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Category Archives: Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

What is Hypothyroidism?

The thyroid gland is an important endocrine gland that controls the bodys metabolism. It is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. The thyroid gland produces the hormones tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

Together these hormones regulate how your cells use energy. The pathways by which cells use energy is called metabolism. Your bodys general metabolism determines blood pressure, heart rate, and weight.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Low levels of thyroid hormone interfere with the bodys ability to perform normal metabolic functions such as efficient use of energy from food products, regulation of many chemical reactions in the body, and maintenance of healthy cells, bones and muscles, to name a few.

There is no known prevention for hypothyroidism, nor is there a cure. Once you have it, you have it for life.

The most common causes are surgical removal of your thyroid, autoimmune diseases, and radiation treatment.

This may be necessary to treat hyperthyroidism, or tumors of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism will occur when the entire gland is removed.

These diseases cause the production of antibodies that attack your thyroid gland. Autoimmune thyroiditis, which can appear suddenly or develop over several years, is more common in women. Hashimotos thyroiditis and atrophic thyroiditis are the most common types.

Radiation treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma and cancers of the head and neck can injure the thyroid gland. If this occurs, the gland cannot produce enough thyroid hormone to keep your metabolism running smoothly. Radioactive iodine (I-131) destroys the thyroid gland and can be used to treat people with Graves disease and thyroid cancer. Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism.

Some children are born without a thyroid gland or they may have one that doesnt function properly.

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Hypothyroid Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments – WebMD

Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid disease, is a common disorder. With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.

The thyroid gland is located in the front lower part of your neck. Hormones released by the gland travel through your bloodstream and affect nearly every part of your body, from your heart and brain, to your muscles and skin.

The thyroid controls how your body's cells use energy from food, a process called metabolism. Among other things, your metabolism affects your bodys temperature, your heartbeat, and how well you burn calories. If you don't have enough thyroid hormone, your body processes slow down. That means your body makes less energy, and your metabolism becomes sluggish.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's thyroiditis. "Thyroiditis" is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder. With Hashimotos, your body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis may also be caused by a viral infection.

Other causes of hypothyroidism include:

Radiation therapy to the neck area. Treating certain cancers, such as lymphoma, requires radiation to the neck. Radiation damages the cells in the thyroid. This makes it more difficult for the gland to produce hormone.

Radioactive iodine treatment. This treatment is commonly prescribed to people who have an overactive thyroid gland, a condition known as hyperthyroidism. However, radiation destroys the cells in the thyroid gland. This usually leads to hypothyroidism.

Use of certain medications. Certain medicines to treat heart problems, psychiatric conditions, and cancer can sometimes affect the production of thyroid hormone. These include amiodarone (Cordarone), lithium, interferon alpha, and interleukin-2.

Thyroid surgery . Surgery to remove the thyroid will lead to hypothyroidism. If only part of the thyroid is removed, the remaining gland may still be able to produce enough hormone for the body's needs.

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Hypothyroidism-Topic Overview – WebMD

This topic provides information about hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism means your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. If you are looking for information about when the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, see the topic Hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism means your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes hormones that control the way your body uses energy.

Having a low level of thyroid hormone affects your whole body. It can make you feel tired and weak. If hypothyroidism is not treated, it can raise your cholesterol levels. During pregnancy, untreated hypothyroidism can harm your baby. But hypothyroidism can be treated with medicine that can help you feel like yourself again.

People of any age can get hypothyroidism, but older adults are more likely to get it. Women age 60 and older have the highest risk. You are more likely to get the disease if it runs in your family.

In the United States, the most common cause is Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It causes the body's immune system to attack thyroid tissue. As a result, the gland can't make enough thyroid hormone.

Other things that can lead to low levels of thyroid hormone include surgery to remove the thyroid gland and radiation therapy for cancer. Less common causes include viral infections and some drugs, such as amiodarone and lithium.

Hypothyroidism can cause many different symptoms, such as:

Symptoms occur slowly over time. At first you might not notice them, or you might mistake them for normal aging. See your doctor if you have symptoms like these that get worse or won't go away.

Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms. You will also have a physical exam. If your doctor thinks you have hypothyroidism, a simple blood test can show if your thyroid hormone level is too low.

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The Thyroid Book | Hashimotos Hypothyroidism Fatigue

Check out my latest podcast interview about the connection between gluten and Hashimotos hypothyroidism on I also touch on some new research were doing on foods that cross-react with thyroid tissue and are implicated in autoimmune thyroid conditions.

The brain is always a piece of the Hashimotos puzzle One thing I have learned from my readers is they are largely on their own. Rarely do conventional or alternative practitioners understand the depth of Hashimotos, a complex web that involves the neurological, hormone, and immune systems (we call it the neuroendocrine-immune axis). If you []

Also in this article: Hair loss in Hashimotos patients What you need to know Recent published study Hashimotos reduces brain function Top 10 reasons Hashimotos patients dont get better There is not one easy fix to successfully managing Hashimotos hypothyroidism, an autoimmune thyroid disease. As many people have learned the hard way, []

A new study shows Hashimotos patients with symptomless celiac disease (i.e., no digestive complaints) require 49 percent more T4 to achieve the same TSH levels as non-celiac Hashimotos patients. After the patients followed a gluten-free diet for 11 months their TSH levels came down with the same T4 requirement as the non-celiac Hashimotos patients. Gluten []

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Symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Fatigue, depression, anxiety, and changes in weight are just a few common thyroid symptoms.

Updated February 02, 2015.

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See's Medical Review Board.

It sometimes seems that the symptoms of a thyroid problem -- whether underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism) -- can be as hard to pin down as the diagnosis itself. Open any medical reference or check out any web site, and you might see very different lists of the symptoms supposedly pointing to thyroid conditions.

In my case, after I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I started developing a variety of symptoms they didn't mention in the doctor's office.

The doctor initially described hypothyroidism as something can make you tired and gain weight. While problematic, these were understandable symptoms. Then my hair fell out. And my periods started coming more frequently, and more heavily. And my skin started flaking. The doctors and articles didn't mention many of these less common symptoms of hypothyroidism I started to experience. So I read more, and I surfed the web. And I talked to other thyroid patients. And I found out that things like hair falling out, and weird menstrual periods, trouble catching my breath, and feeling depressed were all common symptoms of hypothyroidism.

For me, despite the fact that these were caused by my thyroid, I felt that knowing was better than not knowing! I'd rather realize that my thyroid problem still needs some further treatment than worry in the middle of the night that something awful is happening to my body!

Among reputable medical sources, it seems that there is some medical agreement that the following are the basic symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.


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Hypothyroidism – In-Depth Report – NY Times Health

In-Depth From A.D.A.M. Background

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that produces hormones, notably thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which stimulate vital processes in every part of the body. These thyroid hormones have a major impact on the following functions:

These hormones can also alter the actions of other hormones and drugs.

The thyroid gland, a part of the endocrine (hormone) system, plays a major role in regulating the body's metabolism.

Regulating thyroid function is a complex and important process that involves several factors, including iodide and four thyroid hormones. Any abnormality in this intricate system of hormone synthesis and production can have far-reaching consequences on health.

Iodide. An understanding of the multi-step thyroid hormone process begins with iodide, a salt that is extracted from the blood and trapped by the thyroid gland. Iodide is converted to iodine in the thyroid gland. (Eighty percent of the body's iodine supply is stored here.) Iodine is the material used to make the hormone thyroxine (T4).

Thyroid Hormones. Four hormones are critical in the regulation of thyroid function:

Hypothyroidism occurs when thyroxine (T4) levels drop so low that body processes begin to slow down. Hypothyroidism was first diagnosed in the late nineteenth century when doctors observed that surgical removal of the thyroid resulted in the swelling of the hands, face, feet, and tissues around the eyes. They named this syndrome myxedema and correctly concluded that it was the outcome of the absence of substances, thyroid hormones, normally produced by the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is usually progressive and irreversible. Treatment, however, is nearly always completely successful and allows a patient to live a fully normal life.

Hypothyroidism is separated into either overt or subclinical disease. That diagnosis is determined on the basis of the TSH laboratory blood tests. The normal range of TSH concentration falls between 0.45 - 4.5 mU/L.

Subclinical, or mild, hypothyroidism (mildly underactive thyroid), also called early-stage hypothyroidism, is a condition in which thyrotropin (TSH) levels have started to increase in response to an early decline in T4 levels in the thyroid. However, blood tests for T4 are still normal. The patient may have mild symptoms (usually slight fatigue) or none at all. Mildly underactive thyroid is very common (affecting about 10 million Americans) and is a topic of considerable debate among professionals because it is not clear how to manage this condition.

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