Diagnosing and Treating an Underactive Thyroid
Underactive thyroid is a common problem. If the thyroid is determined to be underactive at producing the necessary hormones for healthy function, a person is said to have a condition known as hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a surprisingly common health disorder, and there are treatment options available that can help counteract the negative effects associated with this disorder. Understanding the purpose of the thyroid as well as diagnosis and treatment methods for hypothyroidism can dramatically improve a person’s health.
The Big Responsibility of the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a significant hormone-producing gland in the human body.
Located at the top of the spine and the base of the skull, the thyroid is responsible for the production of hormones that course through the bloodstream and affect organs from the heart to the brain to the skin and hair. These hormones are largely responsible for metabolic functions.
Symptoms Associated with Reduced Thyroid Function
If the thyroid is underactive, a person will usually begin to notice chronic symptoms that are not affected or eliminated by changes in diet, activity or behaviour. The first symptom that is usually noticed is a persistently low level of energy.
The thyroid is a metabolic gland, which means it is responsible for creating hormones that process and deliver energy to the body.
Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid may include difficulty sleeping, depression or mood changes, violent changes in weight gain or loss, appetite issues, hair and skin changes, or chronic muscle aches and joint pain.
What are the Causes?
The most common cause of an underactive thyroid is a disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune condition which causes inflammation in the gland. The body produces antibodies that mistakenly attack and destroy the cells within the thyroid.
Other causes may include viral or bacterial infections that attack the thyroid, excessive radiation therapy to treat thyroid cancer or other forms of cancer, thyroid surgery that damages the gland, pregnancy, birth defects, or certain medications which can affect the healthy function of the thyroid.
Treatment Options for Hypothyroidism
An underactive thyroid may be treated by the administration of a synthetic, or man-made thyroid hormone. This artificial hormone will supplement the hormone created by your thyroid and help to regulate normal body functions. Regular blood tests and lab workups will be required to monitor hormone levels within the body.
Unfortunately, hypothyroidism is typically a lifelong condition that requires permanent treatment. With regularly scheduled monitoring, however, individuals with this condition can expect to lead healthy lives.
If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of an underactive thyroid, please contact Thyroid Clinic Sydney to assess and discuss your thyroid concerns, phone 1300 113 310.