First of all, what is hypothyroidism? Your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), which regulate your metabolism. If your thyroid gland produces too much of these hormones, you will lose weight at a rapid pace, suffer from goiters, and your eyes may appear to bulge out of your face. That’s hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism, as you may have guessed, is the opposite.
When your thyroid gland does not produce enough T3 and T4, even with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, you will find yourself gaining weight and feeling sluggish. However, a lack of sleep or the wrong diet can also mess with your weight and your energy levels. You should never try to diagnose or treat yourself. Always consult with a physician if you are concerned about your health, but before you do, here are some hypothyroidism symptoms to look for.
Hypothyroidism comes with a host of symptoms. The most obvious, as T3 and T4 production govern metabolism, is weight gain. However, a lot of other factors could play into weight gain. If you have started gaining inexplicable weight, you should see your doctor. Don’t hesitate to ask about thyroid disease, but don’t insist that that is actually the cause of your ailment. Your doctor has the experience and tools to diagnose and treat you, and there may be something you’re missing that she will see.
Talk to Your Doctor About Hypothyroidism
In addition to weight gain, hypothyroidism symptoms include fatigue, depression, excessive sleepiness, and decreased concentration. Because the thyroid gland affects your metabolism, it essentially governs your overall energy levels. How your body uses the energy – calories – that you put into it will affect your moods and how rested or fatigued you feel. However, these symptoms are also related to clinical depression. Again, consult with your doctor. You may need to see a thyroid specialist, but you may also need to consult with a psychiatrist to ensure that you are not suffering from clinical depression and do not need medication to balance your brain chemistry.
If you find – in addition to weight gain and fatigue – that you are intolerant of cold, that your skin is dry, your legs swell, your muscles cramp, or you begin to suffer from constipation, you are very likely suffering from hypothyroidism. In severe cases, you’ll notice some puffiness around your eyes and a reduced heart rate. Untreated cases have been known to lead to comas. If you are suffering from a combination of any of these symptoms, you absolutely must see your doctor.
Untreated hypothyroidism can have serious consequences. Patients who go untreated long enough may require treament in hospital. Left untreated hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure. Hypothyroidism can be fatal if untreated.
Fortunately, though, if you consult with your doctor early enough, you will be able to live a normal, healthy life. Your doctor will most likely prescribe you with hormone replacement therapy, which will just mean that you take some extra pills in your daily routine. Pay attention to your body and your symptoms; keep a good relationship with your doctor, and you’ll never have to worry about extreme cases of any disorder.
If you are concerned about hypothyroidism because you exhibit any of these symptoms, or because you have a familiy history of thyroid disease, make an appointment with your doctor today. If you need further treatment, she’ll recommend a thyroid specialist who will be able to answer all of your questions and put you on the hormone replacement therapy regimen that you need.