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What Are The Signs Of Low Thyroid

Diagnosing An Underactive Thyroid

Signs of Low Thyroid Level (Hypothyroidism), & Why Symptoms Occur

It’s very important that an underactive thyroid is diagnosed as soon as possible.

Low levels of thyroid-producing hormones, such as triiodothyronine and thyroxine , can change the way the body processes fat.

  • are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • have just given birth
  • have another health condition, such as heart disease, which may complicate your medication
  • are taking a medication known to cause a reduction in thyroid hormones, such as amiodarone or lithium

Milder Forms Of Hypothyroidism Are Harder To Diagnose

Although the majority of cases of hypothyroidism will be easy to diagnose with these simple blood tests, many millions of people will have this disease in mild to moderate forms which are more difficult to diagnose. The solution for these patients is more complex and this is due to several factors.

First, we must realize that not all people with hypothyroidism are the same. There are many degrees of this disorder from very severe to very mild. Additionally, and very importantly, we cannot always predict just how bad an individual patient will feel just by examining his or her thyroid hormone levels. Blood levels have normal ranges, but other factors need to be taken into account as well, such as the presence or absence of symptoms.

In other words, some patients with what would be considered mild deviations in their thyroid laboratory test results will feel just fine while others will be quite symptomatic. The degree of thyroid hormone abnormalities often, but NOT ALWAYS, will correlate with the degree of symptoms.

It is important for both you and your physician to keep this in mind since the goal is not necessarily to make the lab tests go into the normal range, but to make you feel better as well! We must also keep in mind that even the normal thyroid hormone levels in the blood have a fairly large range, so even if a patient is in the normal range for the general population, it may not be the normal level for them.

No One Size Fits All Approach

For the majority of people with hypothyroidism, taking some form of thyroid hormone replacement will make the thyroid function tests return to the normal range, AND this is accompanied by a general improvement in symptoms. Because of this, physicians will often rely on test results to determine when a patient is on the appropriate dose and therefore doing well.

But this simple approach does not hold true for everybody. Occasionally the correct dosage is a bit difficult to pinpoint and therefore you may need an exam and blood tests more frequently. Also, some patients just don’t do well on some thyroid medications but will feel better with other options. So its important to need to find an endocrinologist who is willing to listen to you and to spend the time you need to explore different dosages and to consider other types of medications .

Bottom line: Many factors must be considered in establishing a personalized plan for treating hypothyroidism, and it is different for every individual.

Remember, thyroid tests have a wide normal range. You want to work with a doctor who helps make you FEEL better, not just make your labs better because once given this diagnosis, you are likely to carry it for a long, long time. There is more than one drug, there is more than one lab test, and there is a just right doctor for everybody.

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What Causes Hypothyroidism In Pregnancy

In most cases, women with hypothyroidism during pregnancy have Hashimotos disease. This autoimmune disease causes the bodys immune system to attack and damage the thyroid. When that happens, the thyroid cant produce and release high enough levels of thyroid hormones, impacting the entire body. Pregnant women with hypothyroidism may feel very tired, have a hard time dealing with cold temperatures and experience muscles cramps.

Thyroid hormones are important to your babys development while in the womb. These hormones help develop the brain and nervous system. If you have hypothyroidism, its important to control your thyroid levels during pregnancy. If your baby doesnt get enough thyroid hormone during development, the brain may not develop correctly and there could be issues later. Untreated or insufficiently treated hypothyroidism during pregnancy may lead to complications like miscarriage or preterm labor.

How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed

Low Thyroid Symptoms  TSH Testing Flaws!

It can actually be difficult to diagnose hypothyroidism because the symptoms can be easily confused with other conditions. If you have any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, talk to your healthcare provider. The main way to diagnose hypothyroidism is a blood test called the thyroid stimulating hormone test. Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests for conditions like Hashimotos disease. If the thyroid is enlarged, your provider may be able to feel it during a physical exam during an appointment.

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Treating An Underactive Thyroid

Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels. You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.

If an underactive thyroid isn’t treated, it can lead to complications, including heart disease, goitre, pregnancy problems and a life-threatening condition called myxoedema coma .

Read more about treating an underactive thyroid and the complications of an underactive thyroid

Feeling Chilly Or Overheated

Blood pressure is directly linked to circulation. Low circulation will result in feelings of being chilled. You might find that you are reaching for a sweater when others are feeling just fine. If you are always cold or notice that your hands and feet become particularly chilled when uncovered, you may be experiencing a symptom of hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism might present in the opposite way. This could cause you to feel hot flashes or experience excessive sweating.

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Dry Skin And Other Skin Changes

Dry skin is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism, and it can affect over 70% of people with this health issue. With less thyroid hormone, the skin becomes thinner and more scaly because of dead skin cells. These changes result in the rough feeling we associated with dry skin. Dry skin is more likely to affect the skin on your arms and legs above the joints, but can involve your palms and soles.

There is also a serious skin condition called myxedema that can happen in severe, untreated hypothyroidism. In myxedema, your skin gets extremely swollen because a type of sugar builds up in the skin and pulls in water. Other symptoms of myxedema can include confusion, and heart and lung problems. If you ever notice these kinds of symptoms, see your provider for treatment right away.

Skin changes due to hypothyroidism can be reversed with treatment, although it can take up to 3 to 6 months after thyroid levels have returned to normal for skin to be the same again.

What Is The Thyroid Gland

Here Are The Symptoms For Low Thyroid

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 hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.

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Muscle Aches And Trouble Swallowing

Muscle aches throughout the body are sometimes associated with abnormal thyroid levels. If your muscle aches have recently onset without any other obvious causes, a thyroid disorder is one likely cause. Rarely, muscle breakdown can also occur. If you find that you are unable to build toned muscle, reach out to your physician.

On a similar vein, because the thyroid is located in the neck, the neck muscles are usually the first to experience these symptoms. This includes the muscles associated with swallowing. If you are struggling to swallow, this could be another signs of thyroid problems.

Quite A Collection Hypothyroidism

  • severe, day-long fatigue, loss of energy
  • everything feels sluggish
  • unexplained weight gain, difficulty losing weight
  • depressed mood, apathy
  • allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
  • persistent cold sores, boils, or breakouts
  • appearance of a goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid that is externally visible

Your thyroid gland is one of the centers of your endocrine system, influencing how other important hormones are used. Thats why an underactive thyroid can affect so many functions throughout your body and lead to such a wide range of weird and unpleasant symptoms. But you can find real relief and restore thyroid balance.

By understanding the symptoms of hypothyroidism, women may identify issues earlier, seek a healthcare provider, and find relief. If left untreated, symptoms may worsen over time.

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Key Points About Congenital Hypothyroidism

  • Congenital hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones. Its the most common thyroid disorder in children.

  • Not enough thyroid hormone leads to signs such as slow growth, lack of activity, and poor performance in school.

  • The most common cause is failure of the thyroid gland to grow during pregnancy or it’s located in an abnormal position in the neck.

  • Treatment may include taking thyroid hormones to increase the level of hormones in the body. Some children will need to take hormones for life. Other children may outgrow the disorder.

  • Congenital hypothyroidism can impair a child’s normal growth and development. Its important for a child to continue treatment until after puberty. This will help ensure a child reaches his or her normal adult height.

Feeling Low Or Depressed

Thyroid

Mental health problems such as depression, chronic stress and anxiety tend to go hand-in-hand with hypothyroidism.

Whether this is a direct effect of hormonal imbalance is debatable though, as these symptoms are not experienced by all patients .

It seems more likely the result of numerous unmanaged hypothyroid symptoms that have accumulated over time to make life miserable.

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How Do Doctors Diagnose Hypothyroidism

Your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. A hypothyroidism diagnosis cant be based on symptoms alone because many of its symptoms are the same as those of other diseases.1 Thats why your doctor may use several thyroid blood tests and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and find its cause.

Because hypothyroidism can cause fertility problems, women who have trouble getting pregnant often get tested for thyroid problems.

Memory Loss And Brain Fog Is A Sign Of Hypothyroidism

The brain is a major target organ for thyroid hormones. This is why the onset of hypothyroidism can affect brain function.

Clinical trials and functional imaging studies of the brain confirm that advanced hypothyroidism is associated with cognitive decline- largely reversible with treatment .

In contrast, subclinical hypothyroidism is not linked with major neuropsychiatric problems, although studies show small deficits in memory and executive function do occur. This is most often described by patients as experiencing brain fog.

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How Do Doctors Treat Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the hormones that your own thyroid can no longer make. You will take levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone medicine identical to a hormone a healthy thyroid makes.3 Usually prescribed in pill form, this medicine is also available as a liquid and as a soft gel capsule. These newer formulas may help people with digestive problems to absorb the thyroid hormone. Your doctor may recommend taking the medicine in the morning before eating.

Your doctor will give you a blood test about 6 to 8 weeks after you begin taking the medicine, adjusting your dose if needed. Each time your dose is adjusted, youll have another blood test. Once youve reached a dose thats working for you, your doctor will probably repeat the blood test in 6 months and then once a year.

Your hypothyroidism most likely can be completely controlled with thyroid hormone medicine, as long as you take the recommended dose as instructed. Never stop taking your medicine without talking with your doctor first. Taking too much thyroid hormone medicine can cause serious problems, such as atrial fibrillation or osteoporosis.1

When To See Your Gp

What Are the Symptoms of Low Thyroid?

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid are often similar to those of other conditions, and they usually develop slowly, so you may not notice them for years.

You should see your GP and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid if you have symptoms including:

  • tiredness
  • being sensitive to the cold
  • dry skin and hair
  • muscle aches

The only accurate way of finding out whether you have a thyroid problem is to have a thyroid function test, where a sample of blood is tested to measure your hormone levels.

Read more about testing for an underactive thyroid

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Muscle Weakness And Cramps

Some reports indicate that about 20% of people with hypothyroidism experience weak muscles, and almost 35% have muscle cramps. Our muscles need enough thyroid hormones to work well. Low thyroid hormones can affect muscle function.

In hypothyroidism, muscle weakness is most likely to start between the ages of 30 and 49 years, and is most likely to affect the upper arms and upper legs. Its important to keep in mind that sometimes, weakness and cramps can be the main or only symptoms of hypothyroidism.

What Else Should I Know

Your doctor will see your child regularly to make sure that the medicine is working and change the dose as your child grows. Be sure to go to all follow-up doctor visits.

Children with congenital hypothyroidism can sometimes develop hearing problems. If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing or speech development, talk to your doctor.

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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:

  • Eggs.
  • 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 .

How Does My Thyroid Work

10 Signs and Symptoms that You Have an Underactive Thyroid ...

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of your neck just under the voice box . Picture the middle of the butterflys body centered on your neck, with the wings hugging around your windpipe . The main job of the thyroid is to control your metabolism. Metabolism is the process that your body uses to transform food to energy your body uses to function. The thyroid creates the hormones T4 and T3 to control your metabolism. These hormones work throughout the body to tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. They control your body temperature and heart rate.

When your thyroid works correctly, its constantly making hormones, releasing them and then making new hormones to replace whats been used. This keeps your metabolism functioning and all of your bodys systems in check. The amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream is controlled by the pituitary gland, which is located in the center of the skull below the brain. When the pituitary gland senses either a lack of thyroid hormone or too much, it adjusts its own hormone and sends it to the thyroid to balance out the amounts.

If the amount of thyroid hormones is too high or too low , the entire body is impacted.

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Constipation Is A Sign And Symptom Of Hypothyroidism

Constipation is a commonly reported sign, one that usually resolves after correcting a thyroid hormone imbalance.

The mechanism behind this link is unclear, though many propose it is because of the gut-thyroid connection.

Much like high cholesterol that was listed above, note that chronic constipation on its own is very unlikely to indicate hypothyroidism .

What Causes Congenital Hypothyroidism

Most cases of congenital hypothyroidism happen because the thyroid doesn’t form correctly in the baby during pregnancy. At birth, the baby may have no thyroid gland at all, or have a small, partially developed gland. Why this happens is often unknown, but in some cases it is genetic.

Less commonly, a baby’s thyroid did fully develop, but can’t make normal amounts of thyroid hormone. This is usually due to a genetic problem. Other children born to the same parents have a 1 in 4 chance of having the same thyroid problem.

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Weight Gain Is Often One Of The First Signs Of Hypothyroidism

Weight gain is perhaps one of the first noticeable symptoms of hypothyroidism in patients. This is related to a slower than normal metabolism. Your metabolism is responsible for converting calories into energy when the process slows down, your body doesnt use the extra calories and then stores them as fat.

The weight gained in hypothyroidism isnt sudden. Youll gradually notice mild to moderate weight gain. You may also find losing weight more difficult, or perhaps you gain weight despite diet and exercise. On top of that, you may also feel bloated from hypothyroid-related constipation.

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