A Quick Guide to Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, also referred to as underactive thyroid disease, is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is a very important part of the body, as it releases hormones that travel through the bloodstream and affect almost every part of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscle and skin.

However, hypothyroidism isn’t easy to detect, especially in its early stages. This is why you need to have yourself checked for this disease in clinics that specialize in hypothyroidism, such as the RedRiver Health and Wellness Center in Las Vegas. If you suspect you may be suffering from this disorder, don’t hesitate to have yourself tested.

Symptoms

Hypothyroidism exhibits different signs and symptoms depending on how severe the condition is. One thing to note about this condition is that problems are slow to develop, so you may barely notice any symptoms at first.

Early symptoms may include weight gain and fatigue, which doesn’t seem very alarming. You may even attribute these symptoms to something harmless such as aging. However, as your metabolism grows slower, you’ll start showing more noticeable symptoms such as the following.

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Heightened sensitivity to cold
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Dry Hair
  • Hair loss
  • Cramps
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Heavy periods or irregular menstrual cycles
  • Face, hands and feet look puffy
  • Insomnia
  • Libido loss
  • Thinning of hair
  • Goiter
  • High cholesterol
  • Anemia
  • Recurrent respiratory and urinary tract infections
  • Hoarseness
  • Depression
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Causes

Patient having her thyroid checked

Hypothyroidism is caused by the thyroid gland’s inability to produce sufficient hormones. When this happens, a number of complications can be experienced.

There are a number of conditions that cause the thyroid gland to malfunction. The most common cause is Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland. Other causes include thyroid surgery, hyperthyroidism treatments, medications and radiation therapy.

Risk Factors

It’s possible for anyone to develop hypothyroidism, but people who are any of the following are more at risk.

  • 60 years and older
  • A woman
  • Have an autoimmune disease
  • A family history of thyroid disease
  • Have a goiter
  • Previous radiation treatments to the head, neck or upper chest.
  • Have given birth in the last six months
  • Had a partial thyroidectomy
  • Received radioactive iodine treatments or used anti-thyroid medications

Possible Complications

When left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to various health issues such as the following.

  • Heart problems
  • Goiter
  • Mental health issues
  • Myxedema
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Infertility
  • Birth defects

Children and teenagers who develop hypothyroidism may also experience any of the following.

  • Delayed teeth development
  • Poor growth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Mental development issues

Treatments

Standard hypothyroidism treatment includes the use of synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine, such as Levo-T and Synthroid, which supplements the thyroid hormone. However, there are alternative treatments you can try such as functional medicine, which treats the underlying causes of the condition.

Hypothyroidism is slow to develop with barely any symptoms in its early stages, so the disease may go unnoticed for a very long time. As time goes by, you’ll start experiencing more pronounced symptoms. If left untreated, you’ll experience various health complications. It’s important to have yourself checked as soon as you notice any symptom, especially if you have a family history of thyroid issues.

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