What is Hypothyroidism? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland, located in the neck, does not produce enough hormones. These hormones, known as thyroid hormones, play a crucial role in regulating the body's metabolism, energy levels, and overall growth and development.
Hypothyroidism can occur at any age, but it is most common in women over the age of 60. It can also occur in younger women, as well as in men and children. Risk factors for the development of hypothyroidism include a family history of the condition, radiation exposure, and previous treatment for hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary from person to person, but some common signs include fatigue, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, constipation, and depression. In some cases, individuals may also experience muscle weakness, joint pain, and an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter).
There are several causes of hypothyroidism. The most typical cause is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition in which the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system. Other causes include surgery to remove the thyroid gland, radiation treatment to the neck or upper chest, and certain medications. Some people may also be born with a congenital (present at birth) thyroid disorder.
The treatment for hypothyroidism usually involves taking a daily medication called levothyroxine, which is a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone. This medication can help to replace the hormones that the thyroid gland is not producing. The dosage of levothyroxine is adjusted based on the individual's specific needs and is monitored by regular blood tests to ensure that the hormones levels are at the correct levels.
In addition to levothyroxine, other treatments for hypothyroidism include:
- Iodine supplements: If the cause of hypothyroidism is related to a deficiency in iodine, taking iodine supplements may help to correct the problem.
- Thyroid hormone replacement therapy: In some cases, individuals may be prescribed a combination of levothyroxine and another thyroid hormone called liothyronine.
- Alternative therapies: Some individuals may choose to try alternative therapies such as herbal supplements, acupuncture, or lifestyle changes to manage their symptoms. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of these therapies is not well-established and they should not be used as a substitute for levothyroxine.
It is important to note that treatment for hypothyroidism is lifelong. Your doctor will schedule regular check-ups to monitor your hormone levels and adjust your dosage of levothyroxine as needed.
It's also important to follow a healthy lifestyle to manage your hypothyroidism symptoms, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing stress
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
If you suspect you may have hypothyroidism, speak with Dr Chary. She will be able to perform a physical examination and run some blood tests to determine if your hormone levels are low. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, treatment with levothyroxine can help to manage your symptoms and restore your hormone levels to normal. Most hypothyroid patients can live normal, healthy lives with the right care.06 February 2023 More Posts