I will take with me? What sites would you recommend?
Don’t hesitate to ask any other relevant questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor:
Your doctor is likely to ask you several queries, including:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been constant or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to boost your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to worsen your symptoms?
- Do you have a family history of thyroid disease?
Ask your friends and loved ones for support.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, consider joining a support group or seeking counseling. Believe in your ability to take control of the pain…
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