In my last post I talked a bit about Hyperthyroidism and I also would like to discuss Hypothyroidism. I want to provide a balanced view of the different disease processes involved with a thyroid diagnosis. Considering that I’ve personally experienced both ends hyper and hypo.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Thus causing a hormonal imbalance that throws off your metabolism, causes issues with regulating body temperature, influences heart rate and causes issues with the production of proteins.
Again, the degree to which you may or may not feel a particular symptom is going to vary from person to person. I’m only listing the most common symptoms although there may be lots more.
- Weight Gain
- Puffy face
- Elevated Cholesterol
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Muscle Weakness
- Heavy or Irregular Menstrual Periods
- Thinning Hair
- Dry Skin
- Impaired Memory aka Brain Fog
Hashimoto’s aka Lymphocytic Thyroiditis is an auto immune system disorder where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland causing Inflammation, and over stimulation of the thyroid gland for an extended period that in turn will cause lack of hormone production. There is still research being done as to why some people develop the auto immune version of hypothyroidism.
More than 200,000 diagnosis’s are made each year in just the US alone. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism and is most common in middle-aged women. In most cases the typical onset is between 6 and 60 and family history can be a contributing factor.
Other Conditions Linked with Hashimoto’s
You are more likely to develop hashimoto’s when you have other immune disorders such as
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Celiac Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Autoimmune Hepatiis
- Addison’s Disease
During the physical exam the doctor may check for delayed reflexes, low pulse, and slowed speech or memory loss. They will also feel your neck to see if the thyroid gland is enlarged, lumpy or if you feel any pain or discomfort.
Lab tests will confirm the diagnosis. You’ll have blood drawn and they will check for T3, T4, TSH and an antibody test. Typically hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s patients show low levels of thyroxine and elevated levels of TSH. They may have you repeat the tests before offering a formal diagnosis.
Is it Dangerous ?
If left untreated hypothyroidism can lead to mental decline, heart disease, decreased lung function and goiter which in turn can cause dysphagia. The rarest complication of hypothyroidism is Myexedema which is a low thyroid induced coma. Again this is rare but, 50% of people diagnosed with Myexedema die from it. Almost every disease process has some kind of risk for further complication if not treated, so do yourself a favor and get checked out if at any point you feel like something isn’t quite right.
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