Hypothyroidism: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Other Need-to-Knows

Hypothyroidism concept with doctor holding a stethoscopeThe insidious nature of the symptoms of hypothyroidism makes exacting diagnosis a complicated and lengthy process. While the thyroid gland is primarily affected, various organs are involved. Often, a problem with an organ other than the thyroid is the first overt manifestation of the disease.

Here are other things you need to know about this disease:

Hypothyroidism: The Basics

Hypothyroidism or myxedema may manifest with metabolic, neurologic, dermatologic, and psychiatric symptoms. In addition, cardiovascular, ocular, and gastrointestinal problems may arise. Typically, the most obvious sign is weight gain due to decreased metabolism and retention of body fluid. Paresthesia or tingling of the hands and feet are common as well. The skin may become scaly coarse, and body hair is sparse and dry. Some patients become forgetful, while others exhibit changes in personality, and may even be diagnosed with clinical depression.

The Underactive Thyroid

For Revere Health, an expert on thyroid management in Provo, it is important to deal with the consequences of an underactive thyroid on bodily functions. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland in the brain start the cascade or biochemical reactions that produce T3 (triiodothryonine) and T4 (thyroxine). When the thyroid is not fully functional, the production of these hormones is compromised. In primary hypothyroidism, the problem lies in the production of TSH. It is associated with a firm goiter and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Iodine Deficiency and Congenital Hypothyroidism

The use of iodized salt has resulted in a lower incidence of congenital hypothyroidism, but it is still prevalent in regions of the world that are iodine-deficient. The hallmark of congenital hypothyroidism is intellectual disability.

Levothyroxine

Persons who suffer from symptoms of primary hypothyroidism benefit from Levothyroxine therapy. The dose depends on the age and presence of co-morbidities. A physician may increase or decrease the dosage based on the need for normalization of serum TSH levels. Generic and branded preparations are available. A favorable response is seen after levothyroxine therapy with increase in the levels of T3 and T4 in the blood.

When the thyroid gland fails to produce important hormones, the effects on bodily functions could be devastating. Seek help from experts in endocrinology and autoimmunity for the best possible outcome of intervention.