Hypothyroidism is a common problem that we see in our patients. However, when patients come in to have their thyroid checked, we find out they have often been experiencing symptoms for years. Here is some hypothyroidism information you should know:
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the lower part of your neck. The function of a gland is to secrete hormones. The hormones released by the thyroid deliver energy to cells of the body, thereby controlling growth and metabolism.
What is Hypothyroidism?
The most common thyroid condition is hypothyroidism. The most recognized type is when the thyroid gland is under-active and is not producing enough thyroid hormone. What many people don’t know is that there are other forms of hypothyroidism like “cellular” or “tissue” hypothyroidism. In these forms of hypothyroidism, the thyroid produces enough hormones, but other factors like stress, chronic illness, obesity, and inflammation prevent cells from using the hormones.
There are several common symptoms of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism results in a slowdown in metabolism; symptoms can include fatigue, depression, joint or muscle pain, and sensitivity to cold among others. Often, weight gain is due to cellular thyroid resistance. Occasionally, there are additional unexpected symptoms that may occur in some special cases,
Problem with Testing and Diagnosis
Often, hypothyroidism goes undetected for many years. One reason for this is because symptoms develop gradually and people generally attribute them to common signs of aging or depression. Another reason is that the most common test to detect thyroid problems, the TSH test, only tells part of the story of thyroid health and does not always lead to accurate diagnosis. While it will detect if someone is under-producing thyroid hormones, it won’t always catch those patients with cellular or tissue hypothyroidism. At Blue Sky MD, we do a thorough round of testing and detailed history of symptoms in order to be diagnosis all forms of hypothyroidism. Even if you feel fine, it’s worth getting tested regularly to see if your thyroid is out of balance. Talk with your physician about testing to see if it’s right for you.
The treatment is simple, and involves a thyroid supplement and/or an oral thyroid hormone replacement. Patients typically begin to respond to thyroid optimization within weeks, although it can be as soon as a few days.
If you would like more information on hypothyroidism, please contact Blue Sky MD today!