Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a medical clinical state in which the thyroid gland is under-active and secreting less of thyroid hormones in the body. Hypothyroidism is more common in women and in those beyond the age of 50 years old.

The most common cause of Hypothyroidism is thyroiditis or inflammation of the thyroid gland. Untreated Hypothyroidism may cause obesity, joint pains, infertility or heart disease. Hypothyroidism is associated with the following symptoms.

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry Skin
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Myxedema (puffy face)
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression
  • Slower heart rate

Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

Laboratory results of Thyroid Function Test will show an elevated level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), but low levels of Thyroid hormones (Thyroxine). This connotes that the pituitary gland is producing an adequate supply of TSH, but the thyroid gland is simply under-active.

Treatment Options Hypothyroidism

The standard treatment for Hypothyroidism is the hormonal replacement with synthetic thyroid hormone like levothyroxine (Levothroid) taken daily. The exogenous replacement of thyroid hormone will restore adequate levels of thyroid hormone and will consequently reverse the signs and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. Levothryroxine is relatively inexpensive and is relatively safe when given in the right dosage to affected individuals. It is important to note that the absorption of levothyroxine may be hampered with high fiber diet and high soy bean intake; medications like iron supplements, cholestyramine, aluminum hydroxide, and calcium supplements.

Outcomes

The prognosis for people with a hypothyroid is generally good, when treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone. Pregnant mothers with untreated hypothyroidism may have an increased rate of neonatal morbidity. The incidence of placental abruption and pre-term labor is significantly increased in mothers with sub-clinical hypothyroidism.

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