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Hypothyroidism Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Are you feeling more tired than usual? Do you have dry skin, constipation, or always feel cold? 

You could be experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism, a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones needed by the body to function properly. Hypothyroidism affects nearly 5% of the population, with women more likely to develop the condition. 

It’s important to understand the symptoms because they can mimic other health problems or signs of aging. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, depression, and nerve damage. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the causes, diagnosis, and treatment options for hypothyroidism. Let’s dive in!

Causes of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, where the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. 

Other causes include radiation therapy, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, and certain medications.

Risk Factors of Hypothyroidism 

There are several risk factors associated with hypothyroidism. 

Having a family history of thyroid disorders, being over 60 years old, being female, and having undergone radiation treatment in the neck or chest area increases the risk of developing hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Living with hypothyroidism can be a real challenge, especially when you encounter different symptoms. They tend to develop slowly and may not seem serious at first.

Hypothyroidism symptoms include:

  • brain fog, 
  • constipation,
  • depression,
  • dry skin, 
  • fatigue,
  • hair loss, 
  • joint and muscle pain, 
  • and sensitivity to cold temperatures.

So, if you’re wondering why you can’t lose those extra pounds or why you always feel exhausted, it might be time to check your thyroid levels!

Hypothyroidism symptoms are also experienced differently in men and women. Women tend to have fatigue, weight gain, and depression, while men mostly have hair loss, fatigue, and, less frequently, weight gain.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor to determine if your thyroid gland is functioning properly.

Medical Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism

When it comes to diagnosing hypothyroidism, blood tests are used to check for levels of thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the body. High levels of TSH and low levels of thyroid hormone indicate an underactive thyroid. These tests are usually done in the morning on an empty stomach, as food can affect the results.

However, blood tests alone may not be enough to confirm a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Other tests, such as a thyroid ultrasound or a thyroid scan, may also be needed to assess the size and appearance of the thyroid gland. In some cases, a fine-needle aspiration biopsy may be necessary to check for cancerous or abnormal cells in the thyroid.

It’s important to note that a diagnosis of hypothyroidism should only be made by a doctor or medical professional. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment can be dangerous and may lead to serious health complications. So, if you suspect that you may have hypothyroidism, make sure to consult with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment Options for Hypothyroidism

When it comes to managing hypothyroidism, there are different treatment options available depending on the severity of the condition. 

It is important to note that the effectiveness of these treatment options may vary from person to person. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for each individual case.

Medications

Some common medications prescribed for hypothyroidism include levothyroxine, liothyronine, and desiccated thyroid extract. These medications help to regulate hormone levels and alleviate symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and depression. However, it is important to note that medication alone may not be enough to manage hypothyroidism, and lifestyle changes may also be necessary.

A Healthy Diet

One of the lifestyle changes that can help manage hypothyroidism is a healthy diet. 

Consuming foods that are rich in nutrients such as vitamin D, iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc can help support thyroid function. 

Foods such as seafood, eggs, and whole grains can help supply the body with these essential nutrients. Avoid goitrogenic foods like broccoli, kale, and cabbage.

Regular Exercise

In addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise can also help manage hypothyroidism. Exercise can help boost metabolism, which can help with weight management, and it can also help improve mood and energy levels.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and herbal supplements are also becoming increasingly popular in managing hypothyroidism. While there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these therapies, some individuals report improvements in symptoms.

Reach Out to The James Clinic

By taking a proactive approach to managing the condition, individuals with hypothyroidism can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

At The James Clinic, we listen to our patients and make recommendations for improving thyroid function.

We make getting care easy. Reach out to our team, get high-quality and convenient care through our membership, and take back your health.

Are you ready to get started? Request a consultation today!

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