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The thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones, which is a condition known as hypothyroidism. It's characterized by a butterfly-shaped growth in the neck that's easiest to feel when you swallow. In fact, the thyroid is so easy to feel that most people don't know they have a problem until they undergo a routine thyroid checkup.
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to heart problems, infertility, muscle weakness, weight gain, and depression. But if you catch it early enough, it's easily treatable with regular hormone injections or an oral medication that replaces your body's natural thyroid hormones.
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Under your Adam's apple in the front of your neck is where the thyroid gland is situated. If you're having a hard time finding it, try swallowing a few times. When you do this, you can feel the thyroid move up toward your throat.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Here are 10 common symptoms of hypothyroidism −
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If you have hypothyroidism, you're probably always tired. It can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, and you may find yourself wanting to take a nap in the middle of the day. This fatigue is caused by the slowing down of the body's metabolism.
2. Weight gain
One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain. This is because the body's metabolism is slowed down, so it's harder to burn off calories. You may also find yourself craving high-calorie foods.
3. Cold intolerance
Do you find yourself reaching for a sweater when everyone else is in short sleeves? That's because people with hypothyroidism often have a hard time regulating their body temperature. This cold intolerance is caused by slowed metabolism and reduced blood flow.
4. Dry skin
Dry, flaky skin is another common symptom of hypothyroidism. This is because the thyroid hormone is responsible for keeping the skin moist. When there's not enough of this hormone, the skin can become dry and cracked.
5. Brittle nails
Do your nails seem to be breaking more easily than usual? This is another symptom of hypothyroidism, caused by dry skin. The nails may also be ridged or split.
6. Thinning hair
Hair loss is another common symptom of hypothyroidism. This is because the thyroid hormone is responsible for hair growth. When there's not enough of this hormone, the hair can become thin and brittle.
Depression is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, caused by a hormonal imbalance. This can be a difficult symptom to manage, but there are treatments available.
Are you feeling more irritable than usual? This could be a symptom of hypothyroidism. The hormonal imbalance can cause mood swings and irritability.
Constipation is another common symptom of hypothyroidism. This is because the thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating the digestive system. When there's not enough of this hormone, the digestive system can slow down, causing constipation.
10. Muscle weakness
Muscle weakness is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. This is because the thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating the muscles. When there's not enough of this hormone, the muscles can become weak and frail.
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to talk to your doctor. Hypothyroidism is a treatable condition, but it's important to catch it early.
Hypothyroidism can be a frustrating condition to live with. People may feel tired all the time, have trouble losing weight, or have dry skin and hair. But there’s good news− by following a hypothyroidism diet, you can ease your symptoms and even lose weight.
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A hypothyroidism diet should include plenty of fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. People should also limit processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. In addition, you need to make sure you’re getting enough iodine, selenium, and zinc.
Here are 10 diet tips for living with hypothyroidism−
Eat plenty of fresh, whole foods.
Limit processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Make sure you’re getting enough iodine, selenium, and zinc.
Eat plenty of fiber.
Drink plenty of water.
Get enough vitamin D.
Get regular exercise.
Following a hypothyroidism diet can be a challenge, but it’s worth it to feel your best. With a little planning and effort, you can eat healthily, lose weight, and take control of your condition.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Numerous factors, such as the following, can lead to hypothyroidism−
1. Autoimmune disease
An autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most frequent cause of hypothyroidism. The most typical cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
2. Iodine deficiency
Iodine is a mineral that's necessary for the production of thyroid hormone. So, a deficiency of iodine can lead to hypothyroidism.
3. Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy, used to treat cancer, can damage the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.
4. Thyroid surgery
Thyroid surgery, such as a total thyroidectomy, can remove the entire thyroid gland and cause hypothyroidism.
Certain medications, such as lithium and interferon, can damage the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.
During pregnancy, the demand for thyroid hormone increases. If the thyroid gland can't keep up with this demand, it can result in hypothyroidism.
7. Congenital hypothyroidism
The thyroid gland doesn't function properly in congenital hypothyroidism, which is a condition that is present at birth. It can be caused by a genetic defect, or by a problem with the development of the thyroid gland.
8. Pituitary gland disorder
The hormone that the pituitary gland secretes causes the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism may result from a pituitary gland that is not functioning properly.
9. Viruses and bacteria
Certain viruses and bacteria can damage the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.
While stress is not a direct cause of hypothyroidism, it can trigger the release of hormones that can interfere with the thyroid gland's function.
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism
Diagnosis of hypothyroidism usually involves blood tests that measure the levels of certain thyroid hormones and antibodies. If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, your doctor will likely recommend these tests to help determine if you have the condition.
Other tests may be done to rule out other causes for your symptoms.
Treatment and Precautions for Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is treated with replacement hormones, which can be taken in pill form or as an injection. If you take the medication daily, it will help to keep your thyroid functioning normally and prevent a relapse of symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your doctor will likely recommend that you make some changes in your diet. These changes include eating more fiber, fruits and vegetables, which can help to lower cholesterol levels. You may also be advised to limit or avoid alcohol consumption, as well as foods high in iodine such as seafood and kelp supplements.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body produces too little thyroid hormone. This can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, and depression. Although there is no cure for hypothyroidism, it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. With proper treatment, most people with hypothyroidism can lead normal, healthy lives.
1. What is Hypothyroidism?
When you have hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland doesn't make enough hormones to keep your body functioning normally. It's also known as an underactive thyroid gland.
2. How do you get Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism can be hereditary, but it can also develop over time due to other factors such as autoimmune disease, radiation exposure, or surgery. You may also have hypothyroidism if you−
Are older than 60 years old;
Have a family history of thyroid disease; or
Have had your thyroid removed surgically or by radioactive iodine therapy due to Graves' disease.
3. Who is at risk for developing hypothyroidism?
The following groups have an increased risk of developing hypothyroidism− Women over age 35 who are pregnant or breastfeeding; People with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus; People with celiac disease; People who have had their thyroid removed surgically or by radioactive iodine therapy due to Graves' disease; People who have had radiation therapy for cancer; and People who have recently been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid.
4. What causes hypothyroidism?
When your thyroid gland fails to produce enough of the hormones your body requires, hypothyroidism develops. This can be caused by Hashimoto's disease (an autoimmune disease), surgical removal of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy), or radiation treatment for cancer. In some cases, no cause is found for the low levels of thyroid hormone.
5. What signs or symptoms indicate hypothyroidism?
The most common symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain, but it can also cause fatigue, feeling cold all the time, constipation, and dry skin. Less common symptoms include brittle nails, muscle cramps, and hair loss.
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