The thyroid gland is a vital part of the function of hormones throughout the body, as well as controlling how quickly the body uses energy and monitoring proteins, and I know this feeling quite well. About 20 years ago, I went to the doctor for routine blood work and he discovered that my thyroid was underactive. It’s a good thing he did because he treated me with 75mg of Levothroxine sodium daily, and I have been excellent. Just last month he raised the dose to 100 mg because going through menopause does such havoc to a woman’s system, but for me, this was the cure for hypothyroidism.
The thyroid hormones are T1 – T4, and they regulate the growth and function of the other hormones in the thyroid as well as those in the rest of the body. (WebMD.com) The body has almost 50 hormones plus additional steroids that are controlled by the small, walnut-sized gland directly below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid also produces calcitonin, which is very significant in calcium homeostasis for a healthy skeleton.
So, maintaining good health and balance with the thyroid is significant, but thyroid disease can produce either an underactive function called hypothyroidism or an overactive thyroid that is called hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a disease that, if left untreated, does not produce the hormones required to operate the body properly and the body will suffer greatly. (MayoClinic.org/diseases)
Hypothyroidism used to be a disease that occurred in women over 60, but in recent years, both women and men of younger years have the disease. Even children and teens have developed hypothyroidism, where they have experienced side effects like delayed puberty, delayed development of permanent teeth and slow physical and mental growth when they were untreated. Infants have also been born with no thyroid, so they need treatment immediately.
The signs and symptoms are the same for anyone who has an underactive thyroid, but many of the symptoms can go unnoticed, where they will get extremely severe. The first warning signs are
fatigue, constipation, dry skin, unexplained weight gain, sensitivity to cold, muscle weakness, puffy face, high cholesterol, pain and swelling in joints, muscle aches either tender or stiff, heavier menstrual periods, thinning hair, depression, slower heart rate and impaired memory, which are found on Wiki.com.
These symptoms are typical, but older people might attribute them to aging, and get into the habit of massaging and stimulating the thyroid. This is not healthy because rubbing may lead to an enlarged goiter, slow thought processes and reduced memory. When you have noticed several of these signs, the easiest way to handle the situation is to see your doctor and ask for a blood test or have the blood test as an early warning.
There is nothing mystical about hypothyroidism. As the thyroid continues to decrease in strength, these symptoms and signs become more evident, and more signs will be acquired. If hypothyroidism goes untreated for years, serious health issues, such as extremely low blood pressure, decreased breathing and body temperature or myxedema, which can be fatal. Without treatment, systems controlled by the thyroid will go unregulated and unresponsiveness or even a coma could result. (WebMD.com/diseases)
To avoid a complete shutdown of the systems regulated by hormones and steroids, schedule a visit to your doctor. The doctor then determines the level of T1-T4 thyroid hormones that are being produced, and the results are usually available in a day or two. You will know for sure if hypothyroidism is the cause of your symptoms. If caught early, treatment involves taking medication daily, and if the disease has progressed there are other therapies to solve the issue. See your doctor, so you will feel better!