What Is Hypothyroidism​?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It is the most common thyroid disorder.

What Are The Causes Of Hypothyroidism?

In approximately 95 percent of cases, hypothyroidism is due to a problem in the thyroid gland itself and is called primary hypothyroidism. However, certain medications and diseases can also decrease thyroid function. As an example, hypothyroidism can also develop after medical treatments for hyperthyroidism, such as thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid) or radioactive iodine treatment (to destroy thyroid tissue). In some cases, hypothyroidism is a result of decreased production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by the pituitary gland (called secondary hypothyroidism).

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An Underactive Thyroid?

Some people with hypothyroidism have no symptoms but most people feel tired. There are many possible symptoms of hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Slight weight gain
  • Getting cold easily
  • Developing coarse or thin hair
  • Brittle nails
  • Constipation

What Are The Risk Factors Of Hypothyroidism?

Thyroid problems are more common in women, can occur at any age but tend to increase with age, and are more common in some communities over others.

How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

  • Thyroid Function Tests (TSH , FT4, FT3)
  • Thyroid Antibodies (Thyroglobulin Ab, Thyroid Peroxidase Ab)
  • Thyroid Ultrasound

What Are The Possible Treatments For An Underactive Thyroid?

Treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking thyroid hormone pills every day. After you take the pills for about 4-8 weeks, your doctor will test your blood to make sure the levels are where they should be. They might adjust your dose depending on the results. Most people with hypothyroidism need to be on thyroid pills for the rest of their life.

Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism cannot be prevented, but it is treatable.

What Are The Risks If Hypothyroidism Is Left Untreated?

If it is not treated, hypothyroidism can potentially weaken or slow your heart. This can make you feel out of breath or tired especially when you exercise. Untreated hypothyroidism can also increase your blood pressure and raise your cholesterol – both of which increase the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.

Are There Other Related Conditions To Hypothyroidism?

If Hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease, you may potentially be at risk for other autoimmune disorders.

Key Takeaways About An Underactive Thyroid

  1. Hypothyroidism is a treatable condition that makes you feel tired.
  2. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include: Lack of energy, getting cold easily, developing coarse or thin hair, or constipation. If it is not treated, hypothyroidism can also weaken and slow your heart, elevated your blood pressure or elevated cholesterol.
  3. Some people with hypothyroidism have no symptoms. It can be hard to diagnose because a lot of conditions can cause similar symptoms. Therefore, getting evaluated and treated accordingly by an Endocrinologist is important.

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