Your thyroid gland is responsible for metabolic functioning in your body. It is a large endocrine gland that lies in the neck region. This gland makes proteins and regulates how quickly we burn energy. It, as well, produces the hormones, thyroxine, and triiodothyronine along with calcitonin.
When your thyroid does not work as fast or as efficiently as it should due to tumors or disease it will slow down causing inefficiency. This is called hypothyroidism. It is also referred to as an underactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism occurs more likely in women, particularly those over the age of 50 years old. In the early stages it does not usually cause any type of problem, but if it is left untreated it can cause health conditions such as infertility, heart disease, joint pain, and/or obesity. The first signs of any type of thyroid abnormalities are not usually noticeable. You may just feel a little more fatigued than you normally do.
This is the beginning of a slowed down metabolism. As your hypothyroidism progresses other symptoms may become more apparent. These symptoms would include pale and/or dry skin, a hoarseness in your vocal region, increased blood cholesterol, puffiness around the facial area, cold sensitivity, constipation, muscle weakening, discomfort in your joints, weight gain, heavy menstrual periods, depression, and/or brittle nails and hair.
If your hypothyroidism is left untreated a goiter or enlargement of the gland may develop. Your thyroid is working too hard and trying to release the hormones that it needs to function properly. Other complications, as well, may develop. This is why treatment of hypothyroidism or any health problem should be diagnosed and treated promptly.
Diagnosing hypothyroidism is quite simple. Through testing of TSH and sometimes thyroxine, and your signs and symptoms your doctor will be able to determine your condition and whether your thyroid is deficient.
Treating hypothyroidism is accomplished with medication that will give your body back the hormones that it needs to run as it previously had. You will generally feel the effects of this medication within a couple of weeks of taking it. You will need to take this medication on a permanent basis. On this medication, your body’s cholesterol level will return to normal and you may be able to lose the weight that might have been put on prior to this. Certain foods may interact with the absorption of this medication so it is important to discuss this with your doctor.
Testing for hypothyroidism is very simple. Treatment for hypothyroidism is very simple. If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms for hypothyroidism please visit your physician to rule this or any other medical problems out. If you need treatment please do not hesitate to get it. You may very well be saving your life.
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