Hypothyroidism can evolve into serious a condition but, unfortunately, some of the first symptoms of hypothyroidism may be experienced as nuisances more than anything. For example, you might have trouble with aches and pains in your joints, you may feel like you are retaining water a bit more than usual and you may have dry skin and feel generally rundown. While these can all be symptoms of hypothyroidism, everyone knows that these can also be symptoms of entirely predictable conditions, such as simply getting a little bit older.
It is important to make sure that if these signs and symptoms are becoming enough of a problem for you that they are disrupting your life you consider visiting a specialist or, at least, your regular physician to have them investigate what is going on with your body. If it is hypothyroidism, you could start noticing some other telltale symptoms but it takes a physician and, in some cases, it takes quite a bit of time to make a final diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
Very General Symptoms
When you first start noticing that something is not right with your body, it may manifest in ways that lead you to believe it is either something immediately life-threatening, or nothing to worry about at all, neither of which may turn out to be the case.
For example, women with hypothyroidism may experience very heavy periods and this is always cause for alarm. In some cases, women affected with this disorder may have a longer than average period, as well. You should always visit your physician if you have any irregularities with your menstrual cycle.
Sufferers may also find themselves feeling cold all the time. This is a good sign that your metabolism is running too slow, one of the classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. If you feel like, even when you have the heat cranked up and everyone else seems completely comfortable, that you were still shivering, you may want to consider talking to your physician about the issue.
The causes of hypothyroidism may include:
- Autoimmune disease, eg. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Iodine deficiency is the commonest cause worldwide
- After treatment for hyperthyroidism, eg due to anti-thyroid medications or radioiodine
- After thyroid surgery for any cause
- After radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck
- Medication associated, eg. lithium
- Pregnancy associated, eg. postpartum hypothyroidism
- Due to a pituitary disorder
- Congenital hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can result from inflammation of the thyroid gland, certain autoimmune conditions and a resistance to the hormones the thyroid secretes. Serious consequences are also a possibility, so it is vital that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible, if you have any symptoms that may indicate that there are problems with your thyroid gland.
In addition to problems that stem from the thyroid gland itself, rarely problems with your pituitary gland or your hypothalamus may also cause hypothyroidism. Your doctor will investigate all of these thoroughly to figure out where the issue is stemming from. Once they do, they can start recommending a course of treatment to help you get your body functioning correctly again.
Doctors may recommend a course of medication for hypothyroidism, which can help to augment the level of thyroid hormone in the body and restore the body’s metabolism to normal. This is usually a very easy treatment to stick with, consisting of nothing more than taking a pill to make sure that you have enough thyroid hormone in your body. The results of treatment are typically very good.
The important thing to keep in mind is that some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism – particularly cardiac symptoms – are also symptoms of very serious and potentially life-threatening medical issues that need to be addressed by a medical professional.
If you feel a bit mentally foggy, like you don’t have any energy, and suffer from unexplained depression, your thyroid may actually be the issue. Do not diagnose yourself, however, and make sure you see a qualified physician to get more information.
If you have questions or concerns about thyroid problems see your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a thyroid surgeon.
For more information about thyroid disorders click here.