Also known as under active thyroid, this is a condition characterized by a slow metabolism due to a decrease in the amount of thyroid hormone produced. Hypothyroidism can result in weight gain, exhaustion, and joint pain.
When symptoms of hypothyroidism occur, it’s best to see a virtual doctor. They will carry out a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test or a Thyroxine test if this condition persists and see what needs to be done to alleviate the symptoms.
Indicators for hypothyroidism can often be vague and hint at other medical conditions. They might vary depending on the severity of the hormone deficit and can include the following symptoms:
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Feeling cold
- Dry skin and hair loss
- Slowed heart rate
- Joint pain and muscle aches
- Weight gain
- Bloated face
- Disruption in Menstrual Cycle
- Elevated cholesterol levels
Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4) are two hormones produced by the butterfly-shaped gland and have a huge influence on our metabolism. When a disruption in the production of these hormones occurs, it impacts the body’s vital functions. A few major causes of hypothyroidism are listed below:
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that turns the body’s immune system against itself and attacks the thyroid. It eventually leads to hypothyroidism, in which the gland fails to secrete enough hormones needed to regulate metabolic functions.
Surgically removing a hefty portion of the thyroid gland might result in hormone deficit, leading you to survive on hormone-producing medication for life. But it’s not necessary, and you might still be able to function properly with the remaining part of your gland.
Lithium, a drug used for treating psychiatric disorders, might be why you’re suddenly experiencing symptoms of an under active thyroid.Interferon-alpha, Interleukin-2 , and Amiodarone can also disturb the functioning of the gland.
It could be hereditary or due to a complication during pregnancy. Babies born with this disease have either an underdeveloped thyroid or a missing one.
Post-pregnancy, women might develop postpartum thyroiditis. The inflammation of the thyroid results in an overactive, hyper gland that observes a sharp rise in hormone secretion—followed by a steep drop of the hormone levels after exhausting itself. Once diagnosed, it should never be left untreated, as it may lead to other complications.
An under active thyroid can interfere with people’s menstrual cycle and disrupts the ovulation process. The proper development of a fetal brain requires the mother to have a stable TSH level.
Often called the “extreme manifestation” of long, untreated hypothyroidism, it’s a rare but likely fatal condition. It requires immediate medical attention once diagnosed. The symptoms include intense cold, lethargy, and oblivion of the surroundings.
Goiter signifies abnormal growth or functioning of the thyroid gland. The gland appears larger and might affect your swallowing and breathing.
Hypothyroidism causes a surge in the levels of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, which may lead to heart diseases. A study in 2005 claimed that people with a malfunctioning endocrine gland were at a higher risk of having a cardiac arrest.
Whether you choose to consult an online doctor or book an in-person appointment, they are very likely to set you on a course of oral medication. The medication strives to fix your hormone levels and reduce elevated cholesterol levels. Moreover, with time, your obesity might reverse itself.
Be cautious of the amount of medication you’re taking because under- or over-dosing will have adverse effects on your body. If you experience shortness of breath or a sudden, insatiable appetite, book yourself an appointment.
Should I Inform My Family?
It’s quite likely that you have hypothyroidism because a close relative or someone from your immediate family probably battled with an autoimmune disease. However, if that’s not the case and you still have an under active thyroid, then your family members need to be careful. This condition usually runs in the family and must be confirmed via periodic TSH tests.
Get Yourself Tested
If you think you might have an under active endocrine gland and are experiencing several symptoms, it’s time to speak to an online doctor. A therapist or a telemedicine doctor might be of immense help as well by looking out for the root cause of your symptoms.
Book yourself a session with a virtual doctor at TelMDCare and get tested for hypothyroidism. You can schedule an online session with their virtual doctors from the comfort of your home and get a diagnosis for your medical conditions.
Head to the TelMDCare website to learn more about their online consultations.
About The Author
Dr. Fayez Mekhael is a ‘Family Medicine American Board’ certified physician with exclusive experience in emergency medicine. He works at TelMDCare—an affordable healthcare system based in the US.