What Happens when You Have an Underactive Thyroid?

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition where the thyroid does not manufacture enough thyroid hormone.

Thyroid is a gland that is shaped like a butterfly near the front part of your neck. The thyroid's job is to manufacture hormones that regulate how the body consumes energy.

People whose thyroids do not produce enough thyroid hormone will feel the effects all throughout their body. Hypothyroidism can cause one to feel a sensation of tiredness or weakness. Left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause an uptick in one's cholesterol levels. It can also increase the chances that one will have a stroke or heart attack. Pregnant women should be especially careful, because their babies can be negatively affected.

Anyone can be afflicted with hypothyroidism, but elderly people are more susceptible to it. The ones who run the highest risk of getting hypothyroidism are women who are above the age of 60. People should also check out their medical history. Their chances of getting hypothyroidism increase if it is present in their family.

But people who are afflicted with hypothyroidism should not despair. It is not hard to treat this disease.

Causes
Many Americans have hypothyroidism due to a condition known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It also goes by the name chronic autoimmune thyroiditis. A person gets Hashimoto's thyroiditis when their immune system, which is supposed to naturally defend the body, manufactures antibodies that hammer and even annihilate the thyroid gland. It is tricky to detect Hashimoto's thyroiditis because no pain is felt by one who has it. A long time can pass before it is diagnosed.

Hashimoto's disease is the most widespread type of autoimmune thyroid disease. Elderly people and women are more likely to get it than others. Hashimoto's thyroiditis can also strike one along with other diseases, such as Addison's disease, pernicious anemia, diabetes, premature menopause, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The thyroid glands of people who have Hashimoto's thyroiditis are not able to manufacture enough thyroid hormone. This is why they suffer from hypothyroidism.

You may have an underactive thyroid if you feel fatigued, or if you notice that your hair is becoming thinner. Your skin may also be drying out, and your nails may be becoming more brittle. If this is the case, consult a doctor to see if you need treatment. The thyroid gland of people who have hypothyroidism may also have become swollen and inflamed. However, you may not need to seek treatment if you do not experience these symptoms.

Aside from Hashimoto's thyroiditis, other causes of small levels of thyroid hormone are the radiation therapy used to treat cancer and surgery to excise the thyroid gland.

While not as common as the previous reasons, ¬other causes of hypothyroidism can be drugs like lithium and viral diseases.

Symptoms
Here are some symptoms of hypothyroidism:
• Constipation
• Brittle nails and dry skin
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Irregular and heavy menstruation
• Problems with clear thinking and memory
• Sensations of depression, weakness or tiredness
It is possible that these symptoms happen one by one over a long period of time. Some people might be fooled into thinking that these symptoms are merely the sign of aging. But you should see a doctor they symptoms persist.

Diagnosis
It is easy to diagnose hypothyroidism. All it takes is a quick and easy blood test to see if your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone. Before prescribing a blood test, your doctor will probably quiz you about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam.

 


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