Common Side Effects of an Underactive Thyroid
Underactive thyroid is one of two common glandular conditions. The technical term for it is hypothyroidism. It refers to a hormone imbalance in your thyroid gland that causes an insufficient release of hormones into the body.
It can take several months or years of hormone deficiency for signs and symptoms of a thyroid problem to present themselves, but once these problems start, you will need to seek treatment to avoid cascading metabolic and cellular health problems.
What causes an Underactive Thyroid?
There are several known causes that trigger a change in hormone production:
- Hashimoto’s Disease-an autoimmune disorder
- Medication interactions
- Radiation treatment
- Inflammation of the gland
- Congenital or genetic conditions
If you have had your thyroid gland removed, due to cancer or disease, you will have an underactive hormone supply for life. You need to takes medications and supplements to make up for the hormones your body can no longer produce.
What are the symptoms that I need to watch for?
The condition is progressive, so it takes time for symptoms to show up. Just like the causes, there are several warning signs that, when put together, signal a thyroid problem.
Underactive thyroid symptoms include:
- Fatigue-this is the most common complaint; an abnormal level of tiredness
- Weight gain-keep an eye out for unexplained weight fluctuations
- Depression-a result of the chemical-metabolic imbalance
- Intolerance to cold-your body will lose its natural temperature regulation
- Dehydration-will show up in dry skin, thinning hair, and constipation
Thyroid changes have to be quite advanced before they will show up on a standard blood test. It is possible for results to come back “within normal range” even though you’re in the earlier stages of an underactive thyroid condition.
Pay attention to how you are feeling and get a second opinion from a thyroid specialist if necessary.
How is the condition treated?
There are different schools of thought on how to treat thyroid conditions.
Most doctors recommend starting a synthetic hormone replacement therapy. However, depending on the severity of your condition, it may be possible to control it or stabilize it with dietary changes. Iodine deficiency is known to cause underactive thyroid. If the condition is caught soon enough, it may be possible to reverse it using iodine-rich foods. This isn’t the right approach for every patient or every thyroid condition.
Even if you choose to try a natural remedy, your course of treatment needs to be monitored by a specialist. Do not proceed with a treatment independent of sound medical advice. That decision could have serious, even fatal consequences.
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