About Hypothyroidism

Learn about hypothyroidism! You may have it and not even know it!

The Thyroid gland controls most body functions. It affects heart rate, cholesterol level, body weight, energy level, muscle strength, skin condition, vision, menstrual regularity, mental state and a many other things. If the thyroid fails to work it can wreak havoc on everything. The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that wraps around the front of the windpipe just below the Adam's apple. The thyroid gland produces hormones that control metabolism and organ function. It pretty much controls everything in the body.

Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid condition. This condition is caused when the thyroid doesn't produce enough of the thyroid hormone. This is more common in women and the elderly although it can happen to anyone.

As the thyroid gland puts out less thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland starts secreting more thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to make the thyroid work harder. This increased workload on the thyroid may cause it to enlarge, resulting in what is known as a goiter.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism:

Fatigue, hoarse voice, forgetfulness, difficulty swallowing (if a goiter is present), intolerance to cold, mood swings, weight gain, depression, menstrual changes

Hypothyroidism goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are sometimes very vague and can be mistaken for other conditions. The only way to be sure is to have a doctor test for TSH levels. Treatment is usually thyroid hormone replacement supplementing the body's naturally produced hormone with a synthetic hormone tablet, levothyroxine sodium, which is generally taken for life. After being diagnosed with hypothyroidism it will be necessary to remain under a doctors care and go in for periodic TSH level tests to make certain the amount of thyroid replacement is accurate.

Sometimes even with treatment people will still show signs of hypothyroidism but the symptoms will be lessened and more tolerable.

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