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What is Hypothyroidism?

woman thinking and looking upAre you tired of constantly feeling tired? Find it hard to lose weight? Have difficulty starting or completing tasks? If so, you’re not alone! Over 20 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism and have found ways to overcome this obstacle and improve their daily lives. Read more to find out the definition, symptoms, causes, and treatment for hypothyroidism and what The Wellness Connection can do for you!

Hypothyroidism Definition

Also known as underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This small, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck, releases hormones through the bloodstream. They travel to the heart, brain, muscles, skin, and most other body parts.

As the thyroid controls one’s metabolism, weight, body temperature, and other functions, it’s important to recognize when the thyroid gland develops a problem. This common disorder can be treated. Yet, if left untreated, this could lead to heart disease, infertility, joint pain, and obesity.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

While symptoms can vary, weight gain and fatigue are among the earliest symptoms. Over time, symptoms will progress and become easier to identify. Below is a list of those most common:

  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry skin
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Enlarged or swelling thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Fatigue
  • Greater sensitivity to the cold
  • Hair loss
  • Hoarse voice
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Memory problems and difficulty concentrating
  • Menstrual cycle changes
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Puffy face
  • Slow heart rate
  • Weight gain

What Causes Hypothyroidism?

The number one reason is an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Just as in the meaning of the word thyroiditis, the thyroid becomes inflamed. With Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid.

A surgically removed thyroid gland, perhaps due to thyroid cancer or Graves’ disease, also leads to hypothyroidism. However, if only partially removed, people may still make enough thyroid hormone to function normally.

Radiation treatment can lead to the full or partial loss of thyroid function. Those affected may include individuals with Graves’ disease or cancer such as Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, or thyroid cancer.

Iodine is in the food we eat and is required for producing the thyroid hormone. So, eating too little iodine could lead to an imbalance in hormone production.

How is Hypothyroidism Treated?

While it can’t be cured, it can be controlled. Address your current diet and routine, and make modifications that lead to a stronger and healthier lifestyle. Eat foods that are whole, organic, or probiotic. Likewise, stay away from refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and unprocessed foods. Also, make sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly.

Visit Our Team

If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit one of our functional medicine doctors at The Wellness Connection. Whether you’re looking for doctors locally or for doctors who can meet people anywhere virtually, we’ll offer you the latest techniques and services to heal your thyroid problems! Contact us to schedule your appointment today!

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