About 12 percent of the American public has thyroid disease. While most women, men, and even children can suffer from the symptoms of this endocrine disorder, the condition often goes undetected.
Let’s talk about eight common symptoms of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, what can be done to treat it, and where you can go for its treatment in Orlando, FL.
What Does the Thyroid Gland Do?
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that produces hormones (T3 and T4) and regulates metabolic processes, such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, body weight, and others. Located just below the larynx, this small, butterfly-shaped gland can begin to function poorly or stop working altogether, causing many somatic symptoms which tend to escalate over time.
What Causes Hypothyroidism?
There are many causes for underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease), also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. This autoimmune disorder leads to chronic inflammation of the thyroid. This disorder tends to run in families. Over time, the ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones often becomes impaired and results in a steady decline in function and eventually hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs most commonly in middle-aged women, but can be seen at any age, and can also affect men and children. Other causes include radiation treatment, certain medications, damage to the pituitary gland, and rare disorders that infiltrate the thyroid.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
There are eight very common symptoms of hypothyroidism. Many times, symptoms develop so slowly that people think they are related to simple aging, stress, or not getting enough sleep. The eight most common symptoms are:
- Unexplained tiredness, even fatigue
- Muscular weakness and joint pain
- Unexplained weight gain and puffiness of facial features
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Depression, confusion, and memory issues
- Dry skin and hair (even thinning hair)
- Puffy, droopy eyelids
Additionally, some individuals experience irregular, heavy, and/or light menstrual periods. Low libido and even infertility may accompany these changes. Left undetected and untreated, hypothyroidism can cause heart disease, peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the lower extremities), and an extreme condition called myxedema coma.
One of the most well-recognized and obvious signs of thyroid disease is goiter. A goiter is a dramatic enlargement of the thyroid gland; it impacts personal appearance and can interfere with breathing and swallowing.
What Can Be Done About Hypothyroidism?
Routine blood tests often detect underactive thyroid, so annual wellness examinations, including blood work, are important.
The usual treatment for underactive thyroid involves taking synthetic thyroid hormones. The dosages of this oral medication can be adjusted up and down depending on the patient’s response to the therapy. Most thyroid patients take replacement thyroxin for the rest of their lives and respond well.
Thyroid Evaluation and Treatment in Orlando, FL
At Diabetes & Weight Loss Center in Oviedo, FL, our family nurse practitioner, Adriel Perez, and his team help numerous adults control their hypothyroidism. If you think you have some of the symptoms of this disorder, please contact us for an in-office exam and blood work. We are a bilingual facility dedicated to individualized patient care and education.