Hypothyroidism is a disease caused by a long-term, persistent lack of thyroid hormones. People sometimes confuse this condition with hyperthyroidism, which is characterized by excessive production of thyroid hormones.
- What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Some people with hypothyroidism have no symptoms at all. But most people feel tired. In this regard, there are difficulties in diagnosis, because many causes lead to fatigue.
Among other symptoms, there are:
- lack of energy, drowsiness;
- reduced body temperature, chilliness – a constant feeling of cold;
- dryness, brittleness, hair loss;
- tendency to constipation.
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to heart failure. You will feel shortness of breath, especially when walking, sudden movements, a decrease in heart rate, and sometimes develop swelling (accumulation of fluid) in the ankles.
Untreated hypothyroidism can also increase your blood pressure and raise your cholesterol - which in both cases will increase your risk of heart failure.
In women, hypothyroidism can cause menstrual disorders, as well as lead to infertility. In pregnant women, hypothyroidism causes problems. For example, it may increase the chances of a miscarriage or the birth of a child with low intelligence.
- How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
To detect hypothyroidism, a blood test for thyroid hormones is used.
- How is hypothyroidism treated?
Treatment of hypothyroidism involves taking daily medications containing thyroid hormones.
After 6 weeks of taking the drugs, your doctor will do a blood test to make sure at what level the hormones are. It will adjust your doses depending on the results. Most people with hypothyroidism should take the pill throughout their lives.
Thyroid hormones are available under various brand names. All drugs usually work well.
Never change your thyroid hormone dose as you see fit. Using too many thyroid hormones can lead to heart rhythm problems and even bone damage.
If I'm pregnant?
You can make attempts to get pregnant. Many women with hypothyroidism are carrying a healthy pregnancy. But the doctor will need to change the dosage of hormonal drugs during your pregnancy. He will also need to measure the level of thyroid hormones every 4 weeks to assess the adequacy of the replacement therapy, as pregnant women need to adjust the doses of hormones.