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Hypothyroidism by Amanda Scott

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Are you constantly fatigued? Do you have unexplained weight gain, constipation, or have muscle aches? These could be symptoms of many different things, but it could also be hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland, a butterfly shaped gland in your neck, does not produce enough thyroid hormone. By reading on you will learn more about the symptoms, causes and treatments related to hypothyroidism.

There are many symptoms of hypothyroidism. Most of them do not connect to one another so most doctors’ end up treating individual symptoms rather than finding the cause. For example, a symptom of hypothyroidism is depression. Many people, including doctors, would treat the depression and not look at it any further unless combined with some more of the symptoms; fatigue, constipation, muscle soreness, muscle weakness, sensitivity to cold.

Wondering how you might have gotten hypothyroidism? Aren’t we all! Even if you know you have hypothyroidism and are being treating for it, you still might not know how it came about. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. An autoimmune disorder is where your bodies produce antibodies that attack your tissues. This is exactly how Hashimoto’s works. Experts still are not sure why these antibodies attack; there is a debate between nurture, nature, or both. Another cause is the treatment of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). If you had hyperthyroidism and received treatment for it, such as anti thyroid medications, it can result is a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. There are two main ways your thyroid gland stops producing enough thyroid hormone. The first way is that your thyroid gland has an error, such as in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The thyroid gland simply does not produce enough of the hormone, whether it is caused by nurture or nature. The second way is that your pituitary gland, in your brain, does not tell your thyroid gland to produce a sufficient amount of the hormone needed. However, having a disorder with your pituitary gland is not very common.

Now that you think you might have hypothyroidism, and you have some idea of how it comes about. You are probably wondering how to treat it. First you will need to get a blood test from your doctor to confirm whether you do or do not have the disorder. The blood test will test the amount of the thyroid hormone in your blood. If it is outside the “normal” range your doctor will start you on medication. Unfortunately, with hypothyroidism you will have to take the medication for the rest of your life, as there is no cure. The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is taking a tablet of synthetic thyroid hormone. The generic name for this medication is Levothyroxine Sodium. This tablet will help get the hormones back in your body artificially. Your doctor will start you on the lowest dose and give you a blood test every three to six months until you are at a dosage that puts your thyroid hormone in the “normal” range. After you find your proper dosage you will have to repeat the blood tests very six months to make sure nothing has changed. Another, although less common, option is desiccated thyroid. This is a tablet that is made of pig thyroid glands. Some people prefer it because it is natural and not made in a lab. Many doctor refuse to prescribe it because, since it is not made in a lab, the dosage is not always as accurate as a synthetic drug.

The cause for hypothyroidism is not always known. A lot of the time you may never know how you got this disorder. Doctors’ mostly do not care how you got it. They care more about treating it. The symptoms can be hard to overcome. However, the diagnosis and treatment is fairly simple.


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