Your thyroids produces hormones which is in control of your metabolism, how fast you burn calories, energy levels, heart rate, and mental activity. It has a butterfly shape and is found at the lower front of your neck. When thyroid hormone isn’t produced enough for what your body needs, it leads to hypothyroidism.
It is a common endocrine disease and worldwide, it’s main cause is the lack of iodine, a very important mineral that your body needs. The second cause is autoimmune, which means your own body produces antibodies and attacks itself. The most common forms are Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and atrophic thyroiditis. Surgical removal of part or complete thyroid gland is another cause due to nodules, cancer or Grave’s disease.
It is more common in women, found in 3,7% of the population and more common in less-developed countries. According to the World Health Organization 30,6% of the population have inadequate iodine nutrition and it is seen to increase in elderly population.
Other risk factors are family history, type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms may vary from person to person. You may see that some of the symptoms are more marked than others and other people with the same condition will not have the same complaints as you. Others have subtle symptoms that the disease goes unnoticed through years.
You may find increased cholesterol levels, your skin appears dry and rough, hair loss, depression, irritability, weight gain and increased difficulty losing weight, memory loss, fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps and muscle aches, constipation, loss of libido and abnormal menstrual cycles and you can’t tolerate cold temperatures like those people around you.
The proper diagnosis depends on many factors, first the symptoms, your medical and family history since it has a genetic factor. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, if you have ever had thyroid surgery or feel like your body is slowing down.
The first and most important is the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test. It measures how much of the hormone is being produced in your body. If the hormone levels are increased, it means there isn’t enough T4 hormone running through your bloodstream so your body is trying to produce more TSH but can’t compensate the lack of it. Normal levels range from 0,4 to 2,0. T4 tests will be low in people who suffer from hypothyroidism. This test measures how many are in the bloodstream and able to get into cells. Normal T4 levels range from 4,4-11,2mcg/dL.
Unfortunately, it is a chronic disease that can’t be cured, but the good thing is it is very easy to treat. A thyroid hormone pill known as Levothryroxine should be taken every day, preferably in the morning. Dosage will be regulated by your doctor, it takes time to get there but once you have the proper amount your body will start running smoothly as before. Do not hesitate in telling your doctor if you feel the amount is still not correct so that blood hormone tests can be made to calculate a better amount for you. Improvement with the medicine can start as early as 1 to 2 weeks and complete metabolic response will be normal for up to two months.