Professionals estimate that 3% to 5% of the population suffers from hypothyroidism. This disease is found more often in women than in men with the most common causing being Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a genetic thyroid disorder.
Hypothyroidism is defined as lower than normal levels of thyroid hormones in your blood and higher than normal TSH levels. Regulated by the pituitary gland, which produces TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), and the hypothalamus that releases TRH (thyrotropin releasing hormone), the thyroid gland is dependent on these glands to work in conjunction to function properly. Just like any well-oiled machine, when one part is malfunctioning, an issue arises.
Symptoms include fatigue, depression, and weight gain and often mimic symptoms of other diseases. Some patients with thyroid issues suffer with concentration issues, extremely dry hair, and the inability to tolerate cold temperatures. It is important to rule out other factors before thyroid therapy treatments begin. Thyroid tests using a simple blood test will reveal the level of THC and thyroid hormones in your blood. If results determine that higher than normal quantities of TSH are present and your thyroid hormone level is low, hypothyroidism treatment options will be determined by your doctor.
Treatment options to explore include the following brief list:
Levothyroxine, a prescription drug to regulate and raise levels of thyroid hormones is the most common treatment plan. This treatment works very well in a short amount of time but does require lifelong treatment to maintain correct levels.
If nodules are present, an ultrasound followed by a biopsy will determine if the nodule is malignant or benign. Surgery is recommended for nodules that interfere with normal eating and drinking habits, or if the nodules are cancerous. In this case, a portion or all of the thyroid gland is removed and thyroid drug therapy will begin.
Some patients favor exploring alternative thyroid treatments before trying conventional treatments. Alternative treatments include lifestyle changes, dietary changes or supplements, herbal remedies and increased exercise. Those who advocate alternative treatments claim these treatments cleanse your body, regulate hormone levels, and even improve your immune system.
If you are experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism, consult with your family doctor for an initial consultation. Your family doctor can refer you to an endocrinologist for further testing and treatment options.