About underactive thyroid symptoms
If you suffer from fatigue, weight gain, memory lapses, hair loss and cold sensitivity, and you haven’t been able to figure out the cause, you may be suffering from a simple problem experienced by millions: Your thyroid may be underactive.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of the throat. Like the other glands in the endocrine system, it produces hormones essential to regulating the body’s many internal systems.
Specifically, it produces one hormone that keeps blood calcium levels from rising too high and two others that maintain protein generation, energy use and metabolism rates. The thyroid is underactive when it produces too little of these hormones.
There are a number of dysfunctions and diseases that can occur to the thyroid. Thyroid cancer, while not rare, isn’t terribly common and is eminently treatable. It has a five-year survival rate of 97 per cent, one of the best for any type of cancer. Thyroiditis, meanwhile, is an inflammation of the thyroid that can cause fatigue, depression, weight gain and constipation, among other symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is a disorder caused by the thyroid’s underproduction of its chief hormones. Symptoms include everything from weight loss and irritability to sleep problems and increased appetite. The usual culprit is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease.
If your thyroid is underactive, you have the most common thyroid condition. Hypothyroidism, as it’s called, strikes about 5 per cent of the Australian population. It hits women more heavily than men, especially older women. It’s often mistaken for other illnesses, but once it’s caught, it’s usually fully treatable.
Ask yourself “is your thyroid underactive?”
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include slowed heart rate, fatigue, memory problems, weight gain, baldness and cold sensitivity. There are numerous causes, one of the biggest being chronic stress. Others include autoimmune disorders and congenital issues, though these are very rare. Surgery on the gland because of cancer, hyperthyroidism or other reasons can also lead to the thyroid being underactive.
Incidents of all types of thyroid disease are on the rise around the world, though the reasons are unclear. Thankfully, there are adequate treatments for most thyroid problems, including underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism can be treated with regular hormone replacement medications.
If you have an underactive thyroid it is imperative that you get the right diagnosis. Thyroid problems often mimic other medical issues, such as clinical depression. If you’re experiencing symptoms and you’re worried your thyroid may be underactive, talk to your doctor right away.
If you are concerned about the question “Is your thyroid underactive?” or experience symptoms of hypothyroidism, contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a thyroid surgeon.