Have you been feeling abnormally fatigued? Are you experiencing increased sensitivity to cold? Do you have unexplained weight gain or muscle aches and tenderness? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you could be suffering from hypothyroidism, a very common hormone disorder in the United States.
The thyroid gland is located in the anterior portion of the neck. It is one of the most important glands in the body because it secretes thyroid hormones necessary for bone growth, brain maturation, respiratory rate, body temperature and the list goes on.
Hypothyroidism is a serious illness that can sometimes go undiagnosed. Below are some of the symptoms associated with this disorder.
- Pale, dry skin
- A puffy face
- Memory problems or having trouble thinking clearly
- An elevated blood cholesterol level
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in joints
- Muscle weakness
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Brittle fingernails and hair
Hypothyroidism is most common amongst middle-aged, older women. In the United States, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which the body's own antibodies attack the thyroid gland, destroying it.
Other causes of hypothyroidism include thyroid surgery, radioactive iodine therapy for hyperthyroidism, radiation therapy, infections and medications.
To diagnose a patient with hypothyroidism the physician will do a simple blood test to detect the levels of thyroid hormone circulating in the patient’s body. If the blood test shows abnormally low thyroid hormones the physician will do further studies to find the exact cause of hypothyroidism.
The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone. The drug restores thyroid hormone levels back to sufficient amounts in the body. It takes about one to two weeks for this medication to take work.
Some people have subclinical hypothyroidism. Their levels of thyroid hormone are not low enough for clinical treatment, but are low enough to interfere with daily life. According to Dr. Dixie Mills from womentowomen.com, there are natural ways to treat your subclinical hypothyroidism. They include:
- Eating thyroid supporting food: Shrimp, haddock, salmon, sea vegetables, mushrooms that are rich in iodine, selenium, and zinc and vitamins A, B, and C
- Get regular exercise: Research shows our thyroid hormones can increase as a result of increased heart rate and blood flow
- Prioritize restoration by decreasing stress level daily
If you think that you may be suffering from hypothyroidism have your thyroid hormone levels checked today and be on your way to a happier, healthier you!
Source: mayoclinic.com, medscape.com, womentowomen.com
Photo Credit: dreddyclinic.com, futurity.org