Treating an Underactive Thyroid
Do you suffer from memory problems, weight gains, loss of energy and hair loss? Are you and your doctor having a hard time locking down the cause and plotting the best course of treatment? Like about a million other Australians, you may be experiencing the effects of an underactive thyroid. If you have questions or concerns about underactive thyroid treatment please contact your local doctor.
The thyroid is a gland located at the base of the throat. It’s one of several endocrine glands, organs responsible for producing hormones that impose balance on a number of internal bodily systems.
The specific job of the thyroid gland is to secrete the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which regulate such functions as energy use, metabolism and protein creation. The thyroid also produces calcitonin, a hormone that keeps blood calcium levels from becoming too elevated.
These hormones are critical to a healthy life. Without them, we can suffer problems in everything from energy and sex drive to appetite and mood. There are several major thyroid problems, of which underactive thyroid is one.
Thyroid cancer is more common than it used to be, but it’s eminently beatable. The five year survival rate is 97 percent. There are rarely any symptoms beyond a neck nodule and, late in the cancer, neck pain and vocal changes. Most cases are caught more because of testing than symptoms.
Overactive and Underactive Thyroid Treatment
There are two disorders that result from malfunction of the thyroid gland itself: overactive thyroid and underactive thyroid. The first occurs when the gland produces too much thyroxine and triiodothyronine, the second when it produces too little.
Overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, comes with symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, sleep troubles, increased hunger and weight loss. This disorder is usually the result of Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition. It’s treated with any number of things, from antithyroids and beta-blockers to surgery and radiation therapy.
The polar opposite of this condition is hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. Symptoms of this condition include cold intolerance, weight gain, fatigue, depression, rapid thoughts, muscle cramps, lowered heart rate and constipation.
Hypothyroidism can be brought on by several factors. Stress is a common cause. The disorder can be inherited, but only rarely. Iodine deficiency is behind a large number of cases. Hypothyroidism can develop following pregnancy, as a result of some medical problems, and due to long-term use of lithium to control bipolar disorder.
If you have surgery to remove your thyroid, whether because it’s overactive or because it’s cancerous, you’re at risk of developing underactive thyroid. This will definitely happen if you undergo a complete removal of the gland, known as a total thyroidectomy, though it can also happen with a partial thyroidectomy.
Hypothyroidism is a chronic medical condition, and there’s no cure. But it’s usually very treatable. Treatment consists of daily hormone replacement therapy. The most important step is getting an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can mirror many other illnesses, from depression and fibromyalgia to menopause and sleep apnoea, so it’s imperative that you discuss all your problems with your doctor.
If you have questions or concerns about underactive thyroid treatment contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a thyroid surgeon.