Three Things You Need To Know About Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid, a gland that’s found in the neck, is working suboptimally. Here are three things to know about hypothyroidism:

  It’s Hard To Recognize

The symptoms of hypothyroidism come on very slowly. It’s also more common in older people and people often mistake its symptoms for the signs of aging. The symptoms include mental problems like depression and confusion. The person might also suffer a diminishment in his or her hearing, dry skin, numbness and cramps, clumsiness, constipation and weak muscles. However, a simple test can show whether the thyroid is failing. This test can detect a rise in thyroid stimulating hormone, which the pituitary gland makes when it senses that the thyroid is underactive.

More Women Have It Than Men

Some studies show that as many as a tenth of all women over 50 have an underactive thyroid. Fortunately, many of these women have no symptoms. The bad news is because they have no symptoms the disease might be allowed to advance and bring complications like obesity and cardiovascular problems.

Some women contract hypothyroidism after they give birth. Some medical professionals believe this is because the woman’s body makes antibodies that attack her thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism needs to be treated before the woman gets pregnant again because it can increase her risk of miscarriage, premature labor and pre-eclampsia, where her blood pressure can rise dangerously. Hypothyroidism can also cause a woman to have irregular periods or periods that are heavier than they should be.

It Can Be Hereditary

Some people are born with a tendency toward hypothyroidism. There are even people who are born without a thyroid gland. At first, the babies seem normal, but after a while they become jaundiced, their faces appear puffy and they can choke and have a protruding tongue. They sleep too much, can be constipated and simply fail to thrive. Children who have hypothyroidism don’t thrive either mentally or physically. They might even have delayed puberty or their permanent teeth don’t grow in when they should.

According to leading doctors, treatment for hypothyroidism is also easy. The doctor may prescribe drugs like levothyroxine, which is an artificial hormone that helps the body regain healthy levels of thyroid hormone. The drug eases the fatigue many patients feel, lowers the levels of bad or LDL cholesterol and can even help obese patients lose weight. Some patients need to take the synthetic hormone via injection using syringes secured with a spin luer for the rest of their lives and may have to make modifications to their diet to better absorb the hormone.