When you’re feeling sluggish, you might assume it’s just part of getting older. But it could be hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. In this guide, you’ll learn more about hypothyroidism, including its symptoms and treatment options.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ positioned in the front of your neck. It makes hormones that help regulate your metabolism and energy levels. When the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone, it’s known as hypothyroidism.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
– weight gain
– difficulty losing weight
– joint pain
– muscle weakness
– dry skin
– hair loss
– cold intolerance
But in some cases, people with hypothyroidism don’t experience any symptoms.
How is Hypothyroidism Treated?
Hypothyroidism is typically treated with synthetic thyroid hormone medication. Once you’re on the correct dosage of medication, most symptoms will disappear within a few weeks. However, it’s important to have regular checkups with your doctor to make sure you’re on the right dose.
Testing and Monitoring
A simple blood test can determine whether someone has hypothyroidism. Doctors measure the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your bloodstream to see if it’s elevated, which is a sign you may have hypothyroidism. If the TSH level isn’t elevated but you still have symptoms of hypothyroidism, your doctor may order additional tests to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
If you’re diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it’s important to have regular checkups with your doctor to make sure your medication dosage is correct. The goal is to keep your TSH level within the normal range. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can cause adverse effects, so it’s important to have your levels monitored.
Food & Lifestyle Changes
There’s no cure for hypothyroidism, but certain lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms. If you have hypothyroidism, it’s important to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Exercise is especially important since it can improve energy levels and help with weight loss in some cases. It may also reduce the risk of heart disease, which is a common complication of hypothyroidism. In addition, you should avoid eating foods that can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption.
Living with Hypothyroidism
If you’re living with hypothyroidism, there are a few things you can do to make life easier:
– Make sure you’re taking your medication as prescribed. Skipping doses or not taking the medication correctly can make the symptoms of hypothyroidism worse.
– Pay attention to your symptoms and see your doctor regularly if they don’t go away once you start taking your medication.
– If you smoke, quit. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease. Nicotine also interferes with thyroid hormone absorption by slowing down the movement of iodine in your body.
If you think you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to manage the condition. You could make contact with a hypothyroid treatment Denver clinic, or find a suitable healthcare provider in your local area.