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Hypothyroidism

Joseph M. Marietta, MD October 9, 2011Uncategorized

The Thyroid gland is in your neck and makes thyroid hormone which controls how the body uses and stores energy. Hypothyroidism is the term doctors use when a person does not make enough thyroid hormone.

Women, especially over 50, are more likely to have hypothyroidism than men are.

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism? — Some people with hypothyroidism have no symptoms. But most people feel tired. That can make the condition hard to diagnose, because a lot of conditions can make you tired.

Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include: lack of energy, getting cold easily, developing coarse or thin hair, getting constipated (having too few bowel movements), unexpected weight gain and depression.

There are numerous cause of Hypothyroidism but Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, is the most common. This occurs when the body makes antibodies that attack the thyroid and keep it from producing enough hormone. Other causes include radiation therapy, thyroid surgery and certain medications.

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

Is there a test for hypothyroidism? — Yes. Your doctor can test you for hypothyroidism using a simple blood test.

How is hypothyroidism treated? — Treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking thyroid hormone pills every day. Approximately 6 weeks after you start taking the medicine your doctor will test you again to determine if you are on the correct dose. He or she may adjust your dose depending on the results. Most people with hypothyroidism need to be on thyroid pills for the rest of their life.

If you have any of the symptoms described above, call your doctor and make an appointment for an examination and testing.