What Does Treatment Involve
Hypothyroidism has many different symptoms ranging from mild to severe that can affect your quality of life. If left untreated, it can result in serious problems, like heart disease, infertility, and rarely, even death. Treating hypothyroidism lowers the risk of permanent problems and can also significantly improve your symptoms.
The main treatment for hypothyroidism is a thyroid-replacement pill called . Levothyroxine is a chemically made thyroid hormone, and works just like natural thyroid hormone in your body. It is taken every day, and your healthcare provider will adjust your dose based on your symptoms and blood tests. Once you find the best dose, your provider will continue to monitor your blood levels.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about your specific symptoms and questions before starting any new treatment.
Strategies To Manage Cold Intolerance
If you find that you are always colder than everyone else or you find yourself bundled up when the outside temperature does not warrant winter gear, it may be valuable to test your thyroid function. If your levels are evenly slightly irregular, it can create life-impacting cold intolerance.
Ahead, a list of suggested strategies to improve the discomfort and pain caused by cold intolerance:
Thyroid medication can help regulate body temperature
If you have hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s, your body may require synthetic thyroid hormone to operate effectively. With thyroid hormone replacement therapy, your body will be able to use stored energy and convert it to ATP to increase your body temperature. Without thyroid medication, your body lacks the necessary signal to turn up the heat.
The first step to getting thyroid medication is to meet with a thyroid specialist to assess your thyroid levels. Your specialist will be able to determine the appropriate thyroid medication and dosage for you based on your symptoms, medical history, and lab results. Many times, the dose of thyroid medication will need to be adjusted to improve your thyroid function and relieve symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Some people who live in seasonal environments with colder winters may need to adjust their thyroid medication to counteract the chill outside. It would be best to discuss any changes to thyroid medication with your doctor.
Enhance your sleep
Avoid unnecessary exposure to cold
Potential For Improved Thyroid Disorder Treatment
Dr. Warner said that until now, temperature sensitivity as a result of thyroid disorders has been attributed solely to the basal metabolic rate effects of too much or too little thyroid hormone.
However, this study shows that thyroid hormones role in the vascular control of body temperature may be of particular importance, she added.
Dr. Warner noted that the findings of this study may open up the possibility to treat thyroid patients who find their temperature sensitivity to be significantly detrimental to their quality of life.
Similarly, having a better understanding of all the conceivable consequences of thyroid hormone disorders is important for comprehensive patient care.
Dr. Warner said that the team would like to carry out further research in order to determine exactly why the smooth muscle does not respond correctly in the mice to regulate their body temperature.
She added: Wed also like to see the use of infrared thermography extended to humans, to see if any heat dissipation differences can be seen between euthyroid and different thyroid conditions.
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How Is Hypothyroidism Treated
In most cases, hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the amount of hormone that your thyroid is no longer making. This is typically done with a medication. One medication that is commonly used is called levothyroxine. Taken orally, this medication increases the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces, evening out your levels.
Hypothyroidism is a manageable disease. However, you will need to continuously take medication to normalize the amount of hormones in your body for the rest of your life. With careful management, and follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to make sure your treatment is working properly, you can lead a normal and healthy life.
Key Points About Hypothyroidism
- Hypothyroidism means your thyroid gland is underactive. It isnt making enough thyroid hormone. The most common cause is when your immune system starts to attack itself. It makes antibodies against the thyroid gland.
- Symptoms include dull facial expressions, tiredness, and weight gain.
- Blood tests can help diagnose this condition. They can measure the amount of thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormones in your blood.
- The goal of treatment is to return your levels of thyroid hormone back to normal.
- Untreated hypothyroidism may lead to anemia, low body temperature, and heart failure.
- Treatment may include medicine that replaces lost thyroid hormones. You usually will need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of your life.
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How The Thyroid Regulates Heat
Temperature regulation is one of the most important biological processes our bodies perform. Thermoregulation occurs primarily by thyroid hormones signaling various systems in the body to increase available energy resources. Typically, fat cells store energy. Specifically, brown fat cells play an essential role in converting T4 into the active form of T3. The body requires T3 to produce ATP , which is the active form of energy that is utilized by cells. ATP is essential for generating heat.
Increasing body temperature also requires an increased need for oxygen. Consequently, the heart and cardiovascular system must function well to deliver oxygen-rich blood to various systems in the body for heat production.
Can Getting The Flu Shot Affect Thyroid Health
Millions of people get the flu shot every year, and most of these people dont look at both the benefits and the risks before receiving it. Many people receive the flu shot due to the advice of their medical doctor, while others might be encouraged to receive it due a friend, family member, or another source. But is getting the flu shot a wise decision for people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions?
I have personally never received the flu shot, even before I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. But does this mean that I recommend for everyone not to receive the flu shot? Well, I realize that in certain age groups people are more at risk of getting the flu. One problem I have is that the flu vaccine wont always prevent someone from getting the flu, and it might not even reduce the persons chances of contracting the influenza virus. There is a lot of controversy over the flu shot, and in most cases I just dont see the benefits outweighing the risks.
Im sure there are some people reading this who have received the flu shot for many years, and havent gotten the flu virus. However, Ive known a number of people who received the flu shot but still got the flu. In fact, some people have gotten sick with the flu shortly after getting the flu vaccine, and so there is the possibility that getting the flu shot can sometimes increase the risk of someone getting sick with the flu.
Some Basic Information About The Flu Vaccine
So What Should You Do?
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What Is The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroids job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones help the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.
Are There Any Foods I Can Eat To Help My Hypothyroidism
Most foods in western diets contain iodine, so you do not have to worry about your diet. Iodine is a mineral that helps your thyroid produce hormones. One idea is that if you have low levels of thyroid hormone, eating foods rich in iodine could help increase your hormone levels. The most reliable way to increase your hormone levels is with a prescription medication from your healthcare provider. Do not try any new diets without talking to your provider first. Its important to always have a conversation before starting a new diet, especially if you have a medical condition like hypothyroidism.
Foods that are high in iodine include:
- Edible seaweed.
- Iodized salt.
Work with your healthcare provider or a nutritionist to craft a meal plan. Your food is your fuel. Making sure you are eating foods that will help your body, along with taking your medications as instructed by your healthcare provider, can keep you healthy over time. People with thyroid condition should not consume large amounts of iodine because the effect may be paradoxical .
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Too Cold Too Hot How Does The Thyroid Affect Body Temperature
While external temperatures certainly have an impact on whether a person is hot or cold, there are certain conditions that can actually affect the sensitivity of the human body to certain temperature conditions.
This may cause a person to feel cold even when it is room temperature or perhaps even hot. On the other hand, a person may also feel hot even while exposed to colder temperature conditions.
The Thyroid gland has many functions in the body, and various studies have shown that this particular gland that forms part of the endocrine system plays a role in internal temperature regulation. When issues arise with the Thyroid gland and the production of the hormones secreted by this structure, then temperature perception may be altered.
When there are too many Thyroid hormones in a persons body, it is possible for the individual to feel like they are hot all the time. On the other hand, when levels of these hormones decline too much, then the person may rather feel cold all the time.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan
MRI scans use magnets instead of radiation to create detailed cross-sectional images of your body. MRI can be used to look for cancer in the thyroid, or cancer that has spread to nearby or distant parts of the body. But ultrasound is usually the first choice for looking at the thyroid. MRI can provide very detailed images of soft tissues such as the thyroid gland. MRI scans are also very helpful in looking at the brain and spinal cord.
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Unless You Are Pregnant Approach Treatment With Caution
James Hennessey, MD, an endocrinologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, says patients often leap at the idea of hypothyroidism when they have certain symptoms because it is so easily treated he reviewed the studies for EndocrineWeb but wasn’t involved in them.
Its important to realize there are many other conditions which can produce similar symptoms, including depression, poor kidney function, or an autoimmune disease like systemic lupus, he says. So pushing for treatment may be premature or even counterproductive.
If you have symptoms that are causing you to worry, or that you’ve noticed recently, the best course of action is to make an appointment with your doctor to share these changes so your health can be assessed, and your thyroid status can be properly evaluated.
Dr. Hennessey offers another note of cautionyou should know that the TSH levels that are listed on websites as normal or abnormal may refer only to specific age ranges. There is a big difference between what is acceptable for a 30-year-old than for a 60-year-old. And, while 2.5 mlU/L is a great TSH level for a younger person, a thyroid function at 6.0 mlU/L is equally fine for a more senior patient.
Even when one doctor has treated you for years, Dr. Adimoolam says, if you change doctors for any reason, you should expect to be screened by your new provider who is likely to recommend that you taper off your thyroid replacement medication before checking your TSH levels.
Heat Intolerance And Thyroid Disease
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As well as cold intolerance, where you can be extremely sensitive to cold temperatures, heat intolerance can be a symptom of thyroid disease, too. This symptom can also be made worse by rising temperatures outside.
If you feel easily hot, especially compared to others around you, have hot flushes and dont do particularly well in warm weather, this may suggest that you experience heat intolerance. This can be linked to hypothyroidism for a few reasons.
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Hypothyroidism Symptoms And Indigestion
Hypothyroidism symptoms can sometimes include low stomach acid and poor digestion. Poor digestion is a major problem today. As nearly 44% of the population experience heart burn monthly and 20% of them experience it weekly. Heart burn is a paradoxical symptom caused by low stomach acid strangely enough, as you would think the problem based on its name, is caused by too much acid. What essentially is happening is the food isnt fully broken down. So it begins to rot in the stomach and organic acids from the decaying food rise up and burn the unprotected tissue of the esophagus.
The top 2 medications sold in 2014 were a thyroid medication called Synthroid and an acid-blocking medication called Nexium. This doesnt prove that one causes the other, but in my clinical experience, there almost always tends to be a link with poor digestion, low stomach acid, and chronic infection when it comes to hypothyroidism or Hashimotos.
Low stomach acid is commonly associated with hypothyroidism and or Hashimotos. Stomach acid or hydrochloric acid has a few different roles in the body, one being the first domino of the digestive process. HCL does this by lowering the pH in the stomach. This activates the digestive enzyme pepsin, which breaks down protein. The acidity produced from the stomach acid stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile salts, which are important for fatty acid break down.
Menopausal Women Have An Increased Risk
If you are a woman of menopausal age you are more like to develop insomnia, particularly if your thyroid gland is not functioning efficiently, or if you are suffering from hypothyroidism.
The effects of thyroid gland inefficiency can be more severe in menopausal women. The lower levels of estrogen due to hypothyroidism can trigger menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, irritation, excessive sweating, and so on and there is really no need to explain how difficult it can be to get some sleep when you are experiencing such disturbing symptoms!
This is how a thyroid problem at menopausal age can cause you to spend countless nights feeling restless without getting any sleep.
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Feeling Down Or Depressed
Hypothyroidism is linked to depression. The reasons for this are unclear, but it might be a mental symptom of an overall decrease in energy and health .
64% of women and 57% of men with hypothyroidism report feelings of depression. About the same percentage of men and women also experience anxiety .
In one study, thyroid hormone replacement improved depression in patients with mild hypothyroidism, compared to a placebo .
Another study of young women with mild hypothyroidism showed increased feelings of depression, which were also connected to decreased satisfaction with their sex lives (
Feeling depressed is a good reason to talk to a physician or therapist. They may be able to help you cope, regardless of whether the depression is caused by thyroid problems or something else.
Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause depression and anxiety. These conditions are shown to improve with thyroid hormone replacement.
So What’s The Verdict
Moderate alcohol consumption may have some health benefits like reducing the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of developing type II diabetes, or preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Drinking in moderation is safe for many people.
However, suppose you have a thyroid condition. In that case, it might be in your best interest to either limit or abstain from alcohol. If you have an autoimmune disease, you more susceptible to developing a leaky gut and should avoid anything that increases intestinal permeability, like alcohol.
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What Are Tsh Levels And What Do They Mean
Your thyroid doesnt work alone it relies on your pituitary gland for directions. Your pituitary gland is at the base of your brain, and it activates your thyroid by releasing thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH. When your thyroid isnt working as hard as your body needs it to, your pituitary gland releases more TSH to stimulate it into action. The more active your thyroid, the less TSH will be in your system.
Unless theyre pregnant, most peoples TSH levels fall somewhere within the range of 0.4 milliunits per litre to 4.0 mU/L. If your TSH levels are above 4.0mU/L, you likely have hypothyroidism also known as underactive thyroid, where your immune system attacks the thyroid gland. Conversely, if your TSH levels fall below the normal range, you could have hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid.
Who Is At Risk For Hypothyroidism
You may be more likely to have hypothyroidism if you:
- Are a woman
- Are older than age 60
- Have had thyroid problems or thyroid surgery in the past
- Have a family history of thyroid problems
- Have certain conditions, such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
- Have Turner syndrome, a genetic condition that affects women
- Are pregnant or have had a baby within the past 6 months
- Have an iodine deficiency. Your body needs iodine to make thyroid hormone.
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Lung And Nasal Problems Or Mucus
To keep your oxygen levels normal, your lungs must be able to inhale enough oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
Asthma, COPD, pneumonia, lung scarring, and many other respiratory diseases that affect the lungs are a common cause of hypoxia.
Additionally, people who have nasal blockage may have difficulty breathing, though this is usually much less severe than lung diseases. However, if you have severe problems breathing through your nose or constant mucus, talk to your doctor to see how your breathing difficulties could be impacting your health and oxygen levels.