To understand hypothyroidism, first know the thyroid. The thyroid gland is located anterior to (in front) and under the larynx (“Adam’s apple”). Absorbing the iodine the body takes in through food someone eats, the thyroid gland produces hormones responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. Cells count on metabolism to exchange oxygen and calories into energy.
Hypo-, in medical terminology, means low or lacking. Hypothyroidism is therefore a condition wherein the body is lacking thyroid hormone necessary for making adequate metabolism. If someone is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, they have a slow metabolism. It’s not known to many but it’s actually extremely common, occurring in 10% of women, some without even realizing it. Hypothyroidism symptoms may or may not show to motivate a person to get tested. So people should become aware of this condition and learn what hypothyroid symptoms they may be experiencing.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Difficult weight management (gaining)
- Unhealthy, dry hair
- Hair thinning
- Super-sensitive to cold temperatures
- Muscle spasms/pain
- Difficulty with bowel movements
- Loss of memory
- Irregular menstruation
- Lessened libido
The degree of hypothyroidism varies for each person causing hypothyroidism symptoms to be more or less apparent, sometimes not at all. The doctor to be consulted when experiencing any sort of symptom is an endocrinologist.
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism
A blood test showing levels of thyroid hormone within a person’s body is sufficient to diagnose hypothyroidism. Yet, the cause or main problem for having acquired the condition must be configured in order to realize the right solution or treatment. Looking further into the blood for specific chemical levels associated with the thyroid hormone can help lead doctors to the correct conclusion. BUT, as mentioned earlier, hypothyroidism is complex and different for everyone so correct conclusions can also be misleading. Careful analysis of symptoms, or lack thereof, must be taken into account.
Therapy for hypothyroidism is fairly simple. Depending on the severity or cause of the symptoms and condition, the treatment remains variable and adjustable. A thyroid hormone pill, Levothyroxine, is a common mode of treatment, being taken once daily. But this option is exclusive to some, while others may need or prefer a completely different treatment. The point is to correct the thyroid hormone deficiency to a normal level for that specific person’s body. Conditions which make the acquisition of hypothyroidism more risky for the patient, is heart disease and osteoporosis. If somebody is suffering from a heart problem, a common method of treatment is not recommended. Alterations must be done to avoid complications. A few medications can cause calcium loss and therefore bring about osteoporosis. To prevent any of this, blood tests and constant monitoring must take effect.